There are no grey areas when it comes to Black and White Cookies.
A staple of most delis to grab on your way out, the Black-and-White cookie is a classic that you can bring to your repertoire.
“You see, Elaine, the key to eating a black and white cookie is that you wanna get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate. And yet still somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie, all our problems would be solved.” Jerry — Jerry Seinfeld -TV show.
Whenever I would go to the City Deli back in San Diego in the 80’s I would always see the Black-and-White cookies for sale. I didn’t try one for years, but then a friend bought a few and gave me one. I was suddenly addicted. Now if I’m in a bakery or deli which sells them, I’ll buy one even if I’m getting other items. I’ve got to have that cookie! Half very slightly lemony, white icing and half chocolate with a nice soft cookie base. I’ve seen some of these pretty big, and that’s what I’m doing with this recipe, but I’ve also seen them smaller in some bakeries.
A Black-and-White cookie is a round cookie, iced or frosted, one half vanilla and the other chocolate. There are more than one type of Black-and-White cookie. Some are crisper and more of a traditional sugar cookie and some are fluffier, with more of a soft cake feel when bitten. The type you see in this recipe is the latter of the two. Both versions have white icing with half chocolate frosting and both are sold in some of the better delis all over the country.
Delicatessen Black-and-White Cookies
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ½ tsp quality vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup butter, softened (2/3 stick)
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp quality vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tbsp water
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- 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 rubber spatula until fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Using a large size ice cream scoop, place a ball of cookie batter about 2 inches apart onto a silpat sheet placed on top of a baking sheet. It’s important not to make too many at once. Know your spreading ratio versus size of the cookie sheet. If you crowd these, they will bake together, and we don’t want that.
- Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven until the tops are puffed and pale golden, and the cookies spring back when touched — roughly 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack and allow to cool completely.
- While baking the cookies, you can use this time to begin making the frosting.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until very smooth. Makes sure to get out any lumps.
- Transfer half of the icing to another bowl and stir in the powdered cocoa, adding more water if needed.
- Turn the cookies flat sides up, then using a icing knife, spread the white icing over half of each and chocolate over the other half. You want to ice the vanilla portion of the cookie first and then wait a bit before frosting the chocolate portion. Doing it this way gives you the desired clean separation between the two colors of frosting.
- Place each cookie on a sheet of wax paper to let cool completely. Don’t refrigerate to speed up the process. Allow to fully cool so that the icing can harden at least two hours.
- You can store the Black-and-White Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. (There’s no way they will last that long.) You will need to place a sheet of parchment paper between each layer, to keep the cookies from sticking together.
Dean Jones is a Librarian, Cookbook Reviewer, and writer. Originally from San Diego and having lived his teen years in the Pacific Northwest, Dean has lived for over 20 years in the wonderful but barely affordable San Francisco Bay Area. Dean has graduated with an MLIS from the University of North Texas and has a BA in Liberal Studies from JFK University in the Bay Area. Dean is the Library Director for Hurwich Library in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dean can be seen at Book Festivals, and Library field trips with the BayNet Libraries Group, of which he the Vice President. He can also be seen haunting farmers’ markets, bookstores, and local restaurants. Dean lives in the SF Bay Area with his lovely wife, six kids, and many books. Dean writes for “One Table One World,” “The Cookbook for All,” “An Idea,” and “Authors what are you reading.” Contact Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org