Chocolate-Topped Vanilla Cookies

Chocolate-Topped Vanilla Cookies

These cookies, a dramatic collaboration of chocolate and vanilla, spring from rich chocolate frosting swirls piped onto vanilla cookies.–Lisa Yockelson

LC Uh, What If I Don't Have A Pastry Bag? Note

Chances are those of you who, like us, lack a pastry bag get a little intimidated by recipes that say stuff like, “Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a star tip (Ateco #4F [a 4-pointed star]; Wilton 1M [No. 2110, a large 6-pointed star]; or Wilton No. 17, No. 18, No. 19, or No. 20, depending on the size of the frosting rosette desired).” Yeah. We know the feeling. Instead, just whip out a large resealable plastic bag, cram it full of frosting, and then snip off one of the lower corners. No, you won’t get that special swirled star effect, but you will get the exact same flavor. And for many of us, that’s all that matters.

Chocolate-Topped Vanilla Cookies

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 3 H, 15 M
  • Makes about 4 dozen cookies
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the cookies
  • 4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plain vegetable oil (such as canola)
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the frosting
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, or more as needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk, heated to tepid
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


  • Make the cookies
  • 1. Sift the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
  • 2. Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes. With the mixer on moderately high speed, beat in the oil in a thin, steady stream. The mixture will be soupy.
  • 3. Add the superfine sugar and beat for 2 minutes on moderate speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat for 2 minutes longer. On moderate speed, blend in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. The mixture will look lightly creamy.
  • 4. On low speed, blend in half of the sifted ingredients. Blend in the balance of the sifted mixture in 2 batches, beating just until the flour particles are absorbed. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently to keep the dough even-textured. The dough will be soft.
  • 5. Scrape the dough onto a baking pan lined with food-safe plastic wrap, press into a flat cake, cover, and refrigerate for about 5 hours, or until firm enough to shape without sticking to your hands. Or, freeze the dough for about 1 hour, or until firm. The dough must be cold in order to roll into balls. The dough may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in advance of baking.
  • 6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) in advance of rolling the cookies. Line several cookie sheets or rimmed sheet pans with cooking parchment paper.
  • 7. Take up heaping 2-tablespoon-size mounds of dough and roll them into balls. Place the dough balls 2 to 2 1/2 inches apart on the prepared pans. Flatten each cookie lightly with the smooth bottom of a glass.
  • 8. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 16 minutes, or until set and golden. Do not underbake, or the centers will not be sandy-textured like the outsides, but be careful about over-browning them. The cookies are sensitive to hot spots in the oven, so it would be wise to rotate the pans halfway through baking. Let the cookies stand on the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer them to cooling racks, using a wide offset metal spatula.
  • Make the frosting
  • 9. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and salt into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with the flat paddle attachment.
  • 10. Add the melted chocolate, vanilla extract, and milk. Beat the ingredients on moderately low speed for 2 minutes to begin the mixing process. Blend in the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating just until incorporated. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes on moderate speed, or until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently to keep the frosting even-textured.
  • 11. Adjust the texture of the frosting to piping consistency as needed, beating in additional milk about 2 teaspoons at a time (it is not necessary to warm the extra milk for this) or confectioners’ sugar 2 to 3 teaspoons at a time.
  • Assemble the cookies
  • 12. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a star tip (Ateco #4F [a 4-pointed star]; Wilton 1M [No. 2110, a large 6-pointed star]; or Wilton No. 17, No. 18, No. 19, or No. 20, depending on the size of the frosting rosette desired). A coupler may need to be put in place, depending on the size of the tip. I like having a big, bold rosette of chocolate frosting on top of each cookie, but you may prefer a smaller one.
  • 13. Fill the pastry bag about half full of frosting (an overfilled bag will be difficult to hold and maneuver).
  • 14. Place the cookies in a single layer on sheets of waxed paper. Pipe a rosette of frosting onto each cookie, letting the tip barely graze the top as you pipe the base. Let the frosting stand until firm, about 1 hour. Store the cookies (in single layers) in airtight tins.


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  1. I made these for the first time on New Years Eve. They are bit labor intensive, but they are sooo worth it. I halved the recipe and it made 14 large cookies. I didn’t have any unsweetened chocolate so I used a combination of 85% dark and bittersweet. The icing came out lighter in color and richness so I added some cocoa to deepen things which helped but didn’t give it that rich fudge taste I was expecting. Next time I will use unsweetened as the recipe calls for. All in all, the cookies were still delicious. The vanilla base came out delightfully sandy, not too sweet, with just the slightest hint of salt. Yum! The consistency and flavor were the perfect balance to the thick chocolate icing. Sooo good and without a drop of shortening in the recipe which I love. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to make these again.

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