black and white cookies

Posted in Food, Recipes by Elizabeth on October 3, 2010

Yesterday I was digging through my Williams-Sonoma Cookies cookbook.  I had that baking itch and was feeling a little ambitious about it.  I chose the black and white cookies.  I had all of the necessary ingredients, including the Dutch-process cocoa, thanks to a recent trip to Penzeys (maybe the best store ever).  This recipe has a couple steps that require chill time in the fridge so if you tackle this, be sure to have a few hours free.  The chill time is, of course, perfect for dish clean up, or football watching, or both.  Let’s dive right in.


  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large whole egg; 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder

Break out your food processor (yes, you’ll  need one for this).  Combine the flour, sugar, and salt with just a few quick pulses.  Next, add the butter.  I added this in a few batches, pulsing the mixture with each addition.  You want it to be coarse and crumby.  After you have the right consistency, add the egg yolk and the vanilla.  Pulse the batter until the dough starts to come together.  Since you have your sharp blade in the food processor, you might be inclined to think this will not work.  Not to worry, it does.  Just keep pulsing and the dough will start to clump.  Next is the fun part.  It is also the part that is not easy to get perfect so don’t worry about trying.  Split the dough in two halves.  First work with the dough that will remain the plain shortbready type flavor.  On clean surface lightly dusted with flour, form the dough into a rectangle.  Williams-Sonoma recommends a 9″ x 3″ (at about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thickness) rectangle is best.

I focused more on getting the thickness right here rather than getting it to be exactly 9″ x 3″.  As long as the other half is the same size, all is fine. Use a rolling pin for this, but don’t press too hard, remember you want it to be at least 1/2″ thick.  Set this aside on a cookie sheet.  Now for the second half that will be chocolate.  With the dough on the floured surface, kneed in the cocoa.  You will get messy and the surface will have chocolate everywhere (this is why I did this second, so that the counter did not have to be fully cleaned before rolling out the other half of the dough). Once that dough ball is good and chocolatey, shape it into about the same size rectangle as the other half.  Both dough halves on the cookie sheet now go into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

And now I will textually mimic the passing of time.

Ok, now that 30 minutes have passed, take out the dough.  Cut each half into four strips and alternate the strips between the chocolate and the plain.  In a bowl, beat a whole egg.  With a brush, egg wash the sides of the strips and gently press the strips together into a checker pattern, two strips on the bottom and two on top.  Cut the ends of each block so that they are even.

I did a final egg wash on the outside of the blocks, just to be sure they would stick.
Wrap each block in plastic wrap and put them back in the refrigerator for at least 30 more minutes.  (I froze the second block).

…more time passes…

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Remove the dough blocks from the

refrigerator and cut squares about 1/4″ thick (this makes about 4-5 dozen cookies).  After a few cuts, it helps to give the block a quarter turn so that the cookie squares stay even.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Cool for 2.

These cookies are excellent with a glass of milk or even with a dip into whipped cream.  Enjoy!

One Response

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  1. Meredith said, on October 6, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Those look beautiful and tasty! Thanks for sharing!

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