What’s Black & White & Striped All Over?

I’m done with my finals! And all of my student teaching. It was incredibly sad yesterday to say goodbye to all my five-year old students. I was choking back tears all day as they made me the most lovely and thoughtful gifts, and gave me hugs and asked why I have to leave them – Next semester I’ll be student teaching in a third grade class at a different school, which they don’t understand. One child said to me “But we have third grade here!” and another sweet girl told me with a completely straight face that I must be so smart because they’re sending me to third grade straight after Kindergarten. That was pretty classic and sort of made my heart melt.

I was sad to leave my students, but I’m excited about having a little time off right now! I’m going to spend it mostly outside, taking hikes and bike rides, going to yoga, sleeping, having fun with friends, and of course baking. And, of course, updating my blog! Now I will have time to post recipes for all the cookies I’ve been baking!

These cookies take some preparation time, so be aware of what you’re getting into when you begin! It’s not much labor but a lot of freezing/hardening time in between each step. They are worth the effort though, because they look very fancy, and are incredibly tasty. I’ve seen variations of them in many holiday cookie books. In fact, my mother likes to make a checkerboard version that is ultimately exactly the same, just a different way to roll and slice the cookies. The Almond Dough is easy to adapt to your favorite flavor; you can take out the almond extract and add extra vanilla instead to have a very traditional cookie. One of my mother’s popular choices was to add orange rind into the dough to make a chocolate-orange combo, and I’m sure adding mint extract would be delightful. No matter what flavors you use, or shapes you create, these are perfect gift-giving cookies, since they are easy to stack and wrap, and they keep pretty well when in a covered container or wrapped tightly in plastic.

Almond Dough Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer, blended with 2 Tblsp. warm water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 Tblsp. ice water

Chocolate Dough Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4  cup Earth Balance, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer, blended with 2 Tblsp. warm water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tblsp. ice water

To prepare the Almond Dough, lightly spoon 1 1/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup Earth Balance, and blended Egg Replacer in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Gradually add flour to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons ice water over surface of dough; beat just until moist. (Dough will be slightly crumbly.) Press dough into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover and chill 1 hour or until firm.

To prepare the Chocolate Dough, lightly spoon 1 cup flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 3/4 cup flour and cocoa, stirring well with a whisk. Place 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup Earth Balance, and Egg Replacer in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add cocoa mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons ice water over surface of dough; beat just until moist. Press dough into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover and chill 1 hour or until firm.

Prepare a piece of parchment paper over your rolling surface. Unwrap and place chilled Almond Dough on the paper. Cover dough with and additional sheet of parchment paper. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can easily be removed. Remove top sheets of parchment paper.

Prepare another piece of parchment paper over your rolling surface. Unwrap and place chilled Chocolate Dough on the paper. Cover dough with an additional sheet of parchment. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until paper can easily be removed. Remove top sheets of parchment paper.

Place Almond Dough on top of Chocolate Dough, paper side up. Remove paper from Almond Dough; turn dough over onto a lightly floured surface. Remove plastic wrap from Chocolate Dough. (***To make Spirals, see directions below. If you want to make Stripes, continue reading here***). Cut dough stack in half crosswise to form 2 (8 x 6-inch) rectangles. Stack one rectangle on top of the other, alternating Almond and Chocolate Doughs; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze 10 minutes or until firm and plastic wrap can easily be removed.

Cut the dough crosswise into 6 (6 x 1 1/3-inch) strips. Stack 2 strips on top of each other to form a stack, alternating Almond and Chocolate to form a striped pattern; wrap in plastic wrap, pressing gently. Repeat procedure with remaining 4 strips to form 2 stacks (there will be 3 stacks total). Chill 30 minutes or until very firm.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Working with 1 stack at a time, unwrap dough. Carefully slice each stack into 12 slices. Place dough slices 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

***If you want to make Spirals:
Roll your double-layer of dough in a tight spiral shape, starting from the long (12-inch) side. When you have rolled your dough, press down lightly on the edge so that it sticks. Cut your log in half, and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes or until very firm. Preheat oven to 375° and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice your logs in 1/4-inch slices, and place each slice 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Photos, Original Recipes & Text ©cookiesandcandids 2008-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. If you repost any material from this blog, please give credit by including a link back to me. Thank you!