I’ve been making these cookies for years; they are actually fairly easy to whip up despite their appearance and the small batch is a perfect size. I’d make them all the time when I got home from class in college.
Growing up in upstate New York, we actually knew these cookies as Half Moon cookies, however they were slightly different. They had either chocolate or vanilla to choose from, and the frosting was more like buttercream rather than icing. Both are delicious, but I prefer the icing to buttercream now.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can always make sour milk with lemon juice and the results are still fantastic. I’ve done this many times when we get a random craving, and don’t have buttermilk in the house.
Black and White CookiesAdapted slightly from Gourmet Cookbook Makes about 8 jumbo cookies “I love the black and white. Two races of flavor living side by side in harmony. It’s a wonderful thing”
For cookies1 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
For icings1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar 1 tablespoon light corn syrup 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 1 to 2 tablespoons water 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl. Stir buttermilk and vanilla together in a cup; a Pyrex cup with pouring spout works well here.
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, beating until well combine. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low-speed, scraping bowl as needed, beginning and ending with flour mixture. I do three additions of flour, two of buttermilk. Mix until smooth.
Spoon 1/4 cup portions of batter at least 2 inches apart onto a buttered or parchment-lined large baking sheet. If you have a 1/4 cup spring-loaded scoop this will help portion out the cookies and keep them round. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack with metal spatula to cool.
Make icings and frost:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer a little less than 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.
If you can, wait until the glaze dries; the cookies taste better. Cookies can be stored in an air-tight container; I think they are best if eaten within two days.
Look to the cookie! Enjoy!