I’ve never been to New York, but these beautiful and classy Black and White Cookies are apparently a mainstay of deli bakery cases in New York, according to Nancy Baggett, author of The All-American Cookie Book and this cookie recipe. All I know is that I’m going to buy a lot of them when I do go if they’re as good as this cookie is.
This cookie appeals to me on several levels. There’s the lovely soft texture of the sugar cookie, the large size, the hard and shiny frosting and the decision about which side to eat first. The chocolate? The vanilla? Eat it down the middle? It’s fun to take these to a group and watch how everyone approaches eating the cookie, not unlike having a style of eating the famous Oreo sandwich cookie.
The cookie itself is pretty easy to make. However, because the decorating takes a while and is a little fussy, I tend to save these cookies for special occasions. The frosting is a cooked fondant frosting and I have to work quickly to frost first one half of the cookie and then then the other half with the two different colors. I always seem to end up with a wobbly line down the middle. Oh well. As my husband would say, “practice some more, I can take it”!
This cookie is my entry into November’s We Should Cocoa challenge, which I am happy to be hosting!
- For the Cookies:
- 3 Cups (420g/15oz) all-purpose white flour
- Scant ¾ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- 1⅓ (332g/12oz) cups sugar
- ⅔ cup (76g/2.5oz) (1 stick plus 2⅔ Tbsp.) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- ½ cup (95g/3oz) white vegetable shortening
- 2 large eggs
- 2½ tsp. vanilla
- 2 tsp. light corn syrup
- Scant ¾ tsp. lemon extract
- ⅓ cup (81g/3oz) whole sour cream
- For the Fondants:
- ½ cup (4oz) water
- ¼ cup (85g/3oz) light corn syrup
- 5 cups powdered sugar (625g/22oz), sifted after measuring, plus more if needed
- ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 oz. (57g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- For the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease several baking sheets or line them with silicon liners or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium, beat together the sugar, butter and shortening until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the side of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, corn syrup and lemon extract and beat until mixed.
- Beat in half of the flour.
- Beat in the sour cream on low speed.
- Beat in the remaining flour, just until blended and smooth.
- Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to firm up.
- Using a scant ¼ cup measure of dough, shape the dough into balls with lightly greased hands. Place on the baking sheets about 3½ inches apart. Using your hands, press and pat the balls to about 3¼ inches in diameter.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 10-14 minutes or until just springy in the middle and lightly browned at the edges.
- Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the Fondants
- In a medium, heavy saucepan, bring ½ cup water and the corn syrup just to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Place the chocolate in a small, deep bowl. Pour ⅔ cup of the hot vanilla fondant over the chocolate. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted.
- Pour another ½ cup of fondant over the chocolate and stir to combine.
- If the frosting is too thick, add 3 to 4 tsp. of hot water a tsp. at a time to the mixture while stirring to bring it to a fluid but not runny texture.
- Set the cookies on wire racks over wax paper to catch the drips. Using a small spatula, spreader, knife or small spoon, spread half of each cookie with the chocolate fondant. Work quickly. If the fondant stiffens while you're working with it, you can loosen it up with another tsp. of hot water as needed.
- If necessary, adjust the consistency of the vanilla fondant with a little powdered sugar or hot water until it's fluid but not runny. Quickly ice the 2nd half of each cookie with the vanilla fondant.
- Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the icing sets, at least 2 hours but preferably 4.
- Store the cookies in a single layer or layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.
I don't always have lemon extract on hand. I've sometimes used 1 tsp. of fresh lemon zest instead.
The amount of white frosting is a little scant. I like to frost the white side over a clean sheet of wax paper so that I can reuse any drips if I need to.
For a neater dividing line, you can pipe a line of chocolate fondant down the center of each cookie and use that as your guideline.
Regarding corn syrup - I try to avoid corn syrup when I can, but it's necessary in this fondant frosting recipe to get the nice sheen and texture. You can omit it, but the results may not be as pretty. Honey may be substituted, but that will affect the color and flavor.