Black and White Cookies - a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies delivers the best of both worlds.

Black and White Cookies

Black and White Cookies – a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies deliver the best of both worlds. Simple Sundays | Remembering with a Black-and-White Cookie We weren’t supposed to turn on the television. It was our own…

Black and White Cookies - a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies delivers the best of both worlds.
Black and White Cookies

Black and White Cookies – a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies deliver the best of both worlds.

Black and White Cookies - a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies deliver the best of both worlds.

Simple Sundays | Remembering with a Black-and-White Cookie

We weren’t supposed to turn on the television.

It was our own rule. We were on our honeymoon.

But for some reason, the television was on. It was daybreak, six hours away.

We weren’t supposed to see the horror on the screen. We weren’t supposed to be wondering where our dearest friends and coworkers working in the towers were, not knowing if they were okay…the same friends who toasted us at our wedding just days earlier. Wondering about the hot dog stand vendor near the base of the World Trade Center who gamely took photos with me in my wedding gown. Feeling frustration at being so far away…at the busy phone lines. Feeling confusion and sadness. Sadness for those lost and for those left behind. Grieving for the world.

It was such a somber time, and we will never forget.

Today, I remember 9/11 with a Black and White Cookie.

Black and White Cookies - a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies deliver the best of both worlds.
Black and White Cookies - a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies deliver the best of both worlds.

The Black-and-White Cookie is a New York classic. Ask anyone who has spent some time there, and they will likely smile when they recall the quintessential black-and-white cookie found on bakery counters and delis throughout the city. Old time bakers bolstered surplus cake dough with flour to create these soft cookies frosted with vanilla and chocolate frosting, reminding me of the resourcefulness of New Yorkers. I have craved this cookie for quite a while, and it seemed an appropriate one to share with you on a day like today. The black-and-white cookie is about making the most with what is left, it is about restraint and simplicity. It is humble. It juxtaposes darkness against light.

I baked a couple of batches this weekend, testing classic recipes that use cake flour to those that have clearly evolved over time. I think I found one that reminds me of my childhood and the city I will always love.

Black and White Cookies - a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies deliver the best of both worlds.

Black and White Cookies

Makes 8 large cookies.

Black and White Cookies – a New York deli classic. Frosted with vanilla and chocolate icing, these cake-like cookies deliver the best of both worlds.

Ingredients

For cookies

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg

For icings

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Measure out the buttermilk and stir in the vanilla. Set both aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat another minute more. Mix in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk.

On a parchment paper lined baking tray, drop 1/4 cup of the batter (about a standard sized ice cream scoop), two inches apart. Bake for about 14-16 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the icing by combining sugar, agave nectar, lemon juice, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Pour half of the icing in another bowl and mix in the cocoa powder. Add the other tablespoon of water to thin the icing until its consistency matches the white icing. Frost the cookies by spreading the white icing on one half and the chocolate on the other, on the flat side of the cookies.

Adapted from Black-and-White Cookie recipes from Epicurious and The New York Times

Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Stephanie

    Black and White cookies are the perfect way to honor a city that once was torn and broken and now is rebuilding. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since that tragic day. Lovely post.

    Reply
  2. kankana

    This is a great tribute to 9/11. The cookies look lovely and I never had these cookies before but now I can’t wait any longer.

    Reply
  3. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    Liren – what a great tribute to 911! I was glued to the TV yesterday and my thoughts and prayers went out to all of the families and folks directly affected by this tragic event. It was nice to see these happy and cheerful cookies! Lovely post!

    Reply
  4. Lilly

    What a lovely post and a great way of honoring New York. At first I thought you made the black and white checker cookies. But these look way better.

    Reply
  5. Lacy

    What a great post, I spent the day in my apt crossing my fingers that all this heightened security led to no horrible tragedies. I wish I had one of these cookies to take my mind off of it…they look amazing. :)

    Reply
  6. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    It is true… the black and white is a NYC staple. Something I certainly grew up on and always associate with trips to a deli. And this is a truly touching post for September 11th. It’s a day I certainly will never forget, but I do hope that it gets better as the years go by.

    Reply
  7. Norma

    Thank you for this post. As a New Yorker I appreciate the thought and effort. Black and Whites are surely a New York favorite and one of my husbands. I think this post is one of my favorites. We will never forget.

    Reply
  8. Susan @ Seafield Farm

    Those look so gorgeous! I love black and white cookies and I realize now that I haven’t had one in ages; I’m going to have to give these a try. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Hester aka The Chef Doc

    What a great way to honor a wonderful city. It’s one that I’d love to visit one day. I never knew about this black-and-white cookie business and NYC. Now, I know :-) Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Reply
  10. Vijitha

    It’s painful to even watch the 9/11 videos,can’t imagine how hurtful it must be for the families affected. My heart goes out to those families affected by this tragic incident. Love and prayers to them. Your post is so apt and perfect honor for the day

    Reply
Kitchen Confidante®