Going along with the birthday theme of last weekend, I made Jake black and white cookies (a.k.a. half-moon cookies) because they are his favorite. I never really ate these as a kid, so I don't have the same fond memories that Jake does, but they're still tasty, so I was on board to give the recipe a try. The first attempt was a miserable failure (they were more like half-moon pancakes), but the second ended up just fine. I added more baking soda, melted the butter a little past softened, and realized that I had forgotten that extra 1/4 cup flour in the first batch.
The actual baking part of the black and white cookies isn't difficult. And the icing part isn't difficult per se, but it is a somewhat lengthy process. And it isn't something that you want to be doing if you are in a rush. But if you are one of those people who finds icing cookies relaxing, then this just might be the treat for you.
Black and White Cookies (from Gourmet Magazine, 2002):
For cookies: 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 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 light corn syrup 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (I used 1 teaspoon) 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 1 to 2 tablespoons water 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°.
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 electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add the egg, beating until they are 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.
Spoon small scoops of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, about 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a rack and chill.
Make the icings while the cookies chill: Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of the icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to the same consistency as the white icing. Turn the cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over the other half.