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.