This black and white cookies recipe is taken from the Williams-Sonoma Baking Book. It is a recipe my eight year old daughter decided to do on her own. As the recipe provides measurement in both the imperial american systems and universal metric system, there was a little confusion for her upfront on the different values. Once that was sorted out, she ended up doing the cookies pretty much on her own (I was downstairs working). With or without help from adults, this recipe is a great one to teach children some basic aspects of baking: making a shortcrust, measuring, diving, measuring, using egg yolk as a “glue”.
Makes about 40 cookies. Below is the recipe taken from Williams and Somona. The tips are my addition.
This type of cookie is made by forming dough into a log or rectangular block and chilling it thoroughly. You can also use different types of dough together (vanilla and chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate) to make patterned cookies. Cookies are then sliced off the log or block and baked. When slicing the dough, give the log or block a quarter turn after every half dozen or so slices to keep the cookies perfectly square or round.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (315 g)
- 1/2 cup sugar (125 g)
- Pinch of salt – Tip: remove if using salted butter
- 250 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbs unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
Tip: for the butter, you can use soft butter or half melted butter. When you rest the dough the first time, either leve it longer or use the freezer.
Tip: I am not using a food processor here as in the original recipe. I find that best learning is achieved by doing by hand and also the mixing is not really hard, so does not warrant the use of a food processor.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Then, add the butter, vanilla and egg yolks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and eventually holds together. Divide the dough in half. Transfer one-half to a lightly floured work surface and knead in the cocoa until incorporated. If the dough is very soft, wrap in cell-wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Lightly dust the work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out each dough half into a 8 by 21 centimetre about one centimetre thick. Trim the edges to even out.
Tip: instead of trimming the edges, you can use a dough scrapper to push and distribute the dough in a rectangle.
- Place each rectangle on a large baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes (Tip: or 10 minutes if using the freezer). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the whole egg until blended. Set aside.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using a sharp knife, cut each rectangle into 4 strips about 2 cm wide (you should have 4 strips of each color). Arrange 2 chocolate strips and 2 plain strips in a checkerboard pattern, brushing the beaten egg between the strips and gently pressing them together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and use a knife to square off the edges of each block. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes or 10 minutes if using the freezer.
- Preheat an oven to 180°C. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Remove the blocks from the refrigerator, unwrap and cut each crosswise into slices 6-8 mm thick. Place them 4 cm apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies feel firm when lightly pressed, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.