Ina Garten Amps Up The Flavor Of Black And White Cookies With Instant Coffee

Having devoted her life to bringing delicious yet attainable recipes to home cooks, Ina Garten is the queen of cooking wisdom. Garten has spent over 20 years teaching tips and tricks to home cooks via her TV show Barefoot Contessa and various cookbooks. In her 12th cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, Garten hones in on recipes that bring back the comforts of home. In the cookbook, she includes the recipe for one of her, "all-time favorite treats," the black and white cookie. Alhough the cookie is a New York Jewish deli staple, it can be easily replicated at home, no matter where you live. 

For those who have never experienced these treats, it's important to note they are not cookies. The cake-like "cookie" is split down the middle, half covered in white vanilla icing and half in chocolate frosting. Unlike other black-and-white cookie recipes, Garten's is unique in that she insists on adding a half teaspoon of Nescafé coffee granules to the melted butter and chopped chocolate frosting mixture. The small amount of coffee granules helps elevate the chocolate flavor and adds complexity to the glaze.

Espresso powder balances chocolate's flavor

Ina Garten's espresso chocolate hack works great in her black and white cookies and she's quite familiar with the combination. Garten has shared advice on substituting instant espresso in recipes like her famous Beatty's chocolate cake before. In this recipe, it may seem like such a minuscule amount but the tiny addition of espresso powder is a game changer for the chocolate frosting. The espresso granules add depth and richness to the chocolate and heighten the contrast with the vanilla icing.

If you are worried that adding espresso powder will make your chocolate taste like a mocha, think again. Chocolate on its own can be too bitter for some people's tastes and the espresso helps to tone that bitterness down without leaving behind any coffee flavor or scent. That is, of course, as long as you use it in the right proportions. Baking is a precise science, after all. No matter where your baking experiments take you, follow Garten's advice and make espresso powder a permanent addition to your baking basket.