Black & white cookies are simple and fun make. They start with cake flour, double sifted with baking powder and salt. If you do not have cake (pastry) flour, you can easily substitute all-purpose flour by removing one tablespoon from every cup the recipe calls for, and replacing it with cornstarch. Because these ingredients must be sifted together twice, it is easiest to use two sheets of waxed paper.
For best results use soft, unsalted butter. Cream it together with the sugar…this is a standard practice for most butter based cakes and cookies. Add the sugar slowly and scrape the sides of the bowl often. Your mixture should be light and fluffy. Then add in the egg, lemon zest and vanilla. Like most recipes calling for eggs, use them at room temperature. When eggs are cold and other ingredients are not, they tend to curdle and form greasy pockets after they are baked.
After adding the flour mixture alternately with the milk in three or four stages, drop portions of the batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I like these cookies large, so I use 1/3 cup batter for each cookie. You can make them smaller, but this will affect the baking time (they won’t take as long). I arrange four dollops on each baking sheet in a zigzag fashion to make room for expansion. Dip your finger into some cold water and flatten each dollop down slightly–these cookies won’t flatten out enough if you just bake them as is.
The fondant is as easy as mixing confectioner’s (icing) sugar with some vanilla and water. Best advice—add the water slowly and mix vigorously—you want this frosting to be quite thick. To save a little dish washing, you can whip up the white frosting, spread them onto each half of the cooled cookies, then add cocoa powder into the same bowl to “chocolatize” it. You will need to add a little more water (again, bit by bit!) and scrape the bowl well until every trace of white frosting has dissipated into chocolate.
Don’t worry about making the sides of these cookies perfect—just let that frosting drip down through the wire rack. I like to let them dry for a couple of hours, and the frosting will become quite hard. Because I make my black & whites so large, I wrap them individually in plastic. If you are making many small ones, be sure to store them in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper or parchment.
Check out a video demo here!
- 1 3/4 cups cake & pastry flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, soft
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- 365 g. (2 1/2 cups) confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
- 4-7 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt together onto waxed paper 2 times. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix well, scraping sides of bowl often.
- Add lemon zest and vanilla.
- Add flour mixture alternately with milk in 3 or 4 stages, starting and ending with flour. Scrape down sides of bowl often and switch to mixing by hand of necessary. Do not over mix.
- Using 1/3 cup for each cookie, drop batter onto parchment paper in a zigzag fashion to allow room for expansion. Dipping finger in cold water, press each mound of batter down to form a circle that is 3.5 inches in diameter.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until center springs back slightly when pressed.
- Cool five minutes before transferring onto wire racks to cool completely.
- For frosting, combine the confectioner's sugar in a bowl with vanilla. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, beating well to a smooth, thick paste (about 4 tablespoons).
- On the bottom side of each cooled cookie, spread with half of the white frosting.
- Once all cookies are half frosted with white, add cocoa powder along with more water necessary to make the same consistency frosting. Beat well so all traces of white become incorporated.
- Now spread the other half of each cookie with the chocolate frosting.
- Allow frosting to set on cookies for about 2 hours or until dry. Wrap each cookie in plastic and store at room temperature. Yield 8 large cookies.
If you want to make smaller cookies, cut the baking time by a few minutes. When storing, you do not have to wrap each one. Seal them in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper or parchment.