2020 has been rough, to say the least. But without even planning it, Ina Garten brought a little relief: Her newly released 12th (twelfth!) title, Modern Comfort Food, isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a balm to soothe our souls. We’re starting with these black and white cookies, of course.
“Black and white cookies came to New York City with immigrants from Eastern Europe,” Garten writes. “They’re actually more like tender little cakes than cookies and they’re always iced with vanilla and chocolate frosting. Be sure to turn them over and glaze the flat bottoms, not the rounded tops. These are my favorite black and white cookies ever!”
Honestly, Ina, they’re ours too.
Recipe courtesy of Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Copyright © 2020 by Ina Garten. Photography by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup sour cream
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
5 ounces good semisweet chocolate, such as Lindt, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon instant coffee granules, such as Nescafé
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1. Arrange two racks evenly spaced in the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
2. Make the Cookies: Put the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the egg and vanilla and mix well, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream in thirds and mix just until combined. Stir with a rubber spatula.
3. Using a standard (2¼-inch) ice cream scoop, place 5 level scoops of batter 2 inches apart on each of the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate and switch the pans from the top to bottom rack to bake the cookies evenly. Bake until the edges are lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean, another 6 to 8 minutes. (Don’t overbake them!) Cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack set over a sheet pan to cool completely.
4. Make the Glazes: For the chocolate glaze, place the butter, chocolate and coffee in a heatproof bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture and continue to microwave in 30-second increments until the chocolate is almost melted, allowing the residual heat to finish melting the chocolate completely. Stir the mixture vigorously, until smooth. Turn the cookies so the flat side is up. Hold the cookie in your hand and, with a spoon, carefully pour the chocolate glaze on half of the cookie, forming a straight line down the middle. Allow the glaze to set for 30 minutes.
5. For the vanilla glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the cream, adding drops of cream until the glaze is smooth, thick and barely pourable. Holding the cookie in your hand, with a spoon, pour the white glaze over the unglazed half of each cookie right up to the chocolate glaze. You can smooth it out with an offset spatula if you need to. Allow to set for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
Note: Instead of using a sifter, I place dry ingredients in a coarse wire strainer set over a bowl and tap the side of the strainer with my hand.