Recipe: Yin Yang Cookies

Yin Yang Cookies cooling on a rack.

Although my sister Leslie (Toronto Branch) and I (New York City Branch) are both members of the Society in our respective countries, this cookie recipe and technique were actually devised by our sister Carrie for our TTCS graduations and other celebrations. It was Carrie’s husband John who came up with the chocolate-chip technique to produce the reverse-dot detail. So far we haven’t been able to figure out how to get the “®” registered trademark symbol on each cookie, but we haven’t given up. These cookies are a welcome treat at both of our branches, and they are fun to make in large quantities as a group branch activity. Several years ago the recipe was even featured in an Associated Press article on things you can make for Chinese New Year.

Yin Yang Cookies

Note that throughout the recipe if you work the vanilla dough before the chocolate dough you’ll have a cleaner vanilla portion of the cookie and less hand- and dish washing to do.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/3 cup natural cocoa (i.e., not “Dutch processed”)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

About 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

About 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

To prepare the chocolate dough, in a large mixing bowl, combine half the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and add it gradually to the butter and sugar mixture.

To prepare the vanilla dough, in another large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and add it gradually to the butter and sugar mixture.

Cover both doughs with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm enough to shape. Divide each dough in half. Shape each half of the chocolate dough into a log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 8 to 9 inches long. Rolling it in a piece of wax paper on the counter will help make it smooth. Using your thumbs, make an indentation along one long side of the log to create an apostrophe shape. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while you work the vanilla dough. Wash your hands and dry well. Repeat the shaping technique with the vanilla dough, rolling each half into a log, and then shaping it into a three-dimensional apostrophe. Invert one of the vanilla “apostrophes” onto one of the chocolate ones to make an interlocking yin-yang log and pinch and smooth out the seam to ensure a good seal. Roll a few times on the counter to assure they adhere. Repeat with the remaining logs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least three hours and up to overnight. The dough can also be frozen at this point.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the cookie dough into 1/4-inch-thick disks and place on the prepared pans. Leave at least 1 1/2 inches between the cookies to accommodate spreading. Invert one white chocolate chip in the center of the bulbous end of the chocolate half of each cookie and a chocolate chip in the vanilla half. The flat bottom of the chips should be facing up. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies have spread and puffed and you can begin to see evidence of browning around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cook for 5 to 10 minute son the pans. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or freeze for up to three months.

Mitchell Davis



Filed under Cultural Exchange, Society News

9 responses to “Recipe: Yin Yang Cookies

  1. Annie Woolston

    Brilliant! I’m going to try these one day as a treat for our classes in the Highlands of Scotland. I had already been thinking of making something similar, maybe a cake, but now you have a tried and tested method will give the cookies a go.

    I’ll let you know how we get on.

    Watch this space!

  2. Lesley

    Hi All

    For a banquet at the Victoria British Columbia branch I once made yin yang flans. Its not hard as long as your crusts are truly circular.
    If I remember correctly I used blackberries and raspberries for the fruits in the traditional yin yang design. Beginning with the “S” shape and filling it in
    from the points inward. Finishing them with a apricot glaze for a shiny finish. Of course you can use any fruits you choose but fresh, firm and in season makes the most sense.


  3. Matt Winslow


    I made these for some non tai-chi friends recently; who loved their taste and were fascinated as to how they were made. My tips are:

    If you use unrefined/ organic sugar – the white part of the cookie will be cream in colour, rather than white as shown in the picture above.

    Make sure you space the raw cookies apart at least 1.5-2 inches apart. They might not look like they will spread that far in the oven, for such a short space of cooking time, but they will; and if you are not careful they will merge into one!

    Don’t cut the raw cookies into thick discs – they are still soft in the middle and won’t be as nice when they cool down.

    Have patience – it does take 5 hours to make them; spread over two days; but when they turn out it is worth it.

    Oh – and I am a cookie novice; never made any before so although the instructions might appear ough – have a go!

    Matt Winslow

  4. Janice Skeldon

    I need a bit of clarification regarding the ingredients. Do I divide the butter, flour, etc listed above in half to make each colour of dough or do I double the amounts and use the above listed amounts for each colour of dough? If anyone could shed some light for me that would be much appreciated, I want to make these for our club Christmas Potluck here in Red Deer, Alberta. Thanks so much!

  5. Janice Skeldon

    Thank you very much!!!

  6. Diane Shepherd

    I finally had the opportunity to make these, and they turned out great! It will take a few more tries before I get the yin/yang divided evenly, and have all round cookies, but they were a hit with North Carolina members!

  7. Pingback: Craning for a View » Blog Archive » Feel that Balance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s