“I’ve never had a black and white cookie before” I mumbled to my vegan food friends, not thinking that it was that big of a deal. “Living in New York City, you’ve never had a black and white cookie?!” they desperately exclaimed. Right then, I perked up. What is it about these flat perfectly looking cookies that straddle the line between black and white so mysteriously? After all, this is New York City’s cookie. Does this cookie dare to celebrate chocolate and vanilla at the same time? What about the cookie part? Is it just a boring pseudo shortbread crust underneath or something special? I had to know more.
Soon after trying one I learned that it in pure New York City style, it in fact does, boldly dare to celebrate chocolate and vanilla at the same time. All while sporting a light but compact cake inspired cookie with a hint of lemon that is rich enough to where it can stand up to the chocolate and vanilla. It straddles the line between cake and cookie, with the dual icings dealing a deathly blow of chocolate and vanilla intensity if you take a chance and eat right down the middle. I was hooked!
The search for the ultimate Black and White Cookie
It wasn’t long before I integrated my quest for the ultimate black and white cookie into my search for the ultimate New York City bagel, due to most bagel stores in the city also happening to sell outstanding black and white cookies.
Over the years I was able to drill down and find the aspects of the black and white cookie that I preferred most: The cookie has to be light in texture, slightly rich in flavor and soft with a hint of lemony acid but not too sweet. The icings need to complement not only each other, but the cookie too. None of the components should be the star of the show; they should all build on each other to make a memorable cookie experience. But don’t get too crazy; this cookie’s amazingness should lie in its simplicity which just happens to make you happy.
This vegan Black and White cookie recipe is designed to have all those traits. A touch of tapioca flour enables the batter to be extra light and perfectly moist. A specific combination of apple cider vinegar, lemon extract and vanilla extract gives this vegan cookie both richness and brightness that enables it to be on par with its traditional dairy-laden counterparts.
Vegan Black and White Cookies Recipe
For the cookies
2 cups non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons tapioca flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ cups granulated white sugar
¾ cup + 2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon extract
For the icings
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
¼ cup amber agave, corn or glucose syrup
5 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons water
5 cups (650 grams) confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon water
1) Curdle the non-dairy milk
Preheat your oven to 375F (191C). Line two baking sheets
with parchment paper. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for about 10 minutes so the mixture curdles.
2) Whisk together the dry ingredients
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour tapioca flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
3) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients
In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, canola oil, salt, vanilla extract, lemon extract and the non-dairy milk mixture from Step 1.
4) Whisk the batter together
Transfer the wet ingredients to bowl containing the dry ingredients and whisk together until well incorporated.
5) Pour the cookies out onto the baking sheet and bake to perfection
Using a dry quarter measuring cup and a dining spoon to catch drippings, scoop up the batter and pour it on the baking sheet, making sure to leave at least 1 inch between each cookie. The batter should be in a disc that’s roughly 2 ½ inches round after it’s poured onto the sheet. The batter will spread out more as you pour the rest of the cookies. Bake until the center of the cookies are firm, about 23 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway throughout the baking duration.
6) Melt the chocolate
Make a water bath, also known as a bain marie, by placing a medium bowl over a saucepan of almost simmering water. Melt the chocolate in a the bowl while whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Learn how to make a double boiler or bain marie
7) Prepare the vanilla icing
In a medium saucepan, prepare the vanilla icing by bringing the agave syrup, corn or glucose syrup and water to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until well combined.
8) Prepare the chocolate icing
Transfer ¾ cup of the vanilla icing and 1 teaspoon water to the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir until well combined. If the mixture thickens, heat it up in a microwave.
9) Glaze one half of each cookie with vanilla icing
Place 2 or 3 large wire racks on top of parchment or waxed paper. Using a small offset metal spatula, spread about 2 tablespoons of the vanilla icing on half of the underside each cookie. That's right, since the underside of the cookie is perfectly flat, we're frosting it and it now becomes the top of the cookie. Tilt the cookie and run the spatula around the edge of the cookie to scrape off excess icing. Place the cookies on the wire rack and allow the icing to harden, about 15 minutes.
If the vanilla icing begins to thicken, stir in hot water, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the icing is fluid enough to coat the cookies. Alternatively, if the icing is too thin and runny, whisk in additional confectioners’ sugar, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the proper consistency is attained.
10) Glaze the other half of each cookie with chocolate icing
Using the spatula, spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each cookie, tilting the cookie downward and scraping away excess icing. If the chocolate icing thickens and cools, reheat it over a water bath until it's fluid enough to coat the cookies. If the icing is still too thick, stir in hot water, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the proper fluidity is reached. Place the cookies on the wire rack and allow the icings to harden, at least 1 hour. The cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper, for up to 3 days. This recipe makes about 24 to 26 Vegan Black and White Cookies.