Black and White Cookies

Black and White Cookies are my husband’s absolute favorite.  He isn’t totally a sweet lover but when it comes to Black and Whites, he is on board.  On the evening of our rehearsal dinner I presented him with a Black and White Cookie CAKE.  It was a giant Black and White cookie that could be shared.  It has become a little tradition, in fact, that every time I see a Black and White cookie in a store or bakery, I buy one for him.  They are sometimes hard to come by.  I fully intended to make these cookies for him for his birthday, however, the meal ended up being more time consuming than I expected and I barely had time to bake a cake.  (The cake actually had to share the oven with the baked beans!)  Needless to say, there was no time for cookie baking and cookie frosting and the recipe sat on our counter.

Then, almost serendipitously, the very sweet Shannon organized a cookie swap!  It was the perfect occasion to bake these cookies.  (Thanks again Shannon!) 

Not only did I get to take home extras of these Black and White cookies (making for a very happy husband!) but also, I received the following DELICIOUS cookies as a result of the swap:

Recipe Notes:

  • I am in love with the puffy cake like texture of these cookies.
  • I was not happy with my chocolate frosting per the recipe instructions and after frosting about 12 cookies, I decided to switch to the always-satisfying Hershey’s Chocolate frosting.  Muuuuuch better.  It doesn’t have the sheen of the white frosting but it definitely tastes good.  (I have included this in the recipe below.) 
  • This recipe yielded approximately 55 medium-sized cookies.
  • Just out of the oven, the cookies looked like delicious silver dollar pancakes!
  • Set aside a decent amount of time to frost these little guys.

Black and White Cookies:

Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

White Frosting

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water

Black (Chocolate) Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Make the cookies

    Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

    In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth.

    In medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until mixed. Add dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a rounded tablespoon spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the batter 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  Use your finger to spin the batter into perfect circle shapes. Bake until edges begin to brown, 16 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

    Make the white frosting

    Boil a cup of water in a small pot. Place confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick, spreadable mixture.  Spread frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie.

    Make the black (chocolate) frosting

    Melt the butter in a medium bowl.  Stir in the cocoa.  Alternately add confectioners’ sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.  Add small amount additional milk, if needed.  Stir in vanilla. Frost remaining halves of cookies.

    Adapted from SmittenKitchen.

    Maple Baked Beans–Barefoot Contessa Style

    Hello, friends.  Are you still there?  I hope so!  My absence has not been because I have not been cooking–quite the opposite actually!  I spent a week cooking with my mom in preparation for our annual Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fish.  Except, we do way more than seven!  Baked stuffed lobsters, bacala, shrimp mousse, and baked scallops, just to name a few.  I really should have planned ahead and done an entire Christmas Eve post for you!  It’s just that sometimes whipping out the camera interferes with the mood, you know? I started taking photos on the first day of cooking but then doing so just seemed to interfere with the fun we were having!

    Immediately after the start of the new year it was my husband’s birthday.  I decided to prepare a laid-back-comfort-food-meal.  It turned out to take a lot more time than I expected, though, I must say, in this case the time and labor really seemed to be worth it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the meal!  I made hot roast beef sandwiches with gravy (sometimes called Beef on Weck in Buffalo, NY), jalepeno cheddar corn bread, sunflower seed salad and these baked beans from Barefoot Contessa*, one of my most favorite ladies in the world.  As if that wasn’t enough comfort food I made a special request for hotdog mac ‘n’ cheese from my mom.  She hesitated, “Mac ‘n’ cheese with hotdogs?  Really?” but after my serious begging and insistence that no one would turn it down she obliged.  And everyone was quite thankful. DELICIOUS!  …and the next day everyone made a mad dash for the gym. 🙂

    These baked beans were very well-received.    They are sweet, yet don’t let that fool you–they have a serious kick.  You will definitely need to plan ahead to make these.  The beans should soak in cold water over night and then they will need to bake for 6-8 hours.  I made the number one amateur cooking mistake and I didn’t read the recipe through.  I ended up putting them in the oven at 10am and taking them out the very moment I served dinner.  Very close call!  These are definitely a great side for a barbeque or tailgating party, but also they were really good on top of a baked potato for a super filling week night main course meal. 

    I doubled the below recipe and you may want to do the same if you are cooking for a crowd.

    *If you don’t have any Barefoot Contessa/Ina Garten cookbooks, I strongly encourage you to purchase one.  Each is a work of art.  You can feel her warmth and passion as you turn the pages.  Her excitement for good hearty unpretentious food is contagious.  And her kitchen is a haven of peace. 

    Maple Baked Beans–Barefoot Contessa Style:

    • 1 pound small red beans
    • 1 large yellow onion, cut in eighths
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 6 whole black peppercorns
    • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon Chinese chili paste
    • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (you can sub 1/2 tablespoon dry)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 5 ounces thick cut smoked bacon, cubed

    Put the dry beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  The next day drain and rinse the beans then drain again.

    Place the beans in a large pot (I love using my Le Creuset) and add about 2 quarts of water, the onion segments, a bay leaf, and peppercorns.  Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for about 50 minutes, or until tender.  Drain the beans reserving the draining liquid.

    Preheat the oven to 225 F.

    In a small saucepan whisk together maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, chili paste, ginger, salt and 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid that you drained from the beans.  Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat for 6 minutes.

    Add half of the bacon cubes to the beans and stir.  Cover the top of the beans with the remaining bacon cubes.  Pour the maple syrup sauce over the beans.  Place the lid on top and bake for 6-8 hours.  Check occasionally and if the beans appear dry add some of the reserved cooking liquid.  Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking in order to thicken the sauce.  Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Serve warm.

    Recipe adapted from this recipe by Barefoot Contessa/Ina Garten.  Also found in Barefoot Contessa at Home published by Clarkson Potter.