Who doesn’t like chocolate and vanilla cookies? Shortbread dough with a pleasant buttery aroma and taste will captivate the heart of everyone
TV, neighbors, and chocolate and vanilla cookies
Everything (including these two tone cookies) started with the TV… or rather, with the fact that my grandparents had it and their neighbors didn’t…
It was the end of the distant 60s in the Soviet Union… at that time it was impossible to find normal salami and shortbread biscuits in the shops, let alone such an innovative black-and-white miracle of technology as a TV!
Now the TVs are ultra flat, but then they occupied a whole corner in the room and resembled wooden furniture on high legs.
Even in the 80s (when I was a child), the design of Soviet TVs didn’t change much – ours looked like a large wooden lacquered box on four tall metal legs in the style of American kitchen tables of the 50s. These legs (it seemed) wanted to run away each in its own direction (they always reminded me of the paws of a huge outlandish spider). Of course, there was no remote control for such a TV. In our house, I worked as a remote control… ha-ha… In my hands, the round channel switch turned confidently and deftly, like the steering wheel of an experienced ship captain!
Often the TV liked to break…
… or the antenna lost contact with the TV tower and instead of TV channels (we had as many as four of them!) the thick screen of our TV, at best, showed a lot of black, gray and white dots, which, like a huge flock of flies, were flying inside the TV and making noise all over the room. In the worst case, the screen showed nothing.
But such a problem didn’t upset anyone in our house, because my grandpa had two effective methods of repairing the TV:
- The first method – you had to confidently (but not too strong) hit the top of the TV and it often worked! Whether from fear, or some kind of physical reaction, the screen started showing black–and – white programs and movies again.
- If the first method did not work, grandpa picked up a soldering iron, opened the back wall of the TV, took out the board and the magic started. The board always reminded me of space with constellations from some other universe, and I still remember the smell of pine needles from a soldering iron, I liked it so much… This method has always worked.
But let’s go back to the Soviet 60s …
The times, I tell you, were not the best and far from the easiest in all plans. I am always grateful to fate, for the fact that my children don’t know what a deficit is, they don’t even know this word… And in the Soviet 60s (and not only) there were kilometer-long queues for meat and butter. The latter was then spread on bread or shortbread cookies and it was a dessert for the biggest gourmets… Bananas, tangerines and pineapples were generally equivalent to aliens…
But people knew how to cook a whole feast out of nothing and the neighbors lived together as one family. There was no time to be bored – from the very morning parents had to take their children to school or kindergarten, hurry to work, build a socialist future, there was much work at home too: a washing machine was a rarity, no modern vacuum cleaners and kitchen gadgets… don’t forget, it was the Soviet Union of the 60s, not America… and despite this, all people somehow knew how to have fun and have a good time.
Aunt Halyna’s chocolate and vanilla cookies
When my grandparents got a TV at home, their apartment was traditionally turned into a kind of home cinema every Saturday and Sunday. It was a whole ceremony! Neighbors with whole families came to watch programs and movies. My mom still remembers those fun evenings with enthusiasm. Grandma cooked dinner for everyone, and the neighbors brought something sweet to accompany a cup of tea – usually, they brought homemade Ukrainian crepes with cottage cheese, meat grinder cookies, sour cherry bars, honey cake Medivnyk or apple sharlotka.
But then, one day a neighbor Aunt Halyna brought new chocolate and vanilla cookies. The unusual shape and the magnificent chocolate-vanilla taste were so liked by the viewers of my grandparents’ TV that Aunt Halyna’s two tone cookies became her hallmark. And since then, according to an unwritten tradition, those shortbread biscuits were always in front of our TV on Saturday evening.
Special chocolate and vanilla cookies from childhood
These two tone cookies are special not only for their delicate butter – vanilla taste, but also for two types of shortbread pastry that perfectly balance each other and give uniqueness to this sweet.
For so many years, we have changed a lot of TVs, some neighbors have moved to live in other houses and even cities, but there are still photos as a keepsake and an unforgettable taste of chocolate and vanilla cookies..
Change these shortbread biscuits to your liking
- These two tone cookies can be adapted to your own taste and preferences. We traditionally wrap white vanilla shortbread pastry in the chocolate one – it turns out a roll with a white middle. You can swap the colors. The taste will not change from this, but the biscuits will get a new look.
- Do you want to change the color? It’s easy to transform white shortbread pastry in any color with food dyes (I am not a supporter of chemical colors, but sometimes I allow myself such a whim for aesthetic pleasure).
- Add 1tsp ground cinnamon to the chocolate dough – it will be so interesting!
- Lemon or orange zest, ginger, cloves will bring shortbread biscuits from childhood to a new taste level.
You should adhere to only one rule in this recipe – never replace butter with margarine. These shortbread biscuits are butter – based. There are no compromises here. Aunt Halyna added margarine instead of butter, but she had a very “serious” reason for that – precious Soviet butter was kept only for special occasions… Now, fortunately, butter is not a terrible luxury, it will enrich the cookies with a fabulous taste and aroma. Don’t deprive yourself of such pleasure!
Ingredients for the two toned cookies:
If you are a happy digital kitchen scale owner, I highly recommend using it instead of cups and spoons. Especially when it comes to baking recipes. A scale gives you far more accurate results than volume measurements (everyone scoops ingredients differently). Trust me, using a kitchen scale to measure ingredients will take your baking to a new level.
Sugar. Simple granulated sugar is perfect here. But you can substitute it with brown sugar if you like it more.
Butter. It should be at room temperature.
Vanilla. You can substitute it with grated lemon or orange zest, ground cinnamon and ginger for a new “less classic” taste.
Flour. Use simple all – purpose flour.
Chocolate vanilla cookies step – by – step recipe
Cream together the butter and sugar until they are well combined
Add eggs, flour (start with 3 cups, and then gradually add the rest), baking powder and vanilla
Mix until the dough starts to come together (you can use a mixer or your hands)
Divide the finished dough into 2 identical parts, add cocoa powder to one and mix again so that the dough acquires a uniform color (if necessary, add a little more flour)
Wrap both types of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour
Then roll out the brown dough into a rectangular layer measuring 28cm/11” x 22cm/9”
Place white dough on it (in the middle), in the form of a sausage (28 cm/11” long)
Wrap the white dough in brown (first one side, and then the other)
Fasten the “seam” well
Press the roll with a rolling pin to give it a flattened rectangular shape (ideally, a roll of 32cm/13” x 10cm/4” should turn out)
Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for 2 hours
Then cut the roll into slices 1cm (1/2″) thick
Place the slices on a baking sheet (when baking, the cookies grow, so leave space between the slices)
Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and bake the cookies for 15 minutes (they will be soft when hot, but once cooled down the pastry will harden)
Chocolate and vanilla cookies (two tone shortbread biscuits)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 ¼ cups + 2 tbsp (300g) butter at room temperature
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 3 ½ -4 cups flour
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- Cream together the butter and sugar until they are well combined
- Add eggs, flour (start with 3 cups, and then gradually add the rest), baking powder and vanilla
- Mix until the dough starts to come together (you can use a mixer or your hands)
- Divide the finished dough into 2 identical parts, add cocoa powder to one and mix again so that the dough acquires a uniform color (if necessary, add a little more flour)
- Wrap both types of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour
- Then roll out the brown dough into a rectangular layer measuring 28cm/11” x 22cm/9”
- Place white dough on it (in the middle), in the form of a sausage (28 cm/11” long)
- Wrap the white dough in brown (first one side, and then the other)
- Fasten the “seam” well
- Press the roll with a rolling pin to give it a flattened rectangular shape (ideally, a roll of 32cm/13” x 10cm/4” should turn out)
- Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for 2 hours
- Then cut the roll into slices 1cm (1/2″) thick
- Place the slices on a baking sheet (when baking, the cookies grow, so leave space between the slices)
- Heat the oven to 350F (180C) and bake the cookies for 15 minutes (they will be soft when hot, but once cooled down the pastry will harden)