Having not traveled at all, it's not surprising that I have never had a Black and White cookie. Let's just say it's not a common cookie at the grocery store near my house. For some reason I thought the Black and White cookie was a cutout cookie recipe, and I expected a rather crisp cookie dipped in two kinds of icing.
Turns out, it's a really nice and light cakey cookie, flavored with vanilla and lemon, with vanilla and chocolate icing spread on each half of the cookie.
I made two batches of Black and White cookies within the span of 3 days. The first batch I made was a Cake Boss recipe, while the second one is the Baked recipe out of the Explorations book. (Pictures are of the Baked recipe.)
The first, the cake boss recipe, the dough didn't spread very much at all and the baked cookies were very domey. The batter was extremely sticky and did not settle while baking. Could have been a mistake on my part. My ingredients were not all room temperature, and the mixture curdled big time.
The texture of the cookie was fine, but the cookie shape was not what I expected.
The glaze was finicky, but once I got the hang of it (working quickly, while keeping the icing warm, and adding water to thin out the icing as needed) it went fairly smooth. I loved the consistency of the vanilla icing, as it coated the cookie nicely without dripping everywhere or pooling around the cookie and set quickly. I see myself using this icing recipe to make petits fours one day. The chocolate icing I liked less. I had a hard time getting it to the proper consistency and it had an unappealing finish once dried.
The cookie itself was good, even plain. Actually, it might have been better plain, as I thought the chocolate icing was just... not so good. But might have been the chocolate I used. I don't know.
I quickly set out to make the Baked recipe while the cake boss recipe was still fresh in our minds, so we could compare.
The batter was much nicer to work with. I used a small 2-3 tbsp cookie scoop, and got large cookies. I wouldn't have wanted to make them any larger. They spread some, a couple of them running into each other on my baking sheet, yet stayed thick and soft. The baked cookies was barely golden around the edges.
The cookie itself had a more pronounced lemon flavor than the cake boss recipe, probably because it called for lemon zest (which I did not measure, but I couldn't have been very far off what was called for in the recipe). I also used 3/4 tbsp of lemon juice to make the 3/4 cup buttermilk called for in the recipe. I thought the naked cookie was really good.
The glaze is very simply mixing powdered sugar with milk, cream and vanilla. Half of the vanilla glaze gets over 1/2 cup of cocoa powder added to it to make the chocolate icing. That's where I ran into problems. There was no way all that cocoa powder was getting incorporated into the vanilla icing, even with the added teaspoon of water called for in the recipe. I even took out the hand mixer to make sure I had incorporated all the cocoa in the glaze, but in the end, I had to add a lot of milk for the icing to become the same consistency as the vanilla one. Not a big problem, but I suspect because of all the added milk, the chocolate glaze had issues setting up properly. It was quite delicious though! I used a supersoft red cocoa powder and loved the finish of the glaze on the cookies. Both vanilla and chocolate glaze pooled too much around the cookies for my liking, but were easy to spread on the cookie and gave the cookies a nice look.
Overall, I much preferred making and eating the Baked recipe for the Black and Whites. I'm glad I got to play with the vanilla glaze from the cake boss recipe, but the win in this case is strongly in the Baked boys' book. Very awesome cookie that's dangerous to keep around in the kitchen. It's so light that you'd have no problem eating one after the other without even noticing.
The Baked Black and White cookies recipe can be found on the Baked Sunday Mornings page.