The doorman has a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers. They’re part guardian angel, part sentinel. They hail a cab for you when it’s pouring and there’s only one available cab for 12 billion New Yorkers, and they protect you from the riffraff (anyone else) outside your building. If you look close enough, under their uniforms, they’re wearing capes. It’s customary to tip your doormen every Christmas—a small price to pay for the favors (miracles) they perform.
Which is why it’s no surprise that Midge buys her doormen black and white cookies. Black and white cookies are perfect for people who can’t make up their minds.
Me: “I want a cookie!”
Cookie man: “Chocolate or vanilla?”
The most difficult thing about eating a black and white cookie is deciding which color goes in my mouth first. Sometimes it’s black. Sometimes it’s white. Sometimes, if I’m being honest, I’ll fold the cookie in half so I get both at the same time.
These are less cakey than the traditional black and white, and they feature a nice little twist: brown butter. That’s right! Black, white, and brown… All shades are welcome. (It’s an equal- opportunity cookie.)
8 ounces (226 g) butter, divided
3⁄4 cup (150 g) sugar
1 teaspoon (43⁄4 g) vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (51/3 g) almond extract
1 teaspoon (5 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (4 g) salt
11⁄2 cups (225 g) flour
1 cup (100 g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon (15 g) water
4 ounces (125 g) semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons (40 g) butter
Add half the butter to a small sauté pan and brown it over medium heat. The butter will melt, then bubble, then bubble even smaller. Once the bubbles get very small, froth-like, watch closely. It’ll begin to brown. The goal is to get as brown as possible without burning it. If you feel like it’s getting close to burning, remove from heat and pour into a heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
Use a hand mixer to cream together the sugar, the reserved brown butter, the egg, and the remaining butter. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix together.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the creamed butter and mix.
Preheat the oven to 325 ̊F.
Spoon flatware teaspoon-sized balls of batter on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, with 2 inches of space between the balls. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
For the chocolate frosting
Add the semisweet chocolate and butter to a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 2 minutes on 30 percent. Stir to mix. Set aside.
For vanilla frosting
Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, water, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
Use a spoon, offset spatula, or butter knife to frost the cookies with half white and half black frosting.