This week’s sweet is Black & White Cookies. These cookies are often associated with New York delis and originated at Hemstrought’s Deli in Utica, New York. I think a lot of folks are familiar with the Black & White cookie from a Seinfeld episode where Jerry uses the cookie as a metaphor for racial harmony. Black & White Cookies are a semi-soft shortbread cookie, one half frosted with a white fondant, the other half with chocolate.
Last month I visited the Askinosie Chocolate Factory in Springfield, Missouri. Shawn Askinosie is incredibly passionate about his chocolate and I learned so much on the tour. This was the first single origin chocolate I had tasted and I couldn’t wait to use it in a recipe. While I’m not as eloquent or well-versed on chocolate as Shawn Askinosie, I’ll try to explain how his chocolate comes to be. He works directly with farmers in countries like the Philippines and Ecuador, paying them a higher-than-fair-trade amount for the beans and also offering them a stake in the outcome of the chocolate sales. The beans are then transported to the U.S. and roasted in the Askinosie factory. The process then goes from cocoa nibs to chocolate liquor to cocoa butter. This seemed so simple on the tour, but writing about it makes it seem not quite as easy. I think you should go on the tour or visit their website to get the whole story–it’s simply fascinating how they make this amazing chocolate! What I found most interesting is the lack of additional ingredients in their chocolate. Only chocolate and cane sugar are used in most of their chocolate bars. I used the 75% dark chocolate bar made with beans from Soconusco, Mexico in this recipe.
Black and White Cookies, gluten-free
I used this recipe from Lulu & Phoebe, making the following modifications:
I replaced both the classic blend gluten-free flour and the featherlight blend gluten-free flour with my preferred rice flour blend, found here.
I used an Askinosie chocolate bar (as explained above) instead of bittersweet chocolate.
Askinosie Cocoa Powder was used for the unsweetened cocoa.
The recipe says it makes 16 cookies using an ice cream scoop. I used an ice cream scoop and only got 8 cookies from the recipe. I must have a BIG ice cream scoop!
I really enjoyed these cookies and would like to make them again to refine my frosting technique. It was a little more difficult than I expected to get the smooth frosted appearance with a straight line down the middle of the cookie. Still quite tasty…just not as pretty as I would like.
This week’s Sweet Friend is Brett. Brett is my friend Em’s significant other and a California native who has lived in the Midwest for the last 5 years or so. Brett is my go-to computer wiz and has bailed me out of my technological failures many times. He also has great taste in music and loves eating at hole-in-the-wall restaurants and greasy diners. What’s not to love about a fella like that? Well, maybe his undying love of the Boston Red Sox but I overlook that. I chose Black & White Cookies as the sweet to share with Brett because he had mentioned not being able to find them in Kansas City. It wasn’t easy to find a sweet to share with Brett, as he doesn’t have a huge hankering for sweets, but I think this one worked out well.