Yin Yang Slice-and-Bake Cookies are the melding of ancient Chinese philosophy with cookies that are simultaneously very vanilla and intensely chocolate. Think of them as enlightened comfort food.
I read a lot of blogs and have noticed that I am not the only one who feels like time is rushing by at a seemingly accelerated pace. Our lives can feel hectic and stressful even when we are surrounded by the best of circumstances. I find the current state of politics and world strife to be extremely disheartening. It’s a challenge to be personally positive and balanced when the news is so full of negativity and imbalance. I am one little person. I can’t stop wars, hatred, or injustice, but I can try to be a teeny tiny ripple on the positive side, doing my teeny tiny part in making the world a better place, one smile at a time.
One bite of Yin Yang Slice-and-Bake Cookies will definitely cause a smile. The chocolate side (yin) of these crunchy cookies gets its deep flavor from dark cocoa. The vanilla side (yang) has just enough creamy vanilla flavor to balance the chocolate. Yin Yang Slice-and-Bake Cookies are made with vegetable shortening, which gives them crunch and also makes them a great desert-safe cookie. I know that some people are opposed to using vegetable shortening instead of butter in baking. Generally, I prefer using butter too. However, not in these cookies. The crunch and the flavor are amazing just the way they are. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Creating the Yin Yang design took a few attempts. The final method I chose is a lot easier to do than it is to describe. I hope the photos help make the process clear. The dough is made all vanilla, then half of the dough becomes chocolate with the addition of cocoa. The chocolate and the vanilla dough is each rolled into a fat log. To easily create the droplet shape (either side of the yin yang), place a rolling pin on top of a dough log lengthwise. Gently press down on one half of the log, creating a slope that ends in a thin edge. Repeat with the second log. Then, place the thicker part of the vanilla log on top of the thinner part of the chocolate log. Roll the combined log to round the shape and gently connect the two flavors. The log is refrigerated to firm the dough so that it holds its shape when sliced. Semi-sweet and white chocolate chips are pressed into the cookies before baking.
Yin Yang Slice-and-Bake Cookies are not only delicious, but are also an edible reminder to strive for balance in life. They are my wish for world harmony in cookie form. I included Yin Yang Slice-and-Bake Cookies in my “getting to know you” military care package that I sent out this week to my new soldier. Wishes for world harmony are especially meaningful for our deployed service members. These two-flavored cookies were also used for an additional part of this care package’s theme. Watch for the care package post in a few days, to read about the game I concocted for this box!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ⅔ cup of butter flavored vegetable shortening (Crisco)
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 tablespoons cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark)
- White chocolate chips (about 30)
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 30)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar.
- Add in eggs, milk, and vanilla. Beat to combine, until smooth.
- Gradually add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.
- Remove half of the dough onto a sheet of wax paper.
- Mix the cocoa into the remaining dough.
- Place the chocolate dough onto another sheet of wax paper.
- Roll each half of the dough into a log about 8” long. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm slightly.
- To create each half of the yin yang circle, lay a rolling pin down the length of the dough log and gently press down, indenting half of the log creating a slope that ends in a thin edge at the bottom. Repeat with the other dough log.
- Place the thicker part of the vanilla log on top of the thinner part of the chocolate log.
- Roll the combined log to round the shape and gently connect the two flavors. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate at least 1 hour until firm.
- When ready to bake: preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice dough log into ⅜” thick slices. Press a white chocolate chip into the chocolate dough and a semi-sweet chip into the vanilla dough. Place the cookies 1”-2” apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 2 weeks.
These recipes are also desert safe and sure to cause smiles!