ode to the black & white cookie.

Black & White cookies hold a special place in my heart. They take me back to my time in NY, arguably some of the happiest years ever spent. Countless times I’d pick up a giant example of this hallowed dessert from too many bakeries in each and every borough to list off here (not to mention street vendors). They are decadent – and they are big. Whatever sweet craving you’ve got – these babies will satisfy.

I was so happy, joyous really, to see a vegan recipe for the majestic Black & White included in Hannah Kaminsky’s My Sweet Vegan, which only just arrived at my house last week. I get to indulge in one of my all-time favourite treats and it’s dairy-free, egg free and vegan all the way baby. My initial indecision at which tasty treat to try first upon the book’s arrival, so overwhelmed was I by all the fabulous possibilities contained therein, caused my vote to be forfeit – hubby then cast the tiebreaker in favour of Peanut Butter Bombs. Those turned out really fantastic. I knew what my second foray into the book would have to be – the Black & White.

After getting the batter together I placed generous fluffy dollops on prepared baking sheets. They looked like ethereal little clouds before going into the oven.

I might have left them in a minute too long – ok I did leave them in too long – I was distracted by a cat, but I think they were none the worse for wear.

These were really fun to make. The taste of the batter, which I sampled repeatedly, immediately took me back to being four years old when I used to steal cake batter when my great grand mother wasn’t looking and then she’d chase me around the kitchen with a wooden spoon until I dove under the table for cover. I was safe there because she couldn’t bend too well. Sorry nägy.

Great tasting batter aside, the assembly is where the true fun comes in – all that painting of the two glazes, reminiscent of finger painting. Delightful.

One thing I quickly realized was that in using organic confectioner’s sugar I was not going to get a true snow white for the white side of my cookies, rather mine would be a slight cream – against the dark chocolate glaze they look white enough though.

I even broke out my coveted Endangered Species dark chocolate baking rounds, which I’d been hording for some time.

The chocolate is so darn tasty I was tempted to slather it all over the entire cookie but I resisted. Next time perhaps.

Worth noting is that, if you work slowly like myself, you may need to nuke the chocolate glaze for ten seconds to soften it up again or you may find it start to seize up on you. We want our cookies to have perfectly smooth little Black & White tuxes thank you very much.

Et voilà! – c’est magnifiqe. I love them – so sweet and decadent and, most importantly, delicious. I enjoyed more than one with an equally humongous mug of coffee – and we’re two for two.

Now what to try next…

peanut butter bombs, vegan.

I recently received my copy of Hannah Kaminsky’s first cookbook, My Sweet Vegan.

My goodness, this is one great book – I really can’t say enough good things about it. One thing I should admit to is the fact that I have an incredible weakness for books of all sorts, shapes and sizes. It’s somewhat of a sickness really. My latest obsession within the obsession is cookbooks, vegan cookbooks specifically. And I have acquired many of them – each having something awesome to offer in their own right.

That said, Hannah’s creation is the closest and most perfect representation of my culinary tastes that I have ever come across. My Sweet Vegan is truly a collection of unusual and amazing desserts. There’s a lot of chocolate. This is good. But there’s also pretty much each and every favourite thing I’ve ever eaten represented in perfect vegan form.

There’s Golden Glazed Donuts. I love donuts. There’s Graham Flour Fig Scones. I love figs. French Toast – breakfast is my favourite meal. There are 77 recipes in total – some of my favourites: Black Bottom Blondies, Whoopie Pies, Marshmallow Mud Cake, Mexican Chocolate Tart, Coconut Custard Pie, Orangettes (dark chocolate covered orange peel), and Root Beer Float Cupcakes – the latter being recently honoured as one of Vegan.com’s Top 10 Recipes, 2008.

My heart smiled with nostalgic glee when I came across Hannah’s inclusion of Pfefferneuse. I nearly wept with joy at spotting the Black & White cookies – those NY classics. Ah New York, how I miss you.

But the proof is in the pudding right? It’s one thing to look at pretty pictures – and they are pretty, snapped by Hannah herself – but it’s another to have a recipe that actually delivers the goods. Based on my first foray into Hannah’s baking world, I’m pretty confident you won’t be disappointed. You can imagine how difficult it was for me to choose which tasty morsel to try first. Ultimately, hubby had to choose for me and he put his vote in for Peanut Butter Bombs.

As I write this I’m enjoying several of them with a giant mug of coffee. A symphony of chocolate and peanut butter, these bombs do not disappoint. Hannah’s instructions are very straightforward and easy to understand, the book is beautifully laid out, and each recipe is accompanied by a fabulous photograph that shows you exactly what you are aiming for.

To quote hubby, ‘MMMMmmmmm.’

Be sure to check out Hannah’s blog, Bittersweet. Luckily for us, this vegan is as generous as she is talented and shares eloquently penned tips, recipes, and crafts on a regular basis.


Way back, all the way back to the beginning, there was a challenge. Guess what. I won (blush). My prized t-shirt arrived not too long ago. Thanks Jason – you are an inspiration.

Jason once described this shirt as his favourite veg garment during one of the always informative and witty TVPs (Toronto Vegetarian Podcast) and has now bestowed one upon me.

You can get your own here.

It reminds me of a funny and poignant blog post (at the fabulous veg blog Walking the Vegan Line) about a Texas bumper sticker – see the photo.

Recognition is sweet. Thanks again Jason.