Black and White Cookies: Ready for the Party!

The big going away party at work for our departing Bureau Director was yesterday afternoon, and on Wednesday I set to work making Black and White Cookies to go along with the Jewish New York party theme. I made 12 batches of dough, yielding 160 cookies parceled out with a #30 scoop. Unfortunately, I had a problem with some of the cookies baking into irregular, non-round shapes, and these all went into the reject pile. I'm not sure what happened, but in the end, I only ended up with 125 cookies that I considered round and attractive enough to be suitable for serving. (The rejects were very tasty, however -- like birthday cake with a slight tang.)

After my first attempt at making these cookies resulted in chocolate icing that failed to set properly, I made another batch last weekend to try to see what went wrong. I discovered that if I thinned the chocolate icing quite a bit, the icing set without any problems or sticking. To frost the party cookies, I needed five batches of vanilla icing and four batches of chocolate. As it took a while to get all of the cookies frosted, I made sure to keep thinning the icings as I went along, because they thickened up with time. While the vanilla and chocolate icings both set hard, the chocolate icing was not glossy. I may experiment a little more to see if I can fix this; maybe a little more corn syrup will do the trick.

I was late to the party because I was participating in a webinar for most of the afternoon. I had to send another attorney over with the cookies during the party setup, and when I arrived about 30 minutes into the festivities, all of the cookies were gone. I take that as a positive sign that guests enjoyed them. (The rest of the party menu included pastrami, egg salad, pickles, bagels with cream cheese and lox, rugelach, and Mallomars. I have never tried a Mallomar -- they were also already gone when I got to the party -- and I did not realize that they have such a loyal New York following and are only seasonally available; you can read more about them in this New York Times article.)

I did receive a lot of compliments on the cookies, even from people who did not get a chance to taste one but thought that they were beautiful. Since they were such a hit, I think I'm going to have to start making them regularly, and maybe one of these days, I'll get the icing just right!

Recipe: Black and White Cookies from
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