These yin yang cookies were on my mind for a long time before I finally figured out how I wanted to make them. My first instinct was to ice them black and white with royal icing. Ultimately though, I felt that they should be simple and uncomplicated, so I decided to forgo my signature royal icing decorations and let the dough itself do the decorating.
In true yin yang fashion I’ve used opposite colored and flavored doughs in this case to create the design. You can find the recipe for my sugar dough here or in my book. Below you'll find the chocolate cookie recipe, also from my book.
3 cups (390 grams) unbleached all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoons (338 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (57 grams) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bow and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and mix on medium speed for 60 seconds. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition until thoroughly incorporated.
Gradually add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Divide the dough into two equal parts, flatten into discs, and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll out.
Supplies you will need:
* Yin Yang Stencils: See templates in Step 3.
* 2"circle cookie cutter
* Toothpick or skewer
* Tool to punch holes in each half of the cookie. I used #12 pastry tip but you can also use a small piece of a drinking straw.
Step 1: Roll out the vanilla and chocolate sugar cookie doughs to approximately 1/4 inch thickness or slightly less.
Step 2: Cut out equal number of 2” circles from each dough.
Step 3: Divide each cookie into two sections. There are two ways to do this. You can either use a homemade cookie cutter (like I did) or use a stencil. I have included templates for both options here.
If you are using the yin yang stencil, place one half of the design on the cookie and cut along the curve with a small knife. Repeat the process with all the vanilla and chocolate circles.
Note: It's easier to do this if the cookies are firm, so refrigerate or freeze them before you cut.
If you are using the homemade cookie cutter method, cut the cookies using the curvy side of the cutter, right through the center of the circle so that you get two equal halves of the design. Here is a link to a video I made about how to make your own cutters.
Note: You can find metal strips for making cutters online or try repurposing an old 3" circle cutter by cutting it open with a heavy scissor or a metal clippers and bending with needle nose pliers to the desired shape.
Step 4: Assemble the cookie parts to create the yin yang design (half vanilla, half chocolate) and gently press them together being careful to maintain the circular shape. If the dough seems a little soft when you're trying to push the two halves together, refrigerate until firm, around 15 minutes so they will be easier to handle.
Step 5: Use a #12 round piping tip or a straw (cut to approximately 2" long) to punch out the small circles in each half of the design. Gently remove the round dots of dough from the pastry tip or straw by using the end of a skewer or chopstick. Save these dots of dough to insert them back into the opposite sides of the design.
Step 6: Insert the tiny chocolate dots into the round holes created in the vanilla halves, and vice versa.
Note: To pick up each tiny dot without ruining its shape, use a skewer or toothpick and poke the circle from the side to lift it.
Use your finger to gently press the dot into the hole.
Step 7: Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the vanilla half of the cookie is just golden brown on the edges. Let them rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
That's it! The cookies keep in an airtight container for a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
The yin and yang are opposite forces, yet they exist together in the harmony of a perfect cookie!