A light, healthy meal featuring salmon leaves more room for cookies! Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

On a recent wintry gray day, I decided to make my home state’s beloved Black and White Cookies. For those who don’t know, these treats are to New York what the Whoopie Pie is to Maine. Although I do purchase a supermarket Black and White when I can find them, I do prefer to take the time to pull out all the stops and make them myself.

Just like Mainers do with Whoopie Pies, you can make these cookies gigantic if you want to (just adjust the baking time), but I make medium-sized ones so there are more of them. These soft, cake-like cookies are well-received by grandchildren and other drop-in visitors and freeze well between layers of waxed paper in an air-tight container.

Because I sometimes don’t have as much energy as I used to, when I’m in the throes of these more labor-intensive baking projects, I often plan something quick and easy for the evening meal.

By preparing the glaze for the salmon and tossing together the fruit salad – a concoction that gets its fizziness from the lively combo of fresh lime and ginger – before I begin the baking, I only have a few steps left to get dinner on the table at the end of the day. I add a handful of leafy greens and enjoy a lovely light dinner that leads me to believe I can afford to have yet another cookie and a glass of milk for that all-important bedtime snack. Yes, life is good here at the cove!

Maple-glazed Salmon

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, cut into 4 portions 
1/4 cup maple syrup 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 garlic clove, minced 
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place salmon, skin side down, on paper and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, stir syrup, vinegar and garlic with a whisk. Brush half the glaze over salmon. Bake 10 minutes and brush with remaining glaze. Bake 5 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 4 servings

Fizzy Salad

2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon each fresh lime juice and zest 

In large bowl, combine pineapple, seeds, sugar, lime juice and ginger. Sprinkle with zest. Yield: 4 servings

Black and White Cookies

1 3/4 cups sugar 
1 cup butter, at room temperature 
4 large eggs, at room temperature 
1 1/2 cups milk 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract 
2 1/2 cups cake flour 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt

Icing 
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3-1/2 cup water
3 ounces bitter unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add milk and vanilla. Combine until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a cookie scoop 1 3/4 inches in diameter, place spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheets and bake until edges begin to brown, for 18-20 minutes. Cool completely.

Boil a cup or so of water in a small pot. Place confectioners’ sugar in large, heat-safe mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick, spreadable mixture. Be sure the icing is thick enough to spread. Leave remaining boiling water on the stove.

Spread the white icing on half of the flat side of each cookie. Place the bowl of the remaining frosting over the hot water (creating a double-boiler) and bring it back to a simmer. Stir in the chocolate until melted and add the corn syrup. Stir in cocoa if you want to make the chocolate darker.

Ice the remaining half of the cookies with the chocolate frosting. Whisk in an extra teaspoon of hot water if the frosting gets too dry.

Allow the frosting to set then store in an airtight container. Yield: 60 medium cookies

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