Happy New Year!

For those that are confused, today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.

While flipping through the South Florida Sun Sentinellast week, these Yin-Yang cookies caught my eye. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang represent the two primal cosmic forces in the universe… plus its pretty! I decided not to use recipe in the paper, but used the one from my checkerboard cookies from this past Christmas. Its actually much easier than the checkerboard cookies and takes less time. The result is really cool!
ying_yeng_cookie_01.jpgying_yeng_cookie_02.jpg
ying_yeng_cookie_03.jpg
Yin-Yang Cookie Recipe

1 batch French vanilla sables (see below)
1 batch dark chocolate sables (see below)
1 egg white, beaten with a few drops of water

1. Divide the French vanilla sables dough into 4 logs, about 1 inch in diameter, and reserve about a golfball sized piece of each dough to make the dots. I find it easier to roll it inside of plastic wrap, as the dough is quite sticky and soft. If its extremely soft, chill for an hour or so then continue shaping into logs. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours, or up to several days. Repeat with the dark chocolate sables dough.

2. When you are ready to form the cookies, remove one log of vanilla dough from the refrigerator but do not unwrap it from the plastic wrap. Roll the dough on your counter to make a very round and smooth log, again about 1 inch in diameter. You might need to let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften if its too firm. Once you can work with the dough a little, press with your thumb along one long side of the log to make a comma shape. Refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours. Repeat with the remainder of the vanilla and chocolate doughs.

3. Take out one log of vanilla and one of chocolate, unwrap and place on a lightly floured surface. Place the vanilla log with the round side down, and brush lightly with the beaten egg white. Invert the chocolate dough on top of the white dough, creating the yin-yang design. Roll a few times on the counter to make sure they adhere and the log is nice and round. Again, you might have to let it sit a little at room temperature to make it easier to roll. Repeat with the remaining logs.

4. When you are ready to bake the cookies, set the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Slice the cookies ¼ inch thick, turning the log often so it doesn’t become squashed from the weight of the knife.

5. Arrange the cookies on parchment covered sheet pans, about an inch apart. Take a tiny bit of the reserved vanilla dough, about the size of a small pea or lentil, and roll it into a ball. Gently press it into the chocolate side of the yin-yang. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies, and then do the same with the chocolate dough.

6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until they have puffed a little bit and become dull and feel firm to the touch. Slide the papers from the pans onto racks. After the cookies cool, store between sheets of parchment paper in a container with a tight fitting cover.

Note: You can also use white and dark chocolate chips for the dots on the cookies. I would have used them, but I ran out of white chocoalate chips.

French Vanilla Sables

12 tbsp (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 c all purpose flour

1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well mixed, light colored and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and egg yolk. Continue beating until very smooth, about 2 more minutes. Scrape the bowl and beater well, and beat in the flour.

2. Scrape the dough from the mixer bowl onto a lightly floured surface and continue as above.

Dark Chocolate Sables Recipe

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/3 c alkalized cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
8 tbsp (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

1. In the bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, and stir well to incorporate. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until well mixed and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Then beat in the vanilla and egg. Continue beating until the mixture is very smooth, about 2 minutes longer.

2. Scrape the dough from the mixer bowl onto a lightly floured surface and continue as above.