Halloween 2008 was one of the best Halloweens I’ve ever had (barring those magical pre-teen Halloween evenings in late 80s Virginia, spent gorging myself on candy corn and fun-size candy bars).

S, our roomie K and I threw the most epic, till-7-in-the-morning party at our Brooklyn apartment and I feel that such an event will not likely ever be topped. Everyone showed up in costume and laden with bottles. The music was bumpin, creepy decorations hung and Freaks was on a silent loop in the background.There were Hitchcockian references, chubby Asian superheros, Little Mermaid sushi and Zack & Lisa during that one beautiful summer. Yes, that was a magical evening.

So far, my SF Halloweens have been decidedly lower-key, but still super fun! This year, I thought I’d bring a little hint of NYC to my SF Halloween shindig by attempting to make the holy grail of NY sweet treats…

The Black & White cookie.

Started out by creaming 1 3/4 cups sugar with 1 cup unsalted butter.

Added eggs, milk, vanilla and (say what?!) lemon extract.

In a separate bowl, I combined cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder & salt. Then just added the dry ingredients to the wet and got to mixin’!

Spooned my lemony cookie batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets, taking care to space them well (at least 2-inches apart) because those little buggers spread.

And into the oven they went – 375F for about 17-18 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. My oven runs hot and my baking sheets are dark, so I usually have to cut my baking time down a notch. The recipe I followed says to bake for 18-20 minutes. So you’ll have to use a little discretion.

Took them out of the oven and let them cool completely on a rack while I made the icing.

Put my confectioners’ sugar in a heatproof bowl and slowly stirred in enough boiling water to make a thick, spreadable paste. I probably used between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of water rather than the full cup the recipe suggests. So do a little trial and error and see what works for you!

Iced one half of the flat side of each cooled cookie with my trusty silicone spatula. They were looking so cute!

Then it was time to tackle the dark side of this most harmonious of cookies.

Placed the bowl containing the remainder of the icing over a double boiler situation. Stirred in 3  ounces of unsweetened chocolate and a bit of corn syrup until it was all melted into a smooth, inviting mass of dark chocolate bliss. I wanted a little more color to my Black, so I added a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder and it worked like a charm!

Iced the bare half of my cookies and bam… homemade Black & Whites!

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
3 ounces very bitter or unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon light corn syrup.
1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (optional) – I’d say it’s necessary