Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day Cookies

I think I've said it before, my husband's favorite cookie is the black and white cookie. And it's fitting as he is a New Yorker, through and through. So for Father's Day after having baked a bunch of fancy desserts over the past few weeks, I thought I'd give him exactly what he wanted - a simple, no-frills cookie. The black and white cookie:

These cookies are truly perfect in their simplicity but it's crucial to get the textures right otherwise this will not end up a classic black and white cookie. The cookie part must be cakey and thick and the frosting must set to a slightly hardened finish resulting in a quite sturdy cookie for transporting. This is why I suggest making the cookies a day in advance.

I baked the cookies and iced them on Father's Day and my hubbie said the cookies were great except for one detail. The icing hadn't hardened to his liking. Although the icing had set, it was too soft, in other words, too fresh. These cookies are known for their deli presence which may suggest a less than fresh-out-of-the-oven texture especially with the icing. Therefore, for the ultimate deli-style black and white cookie experience, make the cookies and ice them a day in advance of serving. When you eat them the next day, the icind will have hardened quite nicely on the outside, with a soft chewiness underneath. You will not be disappointed, especially if you've ever had and loved a New York black and white cookie.

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Black & White Cookies
(Adapted and halved from America's Test Kitchen)
Makes around 12 large cookies

2 cups cake flour
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
8 T unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t lemon extract
1/2 c 2% milk

2 T light corn syrup
1/4 c water
2 1/2 c confectioner's sugar (10x)
1/4 t vanilla extract
3 T cocoa powder
1 T vegetable oil

For the cookies:
Place two oven racks in the two middle positions and preheat your oven to 350F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high until it is pale, light, and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the egg to the butter mixture along with the extracts. Mix until it is well combined. Then add about 1/3 of the flour mixture. Next, add 1/2 the milk and then repeat with the flour and milk until it is all incorporated into the dough. Be careful not to overmix the dough. At this point, you can cover the dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Bring it to room temperature before you are ready to bake it.
Scoop 1/4 c mounds of the dough onto the cookie sheets about 2-3" apart. Smooth the top of the cookies with a moistened finger (either using water or nonstick spray). It's easiest to scoop the cookie mounds in whatever size you wish using a cookie scoop. I used a tablespoon sized cookie scoop and ended up with 2 1/2" cookies. Bake the cookies until the edges begin to turn golden brown, anywhere from 12 - 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Once out of the oven, let the cookies rest on the cookie sheets for about 10 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack until they are completely cooled.

For the icings:
Boil the corn syrup and water over medium high heat and then turn off the heat. Add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth and shiny. Divide the icing in half. Set one half (vanilla icing) aside. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and vegetable oil and whisk until uniform in consistency. Add the cocoa paste to the other half of the icing and whisk in until smooth and completely combined. You may add a few drops of water to the chocolate icing to loosen it up to a spreadable consistency. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate icing on half of each cookie. Let the cookies set for at least 15 minutes. Again, using an offset spatula, spread the vanilla icing on the other half of each cookie. Let dry for another 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container. These cookies keep for about 3 days at room temperature.

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