Growing up in the suburbs of NYC, black & white cookies were one of my favorites. There was a local bakery that made the best B&W's. The cookie was thick and cakey. The chocolate frosting was smooth and soft and the white frosting was sweet and crispy.
Many people have their own methods for eating a B&W. Some eat right down the middle to get both the chocolate and vanilla in every bite. Some eat one side first, and then the other. I fell into the latter category. Since the white was my favorite, I'd often eat the chocolate first, so I could savor the white.
Since moving to PA, I've found it difficult to find a really good B&W. This recipe comes pretty darned close to that cookie from my childhood. The recipe is from Epicurious. I have to be honest. When I first tried this recipe some time ago, it didn't quite work out. I'm not sure if maybe I was stressed or having a bad day, but they just didn't turn out. This time they were close to perfect. I toyed with the idea of frosting the entire cookie with just the vanilla. How awesome would that be? However, I stayed true to the recipe and made true B&Ws.
New York Black & Whites
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 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
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350°F.
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 egg, beating until 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 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill (to cool quickly), about 5 minutes.
Make icings while cookies chill:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing.
Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half.
*Note: my camera battery is dead again this evening. It is 100% my fault, as I didn't turn the camera off after I took my last set of pics. Sigh... I will charge the battery overnight and post pictures of my black & whites tomorrow.