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Jan 31, 2001 03:17 PM

Black and White Cookies

  • j

I made the "Zabar's" black and white cookies according to the recipe in Molly O'neils column in last Sunday's New York Times magazine. BOY! Were they ugly. They tasted great though. The recipe claims to yield 24 cookies when you drop the dough in "soup spoons". Not. Unless you use an enormous soup spoon. I used a normal one and got way more,much smaller than the traditional black and whites. And the icing was way too thin and sort of slid off the cookies. By the way, I've made Molly O'Neil's recipe for veal stock and she says it yields about 16 cups but the most I've ever gotten is around 9. What am I doing wrong?

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    yvonne johnson

    a while back i went thru a short phase of cooking from recipes from NYTimes. All the stuff came out unsatisfactory. I stick with real recipe books. Much more reliable in my view.

    3 Replies
    1. re: yvonne johnson
      Barrie Covington

      So, then, does anyone have a good recipe for black & white cookies? I was going to make them for my DH for Valentine's Day.

      1. re: Barrie Covington

        I have a great one I've been making forever. It's from a Polish church cookbook from Syracuse, and they're called Half Moon Cookies around those parts. I'll try to remember to get it this weekend (I'm at work now).

        1. re: K. McB.

          Here's a link I found below the other day when the half moon cookie discussion first came up. It has the buttermilk batter that, I think, would make a nice, cakey cookie and is perhaps similar to the Syracuse recipe as opposed to the NY black-and-white recipes that do not use buttermilk.(I make an old-fashioned orange cookie with this buttermilk-type of batter that is wonderful). Like the black and whites, they are essentially minicakes, and they keep moist beautifully.

          Hope this one works.

          BTY it was interesting that the name "half moon cookie" also attaches to a totally different german cookie that is decorated with chocolate for a similar effect.


    2. p
      Pat Goldberg

      What you are doing wrong it to pay attention to any recipe from Molly O'Neil. I have NEVER had one of her recipes work, and that is the experience of my friends as well. I have given up reading her column altogether.

      1. Here's a website that is devoted to black and white cookies. It's got loads of recipes.

        Also, the new book called Diner Desserts has what looks like a good recipe. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks better than the Molly O'Neill recipe. The recipe in DD contains some sour cream which will make the cookie's texture kind of cake-like -- a requirement as far as I'm concerned.


        1. e
          Emily Cotlier

          Oh, I made these, too, in New Zealand, having to convert ingredients over. My recommendations:

          1. Reduce the amount of fluid in the batter by 1/4 cup, by taking out one egg. (Hindsight!)

          2. I actually did get 30 cookies from the recipie, and they were sufficiently similar to B&Ws to assauge my craving. This was achieved after eating one cookie, by the way, so the rest went to my bewildered New Zealand co-workers. I was actually suprised at how round they did come out.

          3. Uh, my frosting worked. However! This may be because, here in NZ, all confectioners' sugar includes about 4% cornstarch, which helps it gel into the fondant-type frostings they use a lot down here. Try sifting a teaspoon of cornstarch into glaze recipies like this. I think I started out with less water than the recipie recommended and added more as the frosting set while I worked. I applied the frosting to the cooled cookies with a small spatula, first all the white, then all the black. A wretched pain! The problem was that BECAUSE the cookies came out thinner than we expect for B&Ws, the sweet frosting totally overwhelmed the cookie.

          The frosting was not, overall, tasty enough to be worth all this trouble, and I share your disgruntlement.

          4. They tasted better, or more like the B&Ws I am used to, when I let them sit overnight in their frosting jackets.

          All in all, though I was satisfied with the results--partly because there is no other black and white cookie for three thousand miles--- it was not my favorite baking experience. In fact, it was a good example of why I didn't pursue a career as a chef.

          1. I found the "Rosie's Bakery Cookie Cookbook" (not the official title, but I can't remember all the excess words in there) has an excellent recipe for B&Ws. Of course, I've never actually tasted an original, but I did love the results from her recipe. The cookies came out round, soft and exceedingly tasty. I actually thickened up my frosting with more cornstarch (her recipe has a little bit of butter in the icing, which I think makes it tastier than fondant).