On Eid ul Fitr I saw some great ideas for celebrating Eid, beautiful decorations and treats to share with family and friends. It really inspired me to do something special for this Eid. There was an Eid Party being planned at our mosque and I decided to make some goodies to share with everyone.
While thinking about what I associate with Eid al Adha, the only images that kept flashing in my mind were of hajj. Because our sacrifice is taken care of by an organization, hajj is now the only thing that I associate with this Eid. Memories of the black of the Kaaba contrasting with the white of the men’s ihrams kept playing in front of my eyes.
In the summer when my mother was visiting, we saw a show on the Black and White Cookie, and I had been craving it since then! So, I thought this is a great time to bring the two of them together- celebrate hajj and Eid with Black and White Cookies.
Interestingly, there was a reference made to the Black and White Cookie in the sitcom ‘Seinfeld,’ where he used the cookie as a metaphor for racial harmony. It was just for laughs, but ironically the idea is more relevant today than when it was aired almost 20 years ago.
Everyone has their own favorite side of the cookie, chocolate or vanilla, but whatever it may be, people love the combination of the two and how the two flavors come together in one cookie. Sadly, we are not so accepting of people who are different from us. It is not as easy for people of different backgrounds to co exist in harmony in this world.
As all my thoughts came together, I decided that a black and white theme would be fitting and appropriate in context of the celebration and of the world that we are living in today. In keeping with the theme, I also decided to make chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
In light of world events unfolding today, it is a a lot to ask of people to be tolerant towards Islam. People generally like being around people who look like them and think like them. But today we are thrown into a global culture with people moving from one corner of the world to the other in search of a better life. Your next door neighbor might belong to a culture you don’t know the first thing about.
However, being a hijabite and an immigrant from Pakistan living in the US for the past 6 years, I would have to say that I have not yet experienced any racial bias or hatred, and I have lived in many, many cities of all shapes and sizes. Except one lady behind the Estee Lauder makeup counter at Belk in Jackson, MS. She avoided helping me as much as she possibly could. But it was also in Jackson that I had conversations with people in the parking lots of grocery stores about random things just because… well… just because. Just because it’s the south and people will strike up a conversation with you even if you don’t know them. No one is ever in a hurry to get anywhere. 🙂
It seems that just saying that Islam is a peaceful religion is not making the kind of impression that one would want! In order to counter the negative mark made on world opinion about Islam, we need to go out of our way to make people believe otherwise.
I don’t think it’s enough to stay inside our comfort zones, with limited contact with non Muslims. I think we really need to aggressively reach out to them and conduct ourselves in a manner that forces them to change their opinion about Islam and Muslims.
So, I was very happy when my daughter’s teacher asked me about Eid and if I would come and talk to the class about how we celebrate it. I appreciate that despite how we are depicted in the media, she was open and understanding that in the end, everyone is just trying to lead a good, peaceful life and provide for their families, and it is only a few people who have other interests that are giving religion a bad name.
It was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed it more than anyone! I had given the teacher a write-up about Eid beforehand. I dressed up my daughter in her Eid clothes, and we all sat together at Circle Time and the teacher talked to the kids about Eid and why and how we celebrate it. She also read a book on Eid that had great pictures and showed them around. Each child said ‘Eid Mubarak’ to the class. Then we finished off with a little Eid treat that I had made, sheep-decorated gluten free cookies! There was also a craft activity for the kids; the teacher had made hand shaped cutouts that the kids could draw mehndi patterns on with markers. It was all very sweet.
These are things that make a tolerant society and encourage people to be accepting of each other’s cultures and beliefs.
I know that there are some Muslims who make an effort to reach out to their non Muslim co workers, friends and neighbors and educate them about Islam on every opportunity. I think that’s great and should turn into a movement!
This year, when making treats for the party at the mosque, I made gift baskets for our neighbors as well, including a little note about Eid. My daughter, all dressed up in her Eid clothes, went around with her Daddy and distributed them. One step at a time, we might be able to make a difference.
Well, the story of the Eid party is that (as usual) lunch was late. When all the kids, hungry and exhausted from jumping around in the bounce houses for 3 hours came over to the picnic tables the only thing they saw were the cookies and cupcakes and the poor things devoured them in seconds!
The chocolate cake recipe that I use makes a very moist, rich cake that has layers of flavor, but it’s so good that I’m going to dedicate an entire post to it! Click to read my Love, Marriage and the Ultimate Chocolate Cake Post.
But I do want to share the recipe for the Black and White Cookies which were simply amazing! The Black and White Cookie originated in New York, and is somewhere between a cake and a cookie. It is flat on one side and has a slightly dome shape on the other. The flat side is frosted with vanilla frosting on one half and chocolate frosting on the other.
I’ve never had a New York original, but this recipe made exactly the kind of cookie that I imagined it would be! It is so, so good, that anyone who doesn’t try it is really missing out on a sweet bit of yumminess!
Black and White Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR about 2 inches of a vanilla bean
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add eggs, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the batter about 2 inches apart onto a large baking sheet lined with wax paper. Bake in middle of oven, (one sheet at a time) until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and cool completely before frosting.
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract OR about 1 inch of a vanilla bean (click to buy)
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, corn syrup and 1-2 tbsp hot water until smooth. That’s your vanilla glaze.
In a separate bowl, melt the butter and the chocolate in a microwave for about 30 seconds. Add the corn syrup, 2 tbsp of the vanilla glaze and stir until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon of warm water. This is your chocolate glaze. If you want it to be more ‘black,’ add a drop of black food color.
Note that the chocolate glaze will thicken quite a bit when it cools, so it’s better to have a thin consistency.
Variation: Keep aside the 2 tbsp of vanilla glaze to mix with the chocolate, and add some lemon zest or a little lemon juice to the remaining vanilla glaze for some extra flavor!
Once the cookies are cooled, face them all bottom side up on a clean surface, preferably lined with wax paper. Since the cookie has a cake-like quality to it, the bottoms will stick a little to the surface.
Spread half of the cookie with vanilla glaze and the other half with chocolate glaze. Allow the frosting to set before serving.
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker’s Black and White Cookies Post.
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- The true spirit of Eid al Adha: Guest Post
- Love, Marriage and the Ultimate Chocolate Cake
- Apple Crumble
- Is Vanilla Extract Halal? And How to Use Vanilla Beans.