The last time I visited my family in the U.S. my mother passed along an old German baking manual and I recently got around to taking a look at its inspiring if somewhat dated recipes. A German book printed in the early 1970s at a guess, there's no such thing as a vegan recipe in its contents. It's a good thing veganising most (imagine me sighing in memory of macarons) cookies is pretty straightforward!
When I bake cookies, I have all sorts of good intentions. I tell myself things like "just have 2 or 3 a day and they will last" or "maybe if you only make a dozen you'll be more likely to savour them so they last until the weekend." Sometimes I even tell myself I should save some for my hard-working husband.
I generally eat all the cookies by myself, quickly. Paul, if he's lucky, might manage to scavenge a couple.
Raise your hand if you've already thought, "but wait a minutes! Those aren't black and white cookies!" What you might traditionally think of as black and white cookies are coated with split black and white fondant frosting, apparently quite a favourite in New York. These cookies, however, resemble a shortbread with a mild cocoa rum twist.
I use a couple of teaspoons of rum in the recipe. Its impact on the overall flavour isn't huge, but it does add a mellow extra something. If you don't have any though, I don't think the world will end if you leave it out.
Get creative with the dough! You've got two different colours on your hands, so twist and twirl it to your heart's content and make some cool designs! The easiest is to make two small balls of dough and press together. Other options include mixing the dough together a bit so you get a swirled effect. You can also roll the dough into thin snakes for spiral effects.
German cookies tend to use far less sugar than American and British counterparts. This of course means they are less sweet, but it doesn't mean they're less good! Besides, it means it's more acceptable that I eat virtually the entire batch by myself.
Vintage German Black and White Cookies
- Preheat the over to 180 degrees Celcius (350 Fahrenheit) and lightly grease two cookie sheets.
- In a small bowl sift together the flour, arrowroot, and baking powder.
- In a larger bowl, combine the margarine and sugar. Whisk (I use an electric beater) until creamy before adding the vanilla, rum, and 2 tbsp of soy milk.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until all ingredients are incorportaed into a semi-firm dough. Split this dough in half and add the cocoa and the extra tablespoons of sugar and soy milk to one half. Mix until all of the cocoa is combined into the dough.
- If you want to make spiral swirls, roll a small piece of each colour dough into a thin snake (you may need some extra flour on your surface). Pinch the ends of the two snakes together and roll into a spiral, stopping when the cookie is an inch and a half (or thereabouts) wide. Cut the rest of the dough away and smooth the edges against the spiral. Place the cookies on the tray about two inches apart.
- Bake for 15 minutes before removing and cooling on a rack.