Cook the Book: Black and White Russian Cookies

Cook the Book: Black and White Russian Cookies

[Photo: Caroline Russock]

I figured it would be wise to start out our week of boozy baking with a drink that naturally lends itself to dessert. The White Russian is embraced by teetotalers and stoney dudes like Jeff Daniels. It's sweet and easy to drink and packs a remarkably potent punch. Vodka is mixed with a coffee liqueur, and finished with half and half or even better, heavy cream to make for a cocktail that tastes more or less like a grown-up milkshake. It's a drink rarely ordered with a straight face but has to be one of the greatest sippable guilty pleasures around.

Lucy Baker has adapted The Dude's go-to drink into another guilty pleasure, the black and white cookie, in her newly released cookbook, The Boozy Baker. The coffee flavor goes into the cake-like cookies in the form of powdered espresso and again in it's boozy liquid form (Kahlúa or any other coffee flavored liqueur), and then again in the black and tan frosting.

The frosting doesn't have that distinct black and white contrast of a traditional black and white due to those few tablespoons of Kahlúa, but the end result tastes almost like a cafe mocha—coffee, chocolate, and just the right amount of dairy richness. And I have to give Lucy credit for coming up with a batter that finds the perfect balance of cookie and cake texture, which is really the key to the ideal black and white. And the kicked-up frosting would make The Big Lebowski proud.

  • Yield:12 large cookies


  • For the cookies:
  • 11/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • For the icing:
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. 2.

    In a medium bowl sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.

  3. 3.

    In a large bowl, beat butter and the sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.

  4. 4.

    Combine the buttermilk and the coffee liqueur in a liquid measuring cup. Gradually add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat just to incorporate after each addition, and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

  5. 5.

    Drop six large (about 1/3 cup) spoonfuls of batter onto each baking sheet, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the tops of the cookies are puffy and the tops spring back when pressed lightly. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.

  6. 6.

    To make the icing, combine the confectioners sugar, corn syrup, 1 tablespoon of water and coffee liqueur in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon half of mixture into smaller bowl and stir in the cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of water.

  7. 7.

    Spread half of the flat "bottom" side of each cookie with the coffee icing and half with the cocoa frosting.