Baking · Cooking

“Look to the Cookie, Elaine. Look to the Cookie.”

“The thing about eating the Black and White cookie, Elaine, is you want to get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate And yet somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved.” – Seinfeld, episode 77 “The Dinner Party.”  One of my favorite cookies referenced in one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes (also featuring chocolate babka, which is equally a favorite of mine).

A quintessential New York staple, the black and white cookie is simple in theory but undoubtedly delicious.  Chocolate and vanilla icing atop a perfectly spongey and cake-like cookie.  Like the venerable Oreo, methods of eating vary from person to person.  I’m partial to the vanilla icing, but much like Jerry, I try to get a little bit of both in each bite.

During a recent trip to New York, I indulged in this city staple at the Frank Gehry-designed Conde Nast cafeteria.  Here’s a picture of the famous cookie (already half-eaten) atop an equally famous landmark:

The recipe I came across is from (the unfortunately shuttered) Gourmet magazine.  The finished product is almost identical to the cookie I snagged from the Conde cafeteria, which leads me to believe that they themselves use this recipe.  I am so jealous of the ever changing Gourmet/Bon Appétit-inspired dishes these folks get to eat everyday.

Quite a long intro for one cookie.  But seriously, it deserves it.  The actual recipe (my variations in the tips below):

Mini Black-and-White Cookies

For cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

For icings
2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Special equipment: a small offset spatula

Make cookies:

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing just until smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed, edges are pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Make icings while cookies cool:

Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. If icing is not easily spreadable, add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as vanilla icing. Cover surface with a dampened paper towel, then cover bowl with plastic wrap.

Ice cookies:

With offset spatula, spread white icing over half of flat side of each cookie. Starting with cookies you iced first, spread chocolate icing over other half.

Cooks’ note:
Once icing is dry, cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 4 days.


This recipe is one of those that make me realize I want need a KitchenAid stand mixer, preferably one in Empire Red:)  The whipped fluffy peaks of the cookie ingredients, but not before my hand mixer/I made a mess all over my kitchen, spattering flour e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e:

Ready to be baked:

The black:

and the white (the lemon juice is so slight but SO yummy):

Halfway done:

Finished!  Take a look at these beauties:

The dishfulthinker’s tips:

  • Although the recipe is for “mini” black and white cookies, I decided to go with tablespoon-sized balls of batter for two reasons.  The first being obvious–who wants a tiny cookie?  Second, trying to ice 40+ mini cookies is painstakingly time consuming.  Tablespoon sized batter yielded approximately 24 2-inch cookies.
  • Unless you already have an offset spatula, there really isn’t an absolute need to go run out and buy one.  A standard butter knife worked just fine.
  • I can’t say it enough.  A KitchenAid mixer would be a serious time and mess saver.  And who doesn’t want a beautiful kitchen appliance like this sitting on their countertop?
  • I used parchment paper instead of buttering the baking sheets (easier clean up too).
  • Keep a close eye on the cookies in the oven.  They puff up very quickly, and you don’t want to over bake these!
  • The best tip I can give you for these cookies is to simply enjoy them:)

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