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Red Velvet Cake Recipes For National Red Velvet Cake Day


[1] Red velvet layer cake. Here’s the recipe (photo © McCormick).

Red Velvet Stained Glass Bundt Cake
[2] Red velvet bundt cake in Nordicware’s “Stained Glass” design (photo © Nordicware).

Red Velvet Pancakes
[3] Red velvet pancakes. Here’s the recipe (photo © Taste Of Home).


[5] Red velvet donuts. Here’s the recipe (photo © Farmgirl Gourmet).

 

September 18th is National Red Velvet Cake Day, and we’ve got a bunch of red velvet cake recipes for you, below. But first, the history of this cake, which grew to immense popularity over the last two decades, after gathering dust in many a recipe box.

If you want to order a red velvet cake, the best one we’ve had is from Daisy Cakes.

We used this food holiday as an excuse to order another one.
 
 
THE HISTORY OF RED VELVET CAKE

“The history of red velvet is not black and white,” says Deborah Harroun, author of Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook.

Stories detail its discovery in the 1870s in Canada and in the 1950s in Pennsylvania. Some give credit to the Deep South, where red velvet cake is topped with cream cheese frosting.

Originally made from beets or beet juice and cocoa (and the best recipes still use these ingredients), the cake yields a reddish brown color with a mild chocolate flavor.

Today’s recipes made with red food coloring can be a florid red. A thick white frosting is traditional (we vote for cream cheese!).

Today, many recipes use red food color instead of beets, which leaves a rosy red and arresting color but a more bland flavor and texture. A light-textured chocolate layer-type cake with a deep reddish brown color.
 
 
SHOULD RED VELVET HAVE CHOCOLATE FLAVOR?

Our first experience with red velvet cake, long before the craze of the last decade, was a type of chocolate cake with red food coloring. Our mom baked a recipe called Red Devil’s Food Cake from the 1950s, where the chocolate cake had a red hue.

Mom used beets in her Red Devil’s Food Cake. And what a great cake it was! We’ll have to dig up the recipe and publish it.

But think again, says Deborah Harroun: “The cocoa taste actually appears as just a hint when done correctly. I say that a red velvet cake or cupcakes taste like butter cake with just a hint of cocoa. It may be a hard flavor to describe, but once you’ve had it, you probably won’t forget it!”

While many committed bakers deride red velvet for its use of “fake” red food coloring, there are natural ingredients that can be used to achieve the same red hue: cranberries, other red berries, pomegranates.
 
 
MORE RED VELVET RECIPES

  • Baileys Red Velvet Irish Cream Liqueur
  • Baked Red Velvet Donuts
  • Green Red Velvet Cupcakes
  • Jumbo Red Velvet Cupcake
  • Red Velvet Cheesecake
  • Red Velvet Cookies
  • Red Velvet Cupcakes
  • Red Velvet Pancakes
  • Red Velvet Raspberry Truffles
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies
  • Sugar-Free Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
  •  
     
    > CAKE GLOSSARY: THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAKES
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF CHEESECAKE

     

     
      

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    Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe For National Monte Cristo Day

    September 17th is National Monte Cristo Day, celebrating a sandwich that some people consider to be a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich on French toast. Actually, it’s the American adaptation of the Croque Monsieur, a French grilled ham and cheese sandwich on French toast. The The Monte Cristo recipe is below. The difference:

  • Croque Monsieur Sandwich is a hot sandwich made with Bayonne ham (French ham) and Gruyère cheese on pain de mie (a white bread with a bit of the sweetness of brioche). The original was topped with béchamel sauce and some grated cheese, then baked in the oven (photo #7).
  • Today, especially in the U.S., a Croque Monsieur can be dipped in a beaten egg with milk and then sautéed in butter. The bread portion becomes French toast.
  • Some cooks still use the old French recipe, but grill the sandwich instead of baking it in the oven, and then put under the broiler. Instead of béchamel, they use a cheese sauce, which in France is called mornay sauce—béchamel turned into cheese sauce with the addition of Gruyère. In the U.S., the cheese of choice is often Cheddar.
  • Croque Madame Sandwich. The Croque Madame (photo #6) wasn’t created for the ladies; it was so-called because it resembles a woman’s hat (photo #9). It’s similar to a Croque Monsieur with a poached or fried egg on top. We don’t know when it was first created, but the name itself dates to around 1960 [source].
  • Monte Cristo Sandwich is a variation made with white bread, ham and Gruyère, although some recipes substitute Gouda or other cheese. It has a sweet-and-savory profile: The sandwich is dipped in a French toast batter (eggs and milk), then pan-fried or deep-fried. It’s served with a side of grape jelly for dipping (or blackberry if you can find it), and often a dusting of powdered sugar (photo #1).
  • Some cooks make a three-layer Monte Cristo, some add turkey. Here’s a copycat recipe of the Disneyland recipe (photo #1) and a copycat of the Bennigan’s recipe, which uses pancake batter (photo #3).
  • Think outside the box. How about using pancakes instead of bread (photo #5)? How about some peanut butter (photo #6). How about some bacon? How about some sliced tomatoes with that ham and cheese?
  •  
    By the way: These sandwiches are best eaten with a fork and knife.

     
    HISTORY OF THE CROQUE MONSIEUR SANDWICH & THE MONTE CRISTO

    The origin of the Croque Monsieur is not known with certainty, but it is believed to have originated in French bistros and cafés as a quick snack. The name means a, roughly, “a bite for a man,” from French words croque (bite) and monsieur (“mister”).

    One of the first known written references is on Parisian menu from 1910. It is cited in volume 2, Within a Budding Grove (published 1918), of Marcel Proust’s epic novel, In Search of Lost Time [source].

    When there is no certainty, there are always apocryphal stories.

  • The radiator. Some French workers left their lunches too close to a radiator. The heat melted the cheese and toasted the bread and the sandwich was born.
  • The lack of baguette. A Parisian chef of a brasserie on the Boulevard des Capucines invented the sandwich one day in 1901, after running out of baguettes for the restaurant’s sandwich of the day. He took a loaf of pain de mie (similar to an American pullman loaf), sliced it, placed ham and cheese between the slices, buttered it and cooked it to crispiness. When a customer asked about the ingredients, the chef pointed to another customer, the butcher, and said “C’est la viande de monsieur” (It’s that man’s meat) [source].
     
    Both the Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame remain popular lunchtime staples in France [source].

    In recent years, different chefs and restaurants have put their own spins on the original Croque Monsieur recipe. See them below

    Decades later came the Monte Cristo sandwich.

    No one knows exactly who created it and named it, but it happened somewhere in California. It was popularized by California cafés in the 1950s, where it first appeared on a menu as The Monte. It became a menu favorite at the Disneyland in Anaheim, California, at the Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square [source].

    Today it’s on the menu as “Battered & Fried Cheese ‘Monte Cristo’ [served with Brie, Swiss and Mozzarella with Pommes Frites.”

    Some say that “Monte Cristo” is a tribute to the French novel, The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas. Hmmm. It was originally called the Monte, which can refer to a card game, a mountain, or something else entirely.

    There is a real Montecristo, by the way; a beautiful island in Tuscan Archipelago (west of Tuscany, Italy in the Tyrrhenian Sea, which flows into the Mediterranean.

    Back to the food:

    The traditional Monte Cristo sandwich is made from deli ham and Swiss cheese. The entire sandwich is then lightly dipped in the egg batter used for French Toast, and grilled or deep fried.
     
     
    RECIPE: MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH

    The sandwich is served with a side of jelly for dipping, and often garnished with powdered sugar. We’re not a fan of the latter. It just gets over everything (table and clothes). And who needs sugar on a ham and cheese?

    While we prefer Gruyère cheese, as is used in the Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame, you can substitute Emmental, or America’s approximation of Emmental, a.k.a. Swiss cheese—or whatever you like. We’ve seen everything from Gouda to Provolone.

    TIP: You can hold the sandwich layers with with toothpicks. Add them before battering and frying.

    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 8 slices quality white bread or brioche
  • 8 slices ham
  • 8 slices turkey
  • 8 slices Gruyère or substitute
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk or more (depending on how thick you want the batter)
  • Optional for the batter: dash nutmeg
  • Butter for frying
  •  
    For Serving

  • Grape jelly, or blackberry or raspberry jelly or jam, for dipping
  • Powdered sugar for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the eggs and milk in a shallow pan. Melt the butter in a large skillet.

    2. LAYER a slice of bread, cheese, ham, another slice of bread spread with mayonnaise, turkey, cheese, and then another slice of bread. Cut or fold the meats and cheese so they are contained within the borders of the bread. Press down so that the layers stick together, and use toothpicks to hold them.

    3. MELT the butter in the skillet. Dip each sandwich in the milk and egg mixture, then transfer to the skillet. Cook until the bread is toasted on both sides and the cheese is melted.

    4. CUT in half. Dust with powdered sugar if desired, and with the jelly/jam in a ramekin on the side.
     
     
    CROQUE VARIATIONS

    Up-and-coming chefs and restaurants can gain attention by putting their own twist on classic dishes. Common variations on the Croque Monsieur, listed in Wikipedia include:

  • Croque Auvergnat*, made with bleu d’Auvergne cheese.
  • Croque Bolognese, which adds Bolognese sauce (tomato sauce with ground meat—also commonly called the Croque Boum-Boum).
  • Croque Gagnet†, made with Gouda cheese and andouille sausage (photo #8).
  • Croque Hawaiian, with a slice of grilled pineapple.
  • Croque Norvégien, made with smoked salmon instead of ham.
  • Croque Poulet, which replaces the ham with grilled chicken.
  • Croque Provençal, which includes a slice of tomato.
  • Croque Señor, which adds salsa.
  • Croque Tartiflette‡, which uses Reblochon cheese and adds sliced potatoes.
  •  
    …and of course, the Croque Madame, previously described.

    That’s a lot of croque for you to consider. You may like to create your own. We often make one with chicken and truffle cheese.
     
     
    > SANDWICH GLOSSARY: THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SANDWICHES
     
     
    > THE HISTORY OF SANDWICHES

     


    [1] A Monte Cristo with ham, cheese, turkey, powdered sugar and grape jelly. Here’s the recipe (photo © Picky Palate).


    [2] Kikkoman also adds turkey to the ham and cheese, makes it a triple decker, and dips the battered sandwich into crunchy panko bread crumbs. Here’s the recipe (photo © Kikkoman).


    [3] Bennigan’s dips their Monte Cristo in pancake batter. Here’s the recipe (photo © I Am A Homesteader).


    [4] It wouldn’t be a Monte Cristo without the dipping jelly. Here’s another recipe (photo © Taste And Tell Blog).

    Monte Cristo Pancakes
    [5] Krusteaz thinks outside the box and makes a Monte Cristo with pancakes instead of bread (photo © Krusteaz).

    Peanut Butter Monte Cristo Sandwich
    [6] Another variation: a slick of peanut butter on the bread (photo © Peter Pan).


    [7] The original Croque Monsieur was baked in the oven with béchamel sauce and grated Gruyère. Here’s the recipe from Chef Michel Roux (photo © The Good Life France).


    [8] Croque Gagnet, a variation of Croque Monsieur made with Gouda cheese and andouille sausage. Here’s the recipe. See more variations (photo © Cambooza).


    [9] The Croque Madame: a ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried or poached egg (photo © Adam Bartoszewicz | Unsplash).

     
    ________________

    *Auvergnat is a dialect of Occitan spoken in the region of Auvergne in Central France.

    †We can’t find a reference for Gagnet. It is a surname, and may have been that of the chef or the restaurant.

    ‡Tartiflette is a dish from Savoy in the French Alps and from Aosta Valley. It is made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions.

     
     
      

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    How To Freeze Avocado, Avo Recipes For National Avocado Day


    [1] Charred avocado. The recipe link is below (photo © Crown Shy | NYC)


    [2] Baked avocado fries. The recipe link is below (photo © Chobani).

    Chickpeas Garnish
    [3] Avocado soup with roast chickpeas (photo © DeLallo).

    Ceviche Stuffed Avocado
    [4] Ceviche-stuffed avocado. The recipe link is below (photo © Avocados From Mexico).


    [5] Bacon, avocado and tomato crostini. The recipe is below (photo © California Avocado).


    [6] Grapefruit, avocado and kale salad. The recipe link is below (photo © Good Eggs).

     

    When you have extra avocados in danger of becoming overripe, you can freeze them, with a few caveats. Freezing avocado changes its texture—the water expands. When it thaws, it is no longer smooth-textured. It will be mushy, and thus not right to enjoy in salads or stuffed avocado. However, you can use it to make:

  • Guacamole and other dips and spreads
  • Purées/sauces
  • Salad dressings
  • Smoothies
  •  
    FOOD TRIVIA: Avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable. It is the fruit of the avocado tree.

    Check out the difference between fruits and vegetables.

    How To Ripen Avocados Quickly
     
    Avocado History
     
     
    HOW TO FREEZE AVOCADO PULP

    1. HALVE the avocado and remove the pit. Reduce browning by brushing small amounts of lemon juice or vinegar onto the cut flesh. Note that lemon or vinegar may change the taste slightly, but it won’t matter in savory preparations except, possibly, in a smoothie.

    You can also freeze peeled, mashed avocado or purée, but it may leave more surface area exposed.

    2. WRAP the halves very tightly in plastic wrap, so that no air can come into contact with the surface. Further store them in a freezer bag, with the air pressed out; or use a vacuum sealer.

    3. THAW at room temperature for about an hour.
     
     
    MORE AVOCADO RECIPES

    Avocados are packed health benefits. One ounce of avocado contains only 50 calories, 3 grams of monounsaturated fat (good fat), 1 gram of dietary fiber, and no saturated fat, cholesterol or sodium.

    The fruit also provides nearly 20 essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, avocados enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients from other foods with which they’re eaten, such as alpha- and beta-carotene, as well as lutein and vitamins A, D, K and E.

    So dig in!

  • Avocado & Corned Beef Bites
  • Avocado Burger (Vegetarian)
  • Avocado Gazpacho
  • Avocado Ice Cream
  • Avocado-Lime Jell-O
  • Avocado Potato Salad
  • Avocado & Shrimp Boats
  • Avocado Summer Rolls
  • Bacon Potato Pancakes With Corn Salsa & Avocado Cream
  • Baked Avocado & Feta Appetizers In Wonton Wraps
  • Baked Avocado Fries
  • Blueberry Avocado Pancakes
  • BLT & Mashed Avocado Crostini
  • BLT Eggs Benedict With Avocado
  • BLT Gazpacho With Avocado Garnish
  • BLT Salad With Avocado
  • Breakfast Quesadillas
  • California Roll
  • Ceviche-Sruffed Avocado
  • Charred/Torched Avocado
  • Curried Chicken & Avocado Sandwiches
  • Deep-Fried Avocado Fries
  • Garlic Bread Crostini With Guacamole
  • Garnishes For Avocado Halves
  • Gazpacho Sandwich Recipe
  • Goat Cheese, Avocado & Grapefruit Crostini
  • Grilled Avocado Party Bar
  • Guasacaca Sauce
  • Ham & Avocado Omelet
  • Kale & Bacon & Pasta With Avocado Pistachio Sauce
  • Ladybugs On A Stick
  • Layered Salad
  • Roasted Beet, Avocado & Granny Smith Apple Towers
  • Southwestern Salad In An Avocado Boat
  • Stuffed Avocados
  • Turmeric-Spiced Chicken Tacos With Avocado Tomato Salsa
  • Spice-Seared Tofu with Avocado, Beets & Cucumbers
  • Spinach Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon & Avocado
  • Strawberry Avocado Smoothie
  • Sushi Donuts
  • Tuna & Avocado Sashimi Bowl
  •  
    Avocado Toast Recipes

  • Avocado Toast With Miso
  • Avocado Toast With Salsa
  • Avocado Toast With Sour Cream
  • Deluxe Avocado Toast
  • Fancy Avocado Toast
  • Loaded Avocado Toast Or Crostini
  •  
    Guacamole Recipes

  • Bacon Guacamole
  • Guacamole Garnishes
  • Guacamole Mix-Ins
  • Guacamole Party Bar
  • Guacamole Trio
  • International Guacamole Recipes
  •  
    Holiday Avocado Recipes

  • Avocado Christmas Tree With Chile Vinaigrette
  • Deviled Eyeballs
  • Green Deviled Eggs
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    Creme de Menthe Brownies Recipe & History Of Creme de Menthe

    September 15th is National Crème de Menthe Day. Crème de menthe, French for “mint cream,” is a mint liqueur made with dried peppermint or spearmint, steeped in grain alcohol for several weeks. The mint is then filtered out and the infused alcohol is mixed with sugar. The liqueur is aged for a month before bottling.

    It’s typically 25% alcohol by volume (A.B.V.), which translates to 50 proof.

    There is no crème (cream) in crème de menthe. “Crème” refers to the higher amount of sugar used to make it.

    Note that crème de menthe is not the same as peppermint schnapps. Peppermint schnapps has a higher alcohol content and a more intense, less sweet flavor.

    A good brand of crème de menthe is absolutely delicious. Mint lovers will, well, love it.

    There are two varieties of crème de menthe. Both taste pretty much the same, with a fresh mint flavor.

  • Green crème de menthe, colored by the mint leaves, is used for sipping after dinner and in green cocktails like the Grasshopper, Peppermint Patty and Stinger. Quality brands get their dark green hue from macerated mint leaves. Inexpensive brands are often artificially flavored and colored.
  • White crème de menthe, which is colorless, is used to mix into drinks where no green color is wanted.
  •  
    Want to make your own crème de menthe? See the footnote* below.
     
     
    CRÈME DE MENTHE USES BEYOND COCKTAILS

    We love mint flavor, so we use crème de menthe:

  • In hot chocolate.
  • In milkshakes.
  • As an alcoholic mint syrup (add it to seltzer for mint soda).
  • As a drizzle on ice cream (especially vanilla, chocolate, Oreo and Mint Oreo) or other desserts.
  • In cake and cookie batter, and grasshopper pie.
  • In frostings and fillings.
  • In chocolate cookie balls (rum balls with crème de menthe substituted).
  • In chocolate mint fudge (all chocolate, or a layer of mint atop a layer of chocolate).
  • In mousse.
  • In meringues and peppermint candy.
  •  
    Before we get to the crème de menthe brownie recipe, here’s a bit of…
     

    CRÈME DE MÈNTHE HISTORY

    As with many other liquers, crème de menthe was developed as a digestif, sipped from a small glass after a big meal.

    It was created in France in 1885 by in France, by Émile Giffard, a pharmacist in Angers, in the Val de Loire.

    He researched the digestive and refreshment qualities of mint, then crafted the liqueur into the colorless (white) variety.

    In those days, liqueurs were commonly drunk after dinner to help with digestion. Giffard made his mint liqueur available to the Grand Hotel in Angers. It was a great hit with the guests [source].
     
     
    RECIPE: CRÈME DE MÈNTHE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

    Thanks to Taste Of Home for this yummy recipe.

    There is no alcohol in it. The alcohol would evaporate in the oven heat, leaving only the flavor of mint. The mint extract serves that purpose here.

    However, you can certainly sip a glass of crème de menthe as you enjoy a brownie.

    Ingredients For The Brownies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can (16 ounces) chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 3 drops green food coloring
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 1 package (10 ounces) mint chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, cubed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and salt; mix well.

    2. POUR into a greased 13×9-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes (top of brownies will still appear wet). Cool on a wire rack.

     


    [1] A mint lover’s delight: chocolate crème de menthe brownies (photo © Taste Of Home)


    [2] Bols, a leading brand of crème de menthe (photo © Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority).


    [3] This recipe uses regular and mint chocolate chips (photo © Bella Baker [now closed].


    [4] Mint chips. These are from Beaulah’s Candyland on Amazon. If you can’t find mint chips, see the footnote† below (photo © Beaulah’s Candyland).


    [5] Want to make your own chocolate syrup? Here’s a recipe (photo © I Am A Baker).

     
    3. MAKE the filling. In a small bowl, cream the butter and confectioners sugar; add the water, extract and food coloring until blended. Spread over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until set.

    4. MAKE the topping. Melt the chocolate chips and butter. Cool for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread over the filling. Chill. Cut into 72 bars. Store in the fridge.
     
    ________________

    *Homemade Crème De Menthe Recipe. Ingredients: 1-1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, 1-1/2 cups vodka, 1-1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup water. Preparation: (1) Measure out 1 cup of the mint leaves, tear them into quarters, and add them to a 750 ml glass jar with a tight cap (for the jar, note that a 750 ml bottle of vodka is 25 ounces). Pour the vodka on top. Shake and let steep for 12 hours; then strain the mint leaves and return the infused vodka to the jar. Note that because the leaves have not been commercially macerated, the color will be more yellowish than green. You can adjust it with food color later. (2) Bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and add to the vodka. Tear the remaining 1/2 cup of mint leaves and add them to the jar. Shake and let steep for 10 hours. Strain twice to remove all pieces of mint leaves. You’re ready to enjoy your crème de menthe.

    †If you can’t find mint chocolate chips, place 2 cups (12 ounces) of semisweet chocolate chips and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract in a plastic bag. Seal and toss to coat. Allow the chips to stand for 24-48 hours.

      

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    Black And White Cookie History For National Black & White Cookie Day


    [1] Black and white cookies, so craveable (photo © American Heritage Chocolate).


    [2] Some bakers get creative. Dana’s Bakery makes black and white cookies with a surprise inside: rainbow cake (photos #3 and #4 © Dana’s Bakery)


    [3] Dana’s Bakery also makes chocolate chip black-and-whites, gluten-free black-and-whites, s’mores black-and-whites and vegan black-and-white cookies.


    [4] For pink parties, Valentine’s Day and other pink-themed events, many bakers offer pink-and-whites (photo © City Sweet Tooth [now closed]).


    [5] For harvest season and Halloween (photos #5 and #6 © William Greenberg Desserts).


    [6] Pick your colors!

     

    Oh, what a great reason to eat black and white cookies: September 14th is National Black And White Cookie Day. One of our favorite cookies since childhood, these large cake-like cookies are iced, half in vanilla fondant or boiled icing, half in chocolate icing. Today, most bakers use boiled icing; it’s easier and less expensive than fondant.

    Because some of the cookie’s fans preferred one side of icing more than the other, some bakers make all-chocolate or all-vanilla-iced cookies in addition to the black-and-white. We call them “full moon cookies” (you heard it here first).

    A good black-and-white cookie is fresh, so that the yellow cake is not hard* (it dries out easily). A tip: If you’re buying them in a store where you help yourself, to place a finger on the underside and press. It should be springy.

    The cake is made with vanilla extract and ideally, a teeny hint of almond extract in it. The icing has just enough sugar, not too much.

    Pursuant to the ideal of soft cake, black-and-whites are actually neither cookie nor cake, but a hybrid. They are a drop cake†, which adds extra flour to cupcake batter so the batter can be dropped on a baking sheet without running.

    Like cookies, they are finger food. Unlike cookies, which are hard and can be stored at room temperature two to three weeks (2 months in the fridge, 8-12 months in the freezer), they need to be consumed within a day.

    Black-and-whites are also called half moon cookies, a term you’ll see more of in the cookie’s history below.
     
     
    NAME YOUR COLOR!

    A black-and-white isn’t always iced with chocolate and vanilla. Sometimes colored icing is substituted for the chocolate; for example, pink and white icing for Valentine’s Day (photo #4), green and white icing for St. Patrick’s Day, blue and white icing for Chanukah.

    For Halloween, bakers often do white and orange, or chocolate and orange (photo #5); and similarly, with red and green for Christmas.

    Sometimes the colors are replaced entirely, e.g. with team colors or wedding colors (photo #6).
     
     
    BLACK & WHITE COOKIE HISTORY

    The black-and-white cookie, a New York City favorite for generations, has an uncertain origin.

    The earliest printed reference we’ve found is a testimony from a third-generation baker at Glaser’s Bakery on the Upper East Side, who noted that the bakery had made black-and-white cookies since it opened in 1902 (source).

    Glaser’s black-and-whites were the dry cake variety, with thick layers of fluffy frosting instead of the fondant-like icing.

    Is it possible that the bakery founder, a Bavarian immigrant named John Herbert Glaser, brought the idea with him from Germany? Well…in Germany, black-and-white cookies are called Amerikaner (American) cookies [source].

    So how did Amerikaners get to Germany? According to one source:

  • They were brought to Germany by GIs after the war.
  • They were named Ammoniakaner for ammonium hydrogen carbonate, which was used as a leavening agent (this seems like a stretch).
  • Fill in your own theory here.
  •  
    As with many things, even in the not-too-distant past, the facts have not yet been discovered.

    (Alas, Glaser’s Bakery, long an institution on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, closed its doors after 116 years (on July 1, 2018). The third generation baker, Herb Glaser, was ready to retire.)
     
     
    Now for the half moon cookies.

    The half moons look just like black-and-white. In our youth, black-and-whites were also called half moon cookies.

    The first print reference we found to a half moon cookiecites Hemstrought’s Bakery in Utica, New York, which started baking half-moons around 1925.

    Did someone see thee black-and-white in New York City and bring the idea to Utica, some 240 miles away? Possibly? Probably?
     
     
    Adding to the confusion are:

  • Schwarz-Weiß-Gebäck (black-white-pastry) is the German name for a type of cookies, popular at Christmas, that blend chocolate and white doughs into checkerboard or swirl patterns.
  • Dutch moon cookies, originating in Holland. They are stroopwafel cookie sandwiches filled with caramel; an edge is dipped into melted chocolate to create a half-moon design. Here’s more about them.
  •  
    Some day, more data may emerge. Until then, enjoy National Black-And-White Cookie Day.
     
     
    > THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COOKIES
     
     
    ________________

    *You may see the cake referred to as dry-style. This means a tight crumb, with extra flour added—not hard cake.

    †A drop cake is an old term for a small cake made by dropping thick batter from a spoon into hot, deep fat; or baked in the oven on a well-buttered pan. Here’s a recipe for a deep fat fried drop cake.

     

     
      

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