Friday, March 16, 2012

Green and White Holiday Cookies

I’ve come to believe it would probably have been better if Black and White cookies had been named something else. Don’t get me wrong: the name is accurate enough, if you can forgive that, technically, they’re really dark brown and white. It’s just that the name puts all the emphasis on the colors and completely overlooks what really makes these classic, round New York cookies a one-of-a-kind taste experience: their unique, almost cake-like texture.

Just as important (to me, at least), being able to change the colors and shape makes them one of the most versatile baked items for any occasion. Need an Easter cookie? Cut them in to egg shapes and make them pink and purple. Christmas? Try stars, Christmas trees or teddy bears and make them green and red. Valentine’s Day? Make red and white hearts. Your favorite team is playing in the Superbowl? Go with a football shape and the team colors. You get the idea.

Today’s recipe, for obvious reasons, makes green and white shamrocks. They’re all fun, all delicious and, of course, all reduced fat.

Some Cook’s Notes before we begin:
  • Cutting the cookies into shapes is easy, but needs to be done immediately after removing the cookie rounds from the oven. Although the cookies have a soft texture even after they cool, the sooner you are able to make the cuts, the cleaner they will be.
  • Speaking of cutting the cookies, there’s no need to discard the cut-away scraps. They may not be pretty, but they’re delicious. Save them for yourself to enjoy after the rest of the cookies have all been eaten.
  • The dual-frostings on a traditional Black-and-White cookie are chocolate (brown) and lemon-sugar (white). Although, for color reasons, today’s recipe doesn’t include a chocolate icing, feel free to substitute one if that’s what you prefer.

This recipe makes 12 cookies, each roughly 4” across.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine 1 cup of all purpose flour; 1-1/4 cups of pastry flour; ½ teaspoon of baking powder; and ½ teaspoon of salt.

In another bowl, beat ½ cup of softened butter substitute and 1 cup of granulated sugar together. When the mixture is combined and smooth, beat in 2 egg-substitute eggs, then ½ cup of skim milk; ½ teaspoon vanilla extract; and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, a little at a time, until combined into a smooth, creamy batter.

Drop the batter in ¼ cup portions onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon baking sheet.

The batter won’t spread much on its own when you bake it, so use the back of a spoon to spread it into a circle about 3-1/2 to 4” in diameter.

Bake for about 11 minutes until the batter just begins to get firm. (Remember, after cooling, the finished cookie should have a soft, almost cake-like texture.)

If you want the cookies to stay round: let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then remove to a cooling rack until completely cool before frosting.

If you want to cut the cookies into shapes: cut the cookies with a cookie cutter immediately upon taking them out of the oven. Work quickly, since they won’t cut as well after they’ve started to cool.

Move the cut shapes to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before frosting.

As mentioned in the Cook’s Notes above, save any scraps. They make a great snack.

After the cookies have cooled, but before adding the frosting, apply a very thin coating of peach or apricot jam to each cookie. Let the jam dry before applying the frosting.

To frost the cookies:
  • In a bowl, mix together 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar; 1 tablespoon light corn syrup; ½ teaspoon vanilla extract; and 3 tablespoons of skim milk. This will be the white frosting.
  • Using a small spoon, apply the white frosting to half of each cookie.

  • Set aside a small amount (about two tablespoons) of the white frosting to use for any needed repairs after the rest is made into green frosting.
  • To the remaining white frosting, add the juice of ½ lemon, and enough green food coloring to get the frosting to be the desired shade. Add two additional tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar to offset the added liquid and keep the frosting thick.
  • Using a small spoon, carefully apply the green frosting to the unfrosted portion of each cookie.

Allow the frosting to dry and become firm before serving.

Click here to download a copy of this recipe in .pdf format!

See you next week with another great tasting recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. These look wonderful! Why add corn syrup to the frosting? Does that make it shinier or stick to the cookies better?

  2. Thank you, Cynthia! Although you'll find some impressive scientific explanations on line, for the rest of us the role of the corn syrup comes down to this: it provides the right consistency - the frosting should be firm without being hard, even after it cools - and helps the shine as well.

    Hope this helps!