Black & White Cookies

12 Days of Oscar comes to an end with the only film in my lineup that’s nominated for an Academy Award this year.  Black Swan is nominated for five Oscars: Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Editing, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Motion Picture of the Year.  I won’t speculate on what’s going to happen at tomorrow night’s award ceremony, seeing as how Black Swan has some pretty stiff competition in these categories.

Black Swan is the story of Nina (Natalie Portman), a ballerina with the New York City Ballet, consumed with dance.  Nina replaces the prima ballerina, performing as the Swan Queen in a production of Swan Lake.  The role forces her to get in touch with her darker, more sensual side, which her twisted rivalry and friendship with Lily (Mila Kunis), helps her achieve.  I won’t give any more away, but if you haven’t seen this film, you really should.

This choice was tough, there really wasn’t a lot of food in this film.  There’s a gorgeous cake, covered in thick frosting with gorgeous pink sugar roses, and a grapefruit.  Oh, and Lily devours a rare cheeseburger, but that wasn’t happening here, sorry.  I decided some classic Black and White Cookies were in order.  They’re not only delicious, but the white frosting and black frosting together make for some great results flavor-wise.  Also, like Nina, Black and White Cookies hail from New York City.

People who have never had a fresh Black and White Cookie are often surprised at what one tastes like.  Traditionally, the cookie has a soft, sponge cake consistency.  The vanilla icing has just a hint of lemon to it, and compliments so well with the bittersweet dark chocolate icing.  They’re really best fresh-baked or soon after.

Black and White Cookies

Ingredients:

for the cookies:

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

for the frosting:

  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter 2 baking sheets and set aside.

Combine sugar and butter in a bowl and beat until fluffy.

Add eggs, milk, and extracts and beat until smooth.

Combine the flours, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches, stirring to combine after each addition.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake 20-3o minutes, until edges start to brown.  Cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, gradually add water to the confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl, stirring, until the mixture is thick and spreadable.

Remove half the frosting to a heat-safe bowl and place over a pot of simmering water.

Add the chocolate and heat, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the frosting is smooth.

Brush one half of each cookie with the white icing, and the other half with the chocolate icing.

Makes 24-36 cookies.

Source: Zabar’s Bakery, via the New York Times

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