Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's Black and Orange and Sweet All Over?

Hi all! I'm happy to report for all those concerned (none of you) that Rachel and I are safe and sound. Those of us on the Upper West Side were fortunate not to suffer any damage from the hurricane, and now we're doing our best to help those who did. If you feel so moved, please donate to the Red Cross before reading today's post.

There were many sad things about the hurricane, one of which was that it coincided with Halloween. Luckily, Chris Christie is on it; he has, by executive order, officially proclaimed Halloween in New Jersey to be next Monday, the 5th. Here in New York, however, it was still on October 31st, which meant the slutty pumpkins were out in full force, the kids were trick-or-treating at stores along Amsterdam Avenue, and some doodoohead in our apartment building stole the entire bowl of candy we left out when none of us were home. It also meant it was time for a special Halloween edition of Baked Goods Friday at the Oxford University Press office! After many successful years of Halloween cupcakes, brownies, and Oreo cheesecakes, I knew that I needed something thematic. I had been wanting to try my hand at black-and-white cookies anyway, so I thought, AHA! What if I adapted them to make and ORANGE cookies? For black and orange are the traditional Halloween colors.

So I made a batch of the black and white cookies from Baked Explorations, but those are best not discussed (let's just say that I ran out of flour and had to substitute 1 cup of semolina for a cup of all-purpose. And that was one of the less unfortunate things I had to do. I never even bothered frosting them, though they tasted rather good, kind of like cornbread. Who knew.) Then I turned to good ole King Arthur Flour, mostly because I had all the ingredients onhand that I needed for their icing. Very scientific. Apparently black and white cookies are sometimes called half-moon cookies, which for some reason seems unbelievably goyische. Anyway, it was pretty straightforward. The cookies came out nice and cakey, which as everyone knows is the main criteria by which a good black and white cookie must be judged. The frosting never really hardened; I don't know that it was supposed to but that's really one of my favorite parts of your typical New York deli black-and-white. Also, the white (I mean orange) frosting didn't taste that good. Maybe it was the dyes from the frosting - Wilton burgundy mixed with Wilton yellow - but it had a bit of chemical aftertaste. Oh well, I guess that's what you get when you choose a frosting based on the ingredients that are already in your cabinet. The chocolate, however, was delicious, and they were both very easy to spread. Of course they came apart in between Amsterdam Avenue and the office, as cookies tend to do, but they were still a big hit at the office. You can find the recipe here.

P.S. If you were looking for an answer to the riddle in the title of this post, it was Halloween. Yes. Halloween. AahOOOOOOOH! 

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