Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lucky Little Black-and-White Cookies

I blame our favorite bakery. Totally. I can't think of anyone else to blame for the Pittsburgh Penguins' five-game losing streak, can you? All y'all can drink just fine without my help, and probably are. It's time for another food recipe.

The owners of that bakery went on vacation the day after Christmas. They will be out until next weekend. They got me hooked on that quintessentially NYC dessert, the black-and-white cookie. They make an egg-free version that accommodates my allergies, too. I like to pick up a few minis every week. (Like I said with the hummus recipe, I'm not interested in becoming Discovery Health channel fat, so I don't get the regular CD-sized cookies.)

I eat one of these cookies before the game, every game, to "help" the Penguins have better luck. Except lately, I've had to eat small portions of inferior black-and-white desserts before the game--chocolate chip ice cream or a Tofutti Cutie sandwich even though it's too damned cold for that, an Oreo even though I think the "cream" is disgusting. Well. We see how that's worked out.

I suppose I could take my chances and buy my pre-game black-and-white cookies elsewhere this week. But I'd feel all weird about it. I can also bake my own cookies. I don't feel weird about that at all. So, if you're not completely baked out after the holidays, let's consult the website for the late, great Gourmet magazine and see if we can help our players out! These are pretty simple, honest.

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 (or, Lilo notes, substitute to equal one egg. It'll work here.)

For icings
2 3/4 cup 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 positions 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 icing 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.

Well, I've done what I can here. The owners of that bakery are just going to have to step up when they get back. After all, we certainly can't blame the Penguins players for blowing those games.

Let's go, Pens!!!

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