After a couple of hours of research, we decided to use a recipe adapted from a bunch of different baking websites which also included Zabar's in NYC. Although Zabar's recipe was for a vanilla cookie, I really liked their recipe so I assembled the ingredients and made some adjustments to make them chocolate.
Sweet Moses, I just love using shiny kitchen tools!
These are Kathy's measuring cups. She can't remember where she bought them, but I love them. They are so shiny yet so heavy. I'll bet that if someone broke into her house, she could easily render them unconscious by delivering just a slight clunk on the head with the 1/4 cup. In fact, the 1 cup measurement would probably kill someone. So I know they don't look it but yes....they are that heavy. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. In case you haven't figured it out already, I tend to do that sometimes. But I only exaggerate when heavy, good quality measuring cups are involved.
I always break the egg(s) in a separate bowl or cup before adding them to a recipe. After years of fishing eggshells out of batters, you'd think I'd have learned quicker. Nothing grosses me out more than biting into a soft, moist piece of cake and suddenly crunching down on a piece of eggshell. Yuck.
This recipe called for 2 cups of cake flour as well as 2 cups of all purpose flour. We didn't have cake flour so I gave Kathy the task of "googling" a substitute. We found out that for 2 cups of cake flour, you can use 2 cups of all purpose flour minus 5 tablespoons of flour*, then add 5 tablespoons of cornstarch*.
Ahhh. Here it is! This is my favorite bowl. It lives at my sister's house because she has a lot of cabinet space. My big bowl has it's own shelf in a big cabinet and other little bowls to talk to. Some day, (hopefully sooner than later) when my new kitchen is finished, I'll strap it in to the front seat of my car and drive it home. I'll make it a little dinner....maybe a salad.....give it a nice bath and put it to bed in a big cabinet on it's own shelf. Sigh. Someday.
Black & White Cookies
1 3/4 granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour minus 5 tablespoons of flour*
5 tablespoons cornstarch*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
3 ounces bitter or unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons Dutch Process unsweetened cocoa
Preheat oven to 375. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix by machine or hand until fluffy. Add eggs, milk, semisweet chocolate and vanilla and mix until smooth. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt and stir until mixed. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients stirring well after each addition.
Mix it up well but don't over mix it! If you mix it too much the flour will develop too much gluten and it will toughen your batter, which could result in the end of the world and we're all doomed. Doomed I say! So don't overmix, O.K.? Mix it just enough to combine the ingredients. So when you peek into the bowl and think, "I wonder if it's done"......................it is.
Place heaping tablespoons or measured scoopful of batter on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges begin to firm, about 13 - 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.....
Emily stood guard at the front door during most of the baking process. There are lots of birds to watch and bugs to stomp on outside my sister's house.
Boil a cup or so of water in a small pot. Place confectioner's sugar in a large heat-safe mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a think, spreadable mixture. Remember that a too thin frosting is hard to undo......so add the water slowly, stirring well after each addition. Leave the remaining hot water in the pot on the stove. Once the white icing is used on the cookies, place the bowl of remaining frosting over the hot water and bring it back to a simmer. Stir in the bitter (unsweetened) chocolate until it is melted as well as the corn syrup. Frost the other side of the cookies and set them aside to let the frosting set. Store in an airtight container.
Okay, all black and white aside, my sister and I saw the premiere of Julie & Julia the other night. Hands down, one of the best films I've seen in years. Not a "chick flick" at all. It was funny, warm, happy and sad. Meryl Streep has done it again, and in my opinion, this one is one of her best............next to "Out of Africa", "Sophie's Choice", "The River Wild",. "Heartburn", and of course, "The Devil Wears Prada". When the film ended, the entire theater applauded and then everyone sat through the credits. Truly the mark of a movie hit! I was instantly energized and wanted to cook Julia's Coq au Vin, or Beef Bourguignon or something equally inspiring. So as we were leaving the theater at 10: 45 p.m., I told Kathy that I wanted to go to Barnes & Noble right then and there to purchase Julia Child's cookbook. She looked at me like I was crazy. But we went anyway and purchased THE LAST TWO JULIA CHILD COOKBOOKS IN THE STORE. The salesperson said that they have been flying off the shelves for the last six hours.......and that was just the first day of the movie release! Can you imagine? In fact, since last Friday, Amazon has sold out of over 75,000 copies of Julia Child's cookbook.
It's as simple as Black and White.