Saturday, July 27, 2013

Halfmoons (aka Black & White Cookies)

These remind me of an open face whoopie pie but actually they are known as halfmoons or black & white cookies depending on which part of New York you were from... but since I'm from California, I'm going to stay out of that argument. If you wish to know about the difference between the two, here is a nice link to Wikipedia for more educational enlightenment: half moon cookies.

As for me, I rather just call them open face whoopie pies because that's what they look like. So how did I come across this recipe having never been to New York myself? Well, good question. This experiment originated as a challenge given to me by my New York native coworker. She ordered some famous halfmoon cookies all the way from Utica, NY to share and somewhere between stuffing our facing and chatting away at different topics, someone made the comment that I could probably whip up a batch of those, so I looked at them and said: " I probably could if I had a recipe to look at, they don't seem too difficult" Turns out there is a recipe and here I am. 

The recipe actually didn't seem so bad in terms of technique but I have to admit, looking at the ingredients scared me a little...okay A LOT. In all honesty, if this wasn't a challenge I decided to take on, I probably wouldn't have tried the recipe at all. The internal health nut I think died of a clogged artery with a side serving of diabetes while making these... I don't think I've ever used so much butter or sugar in a recipe...or is that normal..? Perhaps I'm the abnormal one? Regardless, my pride was on the line and I must complete what I was set out to do!

Overall, I think they came out a okay, a little dry but flavor is fine. After all that mess, you'd think it'll come out immaculate and would be worth every stick of butter I put in it right but...eh, not so much... and actually I'm not so sure this recipe is an original from the bakery in Utica or just someone's version of it. I probed online for a bit and it appears that it might be but seeing how mine turned out, hmm...maybe I am a little rusty in the kitchen?....nah! I'll be trying to make these again, but next time around, it's going to my way. Scrap the excessive butter and sugar and start from a clean slate. They'll be better (or at least I hope they will be).




Ingredients:
Recipe taken from: Hemstrought Bakery Half Moon Cookies
FOR THE COOKIES:
3 3/4
cups flour
3/4 tsp.
baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 cup sugar
16 tbsp. margarine, cut into pieces
3/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk

FOR THE FUDGE ICING:
3 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp. butter
4 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt
6 tbsp hot boiling water (up to 8 tbsp may be used)

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM ICING:
7 cups confectioners
sugar
16 tbsp. room temperature butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
7 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt
Recipe

Procedures:
For Cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Put sugar, margarine, cocoa, and salt in bowl of standing mixer and beat on medium speed until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and continue to beat. Add half the milk, then half the flour mixture, beating after each addition until smooth; repeat with remaining milk and flour mixture.
  5. Spoon or pipe batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets, making 3'' rounds 2'' apart.
  6. Bake until cookies are set, about 12 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove from parchment.
For the fudge icing:
  1. Melt bittersweet and semisweet chocolates and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water over medium heat.
  2. Add confectioners sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and 6 tbsp. boiling water and mix to a smooth, stiff paste with a rubber spatula. Thin icing with up to 8 tbsp. more boiling water. Icing should fall from a spoon in thick ribbons.
  3. Keep icing warm in a double boiler over low heat.
For the buttercream icing:
  1. Put sugar, butter, shortening, milk, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat on low speed to mix, then increase to medium and beat until light and fluffy.

Using a metal spatula, spread about 1 tbsp. of warm fudge icing on half of the flat side of each cookie. Spread the other half of each cookie with 1 heaping tbsp. buttercream icing.

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