Makes 18 – 3 1/2 inch cookies
Music Pairing: Love Train by The O Jays
For a step-by-step lesson on making these cookies, watch my video at Epicurious. As mentioned in the post above, the chocolate icing in the video is slightly different, but you’ll get to see the technique for creating the cobweb design.
For the cookies:
2 cups (300 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine sea salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick/112 grams) butter, softened
1 cup (200 grams) granulated natural cane sugar
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
For the icing:
2 1/4 cups (288 grams) Confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons (26 grams) corn syrup, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons (25 ml) cold water, divided
2 teaspoons butter, melted & divided
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (25 grams) good quality cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper.
To make the cookies, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Add the butter, sugar, and lemon zest to a separate deep bowl. Beat, using a hand mixer, until light and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy, and well mixed, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and the flour mixture. Starting with the mixer on low speed, and gradually increasing the speed to medium-high, beat until the batter is just mixed, and there are no visible traces of flour.
Drop batter by scant 1/4 cupfuls (an ice cream scooper works great for evenly shaped cookies), 3 inches apart (6 should fit on each sheet) onto on of the prepared baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden. Let cookies rest of the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely. Save the pan lined with the cookie baking sheet—you’ll be using it to decorate the cookies.
To make the vanilla icing, add 1 1/4 cups (160 grams) Confectioner’s sugar to a medium bowl, and whisk to remove any lumps. Pour in 1 teaspoon of corn syrup, 1 teaspoon melted butter and 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk, adding more water one drop at a time, until it forms a smooth, but still somewhat thick, icing. You may need as much as a full teaspoon more; it depends on the humidity. Better to start off with less water, as you can always add more, but can’t take it away.
To make the chocolate icing, add the remaining cup (128 grams) of Confectioner’s sugar and the cocoa to a clean small bowl. Whisk to combine, and remove any lumps. Add remaining teaspoon of corn syrup and melted butter, 1 tablespoon of water, and vanilla extract, and whisk until it forms a smooth, but still somewhat thick, spreadable icing. As with the vanilla icing, add more water, one drop at a time, if needed, to get the proper consistency.
To frost the cookies, place the wire rack with the cookies over the parchment lined backing sheet. The chocolate icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip (you can use a disposable freezer bag for this, too. Just snip off one corner to pipe out the icing). Place a dollop of vanilla icing on the flat side of each cookie. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it to the edges. Using the pastry bag, pipe a chocolate swirl on top of the vanilla icing.
Starting at the center of the cookies, use the tip of a toothpick or metal skewer to draw a line to the edge. Repeat this all around the top of the cookies to create a spider web decoration. Let the cookies rest on the cooling rack, and don’t worry about any icing that drips off the sides. Let the cookies rest for at least two hours, allowing the icing to set.
For a more classic black and white cookies, just frost half with vanilla icing, and the other half with chocolate icing.
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