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Black and White Cookies & ALS Awareness

  I come to you today with cookies the size of your face and some disease awareness.

  In the midst of all these ice buckets and facebook videos, it's easy to lose track of what we're actually doing it all for.  ALS is a crippling and totally unfair disease, and this tearjerker video reminds us of that.

  Black and White Cookies have little to do with the disease itself, but they're a lovely blank canvas and just danged delicious.

  I'd always heard about these guys, but it wasn't until I was browsing a pastry case and finally bought one that I realized what all the hype was about.  These cookies have the tiniest hint of lemon, are glazed with half vanilla and half chocolate, and are more on the cake-y side of the spectrum.  They're just a dream come true, New York done good with these suckers.

  Aaaand you can make them super big, wrap 'em up, and easily nibble on one over a couple of days.  Or consume 3 in one sitting, totally your call.  In the midst of packing up my life yet again for the impending 24-hour roadtrip back home, these are completely necessary.

  Seriously one of my favorite desserts, I can't explain it.  Actually, I probably can and kind of already did, but I am so creatively brain dead today it ain't even real.  So make 'em, eat 'em, and dump ice buckets on your head and/or donate to a really worthy cause.  Because some people aren't blessed with non-deteriorating motor neurons,  I think the least we can do is make it known so that the research to cure it can happen.

  Happay weekend!

Black and White Cookies
Yield: about 18-24 cookies, depending on how large you make them

Ingredients for the cookies:
  • 4 cups (16 oz.) cake flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1¾ cups (12¼ oz.) sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 cup milk

Ingredients for the glaze:
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 5 cups (20 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Milk, as needed

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to combine, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.  Add in the sugar gradually, increasing the speed to medium-high and beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Blend in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low speed, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternately add the flour mixture in four additions and the milk in 3 additions just until combined.

Using a ¼-cup measuring cup and a spoon, place six ¼-cup mounds of dough a generous 2 inches apart on each baking sheet.  (The “dough” will seem more like cake batter, and you will probably think you went wrong somewhere.  Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be thin.)  With moistened fingers, gently press each mound of dough into a disk 2½ inches wide and ¾ inch thick.  Bake until the centers of the cookies are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes, rotating the baking pans halfway through the baking time.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes.  Use a wide spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.  Let cookies cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, combine the corn syrup and water and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until combined.  Transfer ¾ cup of the vanilla icing to the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to combine.  If the chocolate glaze is still pretty thick, whisk in milk a teaspoon at a time until it looks more like the consistency of the vanilla glaze.

To glaze the cookies, place the cookies on wire racks set over waxed paper or foil.  Use a small offset spatula to spread about 2 tablespoons of the vanilla icing on half the flat side (bottom) of each cookie.  Tilt the cookie and run the spatula around the edge to scrape off excess icing.  Allow to harden slightly, about 15 minutes.  If the icing begins to thicken, stir in milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed.  Using the offset spatula, spread the chocolate icing over the other half of each cookie, scraping away excess icing from the edge.  Allow the glaze to set at least 1 hour before serving.  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container layered between sheets of parchment paper for up to 3 days.

Sources: slightly adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Baking Illustrated