half moons

The time has come for another vocabulary lesson.

This is called a half moon.

My friend Sarah’s birthday is in early September, so when we first started at Loyola she had that awkward celebrating-your-birthday-with-new-friends experience. Her mom sent down a cake and we went in the common room and had party hats and sang Happy Birthday and it was all peachy keen. Except that when she unveiled the cake all the girls were ooohing and aahing over the “black and white cake.” One of these Long Island ladies must have noticed my confusion, and I said “At home we call them half moons.”

It was like one of those movie moments where there was complete silence and everyone turned around and stared at me for a few seconds and then burst out laughing. I didn’t have enough conviction or confidence to say “Whatever, chocolate isn’t black. It’s brown.” So I just ate my cake in silence while everyone else had fun and created new friendships.*

*This is a complete exaggeration and dramatization of true events.

Today I cried all the way through this workout and, as required by the title, needed a big dessert. Stumbleupon recently introduced me to Joy the Baker, whose recipe index makes me want to simultaneously laugh, cry, and eat everything. I will forgive Joy for also referring to these as black and white cookies (is half moons another term we only use in Syracuse?!) because they were phenomenal. Kevin deemed them the best dessert I’ve ever made, which is saying something.

Joy’s recipe called for buttermilk, which I didn’t have, so I mixed about a cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and let it sit on the counter for a bit. I also only made half the recipe because I have proved to be incapable of not letting any baked good sit in my house for longer than 24 hours. These cookies were really easy to make using a hand mixer.

The consistency of the batter is similar to frosting (slightly more liquid-y), and I used my large cookie scoop to spread them out on a baking sheet. They baked at 350 for exactly 15 minutes. They’re light and fluffy and cakey. I recommend using parchment paper, which I also didn’t have, because they started to crumble a little when I was taking them off the sheet.

I have a confession. I almost used store bought frosting.

Joy used a glaze, but a) I didn’t have corn syrup and b) why glaze when you can frost? This frosting was just hanging out in the fridge looking all easy and innocent, but what good am I to you if I take lazy shortcuts? That would make me no better than Sandra Lee. So I took out my butter and my powdered sugar and got mixing.

For each, I used 1 stick of softened butter and about 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar. For the vanilla, add 1 tsp vanilla extract. For the chocolate, I added a little less than 1/4 cup cocoa powder and about a tablespoon of dark chocolate syrup. Why not?

When they were all baked and frosted I walked outside and presented them to my dad and Kevin, who were playing catch, like a 1950s housewife. We each had one and then Kevin said  he wished he could have another. In a wave of generosity and selflessness I offered to split one with him. He said “I call the chocolate half!” Oh, youth. I quickly instructed him that the proper way to split a half moon is to cut it the other way so that each person gets a litle vanilla and a little chocolate lovin’.

Overall a huge success.

Wanna hear a secret? (It’s not really a secret, since my mom is one of the three subscribers to this blog.) I put the leftover frosting in those store bought containers in the fridge. As a reminder that making your own frosting is just as easy as going to the store for it. Yum.

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