If it’s not too much trouble, I’d like you to be my glutenfree Valentine. And I’m gluten-free. But if you’re busy, it’s okay and I totally get it. Before you answer, please keep in mind that I spend, basically, all of my time baking your favorite comfort foods. The ones you thought you and your family might never ever have again because, well, because of the gluten. Step One in my Be-My-Valentine Campaign is to exert undue influence with these true black & white cookies, adapted from page 198 of my first cookbook. I say “true” black & white cookies (even though they’re actually pink & white) because they are iced. NOT FROSTED. For the love of all things holy, accept no frosted “black & white cookies.” I’m from New York. Which makes me an expert on these cookies, by birthright. You can trust me.
When my husband* walked in the house as these were baking, he said, “it smells like a bakery in here.” Black & white cookies are the very essence of bakery cookies. And they’re totally impressive, despite being simple to put together.
The cookies are super tender as they’re made with sour cream right there in the batter.
This seems like as good a time as any to mention that you have my littlest Valentine, my son, to thank for the fact that there isn’t a .gif (you know those pictures that shift from one image to another and back again?) showing you how these cookies go from half white and half plain to half white and half pink.
I thought the .gif was cool. My son pointed out, “Cool, Mom, but don’t you think that would get, like, really annoying really fast?” Smart kid.
*Lest you think that my plea to make you my Gluten-Free Valentine was empty and hollow, my husband is going to be out of town on Valentine’s Day. With my kids. Save me from gifting cookies to my dogs. For the first time in 15 years, I’ll be all alone. Will you be my Valentine?
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend, like mine, already contains it)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 g) sour cream, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg (60 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE ICING 1 1/2 cups (173 g) confectioners’ sugar (plus more by the tablespoon)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons water
Red or pink gel food coloring, to desired color
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set is aside.
Make the Cookies. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the sour cream, egg, butter and vanilla, and mix to combine. The dough will be thick. Spoon or pipe the batter by the heaping tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. With wet fingers, smooth the top of each mound of batter into a proper disk. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookie tops are puffed and pale golden, about 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the icing. The cookies must be completely cool before being iced, or the icing will melt into the cookies. To make the icing, stir together the confectioners’ suar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and about 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl until completely smooth. This makes the white icing. To make the pink icing, transfer half the icing to another bowl, add the food coloring, and stir very well. As necessary, add water by the tablespoon to thin, or add more confectioners’ sugar by the tablespoon to thicken, both the white and the pink icings separately. The consistency should be such that it dribbles from a spoon slowly and gracefully, like molasses. If it is too thick, it won’t spread. Too thin, and it won’t be visible on the cookie.
Ice the cookies. Once the cookies are completely cool, ice them. Turn the cookies flat side up, and spread the white icing over half, then the pink icing over the other half. The icing should be opaque and not melt into the cookie. If the icing disappears as you spread it, add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken. Serve chilled, so the icing is set just right.
Shoestring Savings: If you make it: $3.00 for 16 cookies If you bought it: $16.00 for 16 cookies