Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fear no cookie!

It wasn’t until I moved from New York to Virginia that I began to show an interest in cooking food myself. The main reason, of course, was that I had stopped working and we could no longer afford to order in every single night. The other, just as important motivator was this: I no longer had access to the foods I knew and loved! Buffalo wings? The Southern version was just plain foul – no pun intended. Pierogi’s, made lovingly by the Ukrainian Nuns and picked up from the Church every Friday in little white boxes? Non-existent (Mrs. T.’s frozen version just didn’t cut it). The list went on and on – the spiedies I fell in love with while living in Binghamton, the Pennsylvania Dutch foods that are a staple of the Northeast, the bursting at the seams deli sandwiches and of course the other staple of the New York deli, the Black and White cookie.

The loss of my beloved Black and White hit me hardest of all – I searched Richmond in vain. Every time a new bakery would open near me I would race there – certain a new, more progressive establishment would carry them, but no luck. It seemed that no one living below the Mason-Dixon Line had ever even heard of them. I realized, with fear in my heart, that if I ever wanted to see them again, I would have to make them myself.

The reason this frightened me so was because of the rumors I had heard about how hard they were to make. I had been told that a Black and White cookie was not a cookie at all but rather a cake-like version of a cookie. People (or maybe just one person – who knows?) told me they were tricky, they often fell or dried out inexplicably and were just about impossible to recreate successfully without considerable baking experience. So, I didn’t even try. Over the next several years I became a fairly competent cook and had recreated with success many of the foods of home – spiedies, Buffalo wings, even pierogi’s – not as good as the Nuns made, but passable none the less. Then, one day, after my mom casually mentioned over the phone that she was going to make some half-moons (that’s what she always called them), I decided that it was time to throw caution to the wind and go for it. I got the surprisingly simple looking recipe from my mother and dove in. Guess what I found out? Black and Whites are a snap! As I was biting into the billowy softness of one of my favorite cookies, one front tooth in white frosting and the other in chocolate, I realized something – my lack of cooking confidence had deprived me of something totally within my reach for much too long. I’ll never make that mistake again, and neither should you!

1. Don’t believe everything you hear about a recipe. It may not be true at all! Had I only taken the time to actually look at that cookie recipe, instead of just thinking it was too hard, I would have given it a shot a long time ago

2. Cooking is a science, but it’s not rocket science. Just remember this – some person, somewhere, has cooked your favorite food with their own two hands – there is no reason on earth why you can’t do it too.

Black and White Cookies

Prep: 10 Minutes
Cook: 15 Minutes
Makes 18 large cookies

1 ½ Cups Sugar
¾ Cup Shortening (Crisco)
2 eggs
1 Cup curdled milk (1 TBSP. cider vinegar plus milk to measure to 1 cup and let sit for 15 minutes)
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
½ Tsp. Salt
3 Cups Flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1.) Cream together sugar and shortening.
2.) Beat in eggs, 1 at a time until well combined, then stir in curdled milk and vanilla.
3.) In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually stir into wet ingredients until all is well combined.
4.) On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, drop large tablespoons of dough at least 2 inches apart – only 6 cookies to a baking sheet.
5.) Bake for 15 minutes – checking on them after 12 to ensure they are not browning too quickly. The ideal Black and White cookie is not golden brown. Remove them from the oven when they bounce back a bit when touched and are just beginning to take on the slightest bit of color.
6.) Let them rest on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes then remove them to a rack to cool completely.
7.) Frost them w/ your favorite frosting (store bought or homemade) – 1 half white, the other half chocolate and enjoy!


Tangos Treasures said...

Hi Joy
Yippiee the new link works!!
Great recipe!!
Thanks Tango

Michele said...

Joy, I'm dying for one of these cookies! I usually just eat the chocolate part and leave the rest for someone else. LOL

Anonymous said...

Joy, your blog is fantastic girl! I can totally see you inspiring others to venture into the "foodie" world. Kuddos chicky, well done.

Shane T. Wingerd said...

Lovin the Blog Joy... It's Great!!! Keep it up...!!!

Michele said...

Hey Lady...where have you been? You need to update this blog! You have readers waiting!!!

Unknown said...

Ok seriously need to do some more blogging!! (as if you have nothing else in life going on LOL). And...and..and...I have an Award for you! Come pick it up here:

robertopotito said...

wow...I am really mouthwatering...
thanks and have a look at my blog!
i can help you with the translation of whichever recipe you are interested in

Heidi said...

These cookies look great! Great blog :)

vincent said...


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Manju said...

hi Joy,

i saw you on bakespace (i just joined there)and thought i will drop by your blog to say Hi..i just love those cookies..they look soo yummy! Love your blog too :)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Mmm those black and whites look yummy!

smilinggreenmom said...

Oh these look great! I wish I could make them but our son has food allergies to milk and eggs. Maybe I can substitute using soymilk and egg replacer bc I am sure that our daughter and son would enjoy these. I know for sure I would use Kamut Khorasan Wheat flour for added greatness :) Thanks - I may just give this a try and see if and how it turns out.