Whole wheat black and white cookies are one of my favorite treats from Zabar’s! I was so excited to make this recipe at home and can’t wait for you to try it.
For the passed 10 years, I’ve had an inexplicable
love obsession with New York City. It’s gotten so bad that every time I hear an ambulance blaring or get a whiff of garbage, I close my eyes and think “aw, reminds me of New York.”
This city makes me feel so alive and reminds me of all the things I’m not and everything I want to be…loud, bold, and fearless. The thing I love most about NYC is the people. People from all cultural backgrounds and all walks of life living in communal poverty (most of them anyway) and working their asses off to make it, in one of the most expensive cities in the US. There’s something so real about the way New Yorkers live, commute, work, and eat.
On a recent trip to the Big Apple, my boyfriend and I had the fortune of meeting some amazing locals and hearing their stories. The shuttle driver who picked us up from La Guardia was a a native of South America, who left his hometown and distinguished career just so his children could grow up in the US and enjoy opportunities that they weren’t afforded in Columbia. He commuted from Queens to Manhattan everyday, schlepped around annoying tourists (Kenny and I included), worked 60 hours a week, and did it all with a big fat smile on his face!
I couldn’t believe this man’s joy and patience with us after having worked a 14 hour shift. He was so eager to share insider tips with us while we sat in traffic on the Triboro Bridge and he was one of the friendliest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Even though New Yorkers are notorious for being curt, my interaction with this gentleman showed me a different side to New Yorkers. I realized how hard-working and down to Earth many New Yorkers really are and my respect for them multiplied.
What blows me away the most about the New York and it’s inhabitants is how so many different cultures can not only coexist but thrive in a city where the pace of life is beyond hectic. I’ve never seen a more clear display of cultural pride than I have in New York. I had never seen a Hasidic Jew until I reached the NY airport or sampled authentic Caribbean food until we explored the Bronx.
Not only do New Yorkers exhibit astonishing pride and appreciation for their native cultures, but New York has a unique identity unlike anyplace else in the U.S. Every neighborhood has its own charm and reflects the history of the people who first occupied the area. Don’t even get me started on the vast selection of ethnic fare The City has to offer. Kenny and I literally ate our way through New York, sampling everything from Dirty Water Hot Dogs to fresh Sturgeon from Barney Greengrass.
Lucky for me, our hotel was located in the Upper West Side, a short walk from Zabar’s (the best grocery store on the planet)! Calling Zabar’s a grocery store does not do it justice. Zabar’s is a Museum. A dimly lit, cluttered, magnificent Museum that proudly displays New York culture at its finest. To a self-proclaimed foodie (I hate that word), Zabar’s is Mecca; filled to the brim (literally) with artisan cheeses, a shmorgesboard of smoked fish, and a selection of authentic Jewish pastries that’ll make you want to slap your mamma!
Oh the pastries! Every humid June morning during our visit, Kenny and I would make our way to Zabar’s and eagerly get in line for our daily fix. With the exception of the day we dropped a cool 80 bucks for breakfast at Barney Greengrass (well worth it!) our morning feasts consisted of Zabar’s coffee, a lox bagel, and of course Bessert (dessert you eat after breakfast of course!). I liked to switch it up with a chocolate croissant one day, maybe a slice of chocolate Bubka the next, but Kenny was a loyal fan of their Black & White Cookie and ordered it every day!
If you’ve never tried one, a Black and White Cookie is a New York staple. A subtly sweet, soft, buttery shortbread cookie with a hint of lemon, covered with dark chocolate and vanilla frosting. My first trip to New York consisted of a rather disappointing, flavorless rendition of a Black and White that I bought at a Duane Read one night after hitting up the bars. The Zabar’s Black and White Cookie, however, was everything I was hoping for and more. I’ve been itching to recreate the treat in my own kitchen since we got back from our trip last year, and yesterday I finally made it happen!
This recipe is adapted from the Zabar’s recipe but I replaced the cake flour with whole wheat flour and it turned out fantastic! I may have committed culinary blasphemy by trying to make the cookie a little healthier, so if you’re a purist go ahead and use cake flour instead of whole wheat…weighing in at about 200 calories a cookie, this IS a cheat meal after all! 😉
whole wheat black and white cookies
- 1 stick butter (room temp)
- 3/4 C granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 C whole milk
- 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp lemon extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 1/4 whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- For the frosting:
- 1 C bittersweet or extra dark chocolate (I used 72% dark)-chopped
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 C powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp whole milk or half and half
1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
3. In another bowl, cream together the sugar and butter (mix using a handmixer or a stand mixer until it looks like the consistency of this whipped cream and is pale yellow in color).
4. Add the eggs (one at a time) and mix in between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
5. Add the milk, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture a little at a time and use your mixer to get most of the flour incorporated.
6. Finish mixing in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula.
7. Use an ice cream scoop (if you have it) to portion out balls of dough about 1 3/4 inches onto the cookie sheet. This will yield 2 1/2 to 3 inch cookies.
8. Bake the cookies for 17-18 minutes until they are golden brown underneath (I overbaked my cookies a tad…check them at 16 minutes or so). Let the baked cookies cool completely (preferably on a wire rack) before you frost them.
9. While the cookies bake you can whip together your frosting. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate and microwave in 30 second increments until the chocolate is thoroughly melted (my chocolate took a minute and I stirred it in between 30 second cycles).
10. In another bowl, combine the powdered sugar with 1 Tbsp milk or half and half. Stir and slowly add more milk until you get a thick but spreadable frosting. Add a very small amount of milk at a time and check the consistency before you add more, making the frosting too thin will make it too hard to spread!
11. When the cookies cool, use a butter knife to spread vanilla frosting on one half and chocolate on the other half. For best results, let the frosting harden before digging in with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
12. When the cookies are ready, invite some pals over, turn on Seinfeld, and enjoy one of New York’s many amazing contributions to the culinary world! Enjoy =)