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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Black-and-white desserts

Happy New Year!  Wishing you all a happy, heathy, and prosperous new year!

My plans for New Years Eve include dinner with friends and attending a party.  A black-and-white themed party.  According to the invitation, the dress code and food/snacks will fall into the color theme; drinks will not.  Now, while I don't know that the host or hostess (one of them is my friend's coworker), I (obviously) offered to bring some home-baked treats.  I asked my friend what she thought they might like - she said black and white goodies.  Then she suggested black and white cookies.

This is not the first time my friend had requested that I make them, but last time I decided on mini-cheesecakes with individual crusts (for a NYC themed party she threw).  So suffice it to say that when she suggested them again this time, I figured I'd take a stab at them...along with a few other black and white desserts (because when have I ever been known to make things simple for myself?).

The plan was to start with the black and white cookies.  I figured they'd need the longest to sit and let the icing harden.  But I needed to wait for the butter to come to room temperature.  So while I was waiting for that, I started with the cheesecake brownies.  Then I moved onto the black and white cookies.  And lastly, the chocolate hazelnut crinkle cookies.  I debated the crinkle cookies because they're covered in powdered sugar (and guests will be wearing either white or black - which does not look good when covered in powdered sugar), but ultimately decided to make them because (a) they are so perfectly black and white, and (b) I had been wanting to make these for a while and I finally had an excuse....er, I mean occasion.

Cheesecake Brownies - Top Row (from David Lebovitz, from Ready for Dessert)
Chocolate-Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies - Middle Row (from Epicurious.com)
Black and White Cookies - Bottom Rows (from Smitten Kitchen)

A few notes:

1. I made my brownies in a 9 x 9 pan.  I recommend an 8 x 8 pan (I don't have one, which is why I used the 9 x 9).  Also, I used dark chocolate chips in mine.  I would definitely recommended using semi-sweet chips in them when you make them.  Or leave them out entirely.
2. The crinkle cookies call for 1/4 cup whole milk.  I only drink skim and the grocery store only had whole milk in half gallons, but I didn't need that much.  Another recipe called for some milk, so I went with 2%.  The cookies were fine with the 2%.
3. The chocolate icing for the black and white cookies was way too thick and almost impossible to spread.  I ended up adding extra boiling water by the teaspoon until it was smooth enough to spread.  I also added another drop of the light corn syrup.  In the end I think they came out nicely (though not as professional-looking as those you can get in bakeries here in NYC).

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