Flower and Sugar

Half-Moons: Chocolate vs Vanilla

After his family, I think this cookie is one of the things Matt misses the most about his hometown – Boston. But now I can make them for him whenever he wants… within reason. They have black and whites (another name for half-moons) in a couple coffee shops in Madison, but they always use a glaze style frosting. Mike’s Pastry in Boston uses more of a buttercream, which is what Matt remembers. So to say thank you to Matt for editing a lot of grammar for me recently, I tried to make one of his favorite cookies: the half moon.

Additionally, I have a super neat baking book that I love and have wanted to try more recipes from, so I used their base for the cookie. The cookie recipe is mostly from Baked Explorations, but then I used a buttercream frosting instead of the glaze. To mix it up a little, we set it up as a taste test, chocolate cookie vs vanilla. For Matt and me, the traditional vanilla won.

Some notes: I didn’t have buttermilk on hand and didn’t want to purchase it just for the cookies since I rarely use it all unless I have 2-3 recipes lined up that use it. I tried to substitute 2 tsp lemon juice for the acid with ¾ cup skim milk (since that’s what we drink and had on hand) and I think that worked out well. Also, since these cookies are more of a cake consistency, the batter is like a thick cake batter instead of traditional cookie dough.

These are the naked cookies

These are the final fluffy deliciousness

Recipe (adapted from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)

Yielded 19 cookies for this batch

For the cookie:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 14 Tbsp butter softened
  • 1 ¼ sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ Tbsp cocoa powder

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, then add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Let the mixer run for several minutes. Scape down the bowl as needed. Sift together the dry ingredients except the cocoa powder. Mix the milk and lemon juice and let sit for several minutes. Alternate adding dry and wet starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix in vanilla. Scoop the cookies with a large scoop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Once you have scooped about ½ the dough add the cocoa powder and mix again until incorporated. Bake for 17-18 minutes rotating the baking sheets in the middle of baking. Let the cookies completely cool before icing.

For the icing:

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp warmed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

Mix everything but the chocolate in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring every 10 seconds until melted. Let the chocolate sit a little so it is not too hot when it is added to the frosting. Remove about ½ vanilla frosting and add the chocolate to the remaining frosting. Mix that together until incorporated. Use an offset spatula to spread ½ vanilla and ½ chocolate frosting on each cookie. Once the frosting had set, we wrapped each cookie up separate in plastic wrap so they could be stored and shared.

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