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Checkerboard Cookies

Mark Ferri

Yield: Yields about 18 dozen cookies.

You’ll end up with a little chocolate dough left over. The yield is big for this recipe, but the dough keeps for months in the freezer as long as you wrap it well.


For the vanilla dough:

  • 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3-1/2 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 oz. (1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs.) finely ground almonds
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour

For the chocolate dough:

  • 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3-1/2 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 oz. (1/4 cup) finely ground almonds
  • 1 oz. (1/4 cup) natural (not Dutch process) cocoa
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg, whisked well

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per cookie
  • Calories (kcal) : 25
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 15
  • Fat (g): 1.5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 5
  • Sodium (mg): 10
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 0


Mix the vanilla dough:

  • With the paddle of an electric mixer (or regular beaters), cream the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy but not melted. Add the salt and confectioners’ sugar; mix on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the ground almonds, egg yolk, and vanilla extract; mix until blended. Add the flour; as soon as the dough comes together, stop the mixer. Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper into an 8-1/2×11-inch rectangle that’s 1/3 inch thick; try to get the thickness very even. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet; refrigerate for several hours until hardened.

Mix the chocolate dough:

  • Follow the instructions for the vanilla dough, adding the cocoa along with the ground almonds. Roll and chill as for the vanilla.

Assemble the cookies:

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator, peel off the paper from both sides and set the dough onto a fresh sheet of parchment. Using a sharp, thin knife, slice both doughs lengthwise into square strips about 1/3 inch thick. If the dough starts to soften, freeze it briefly to firm it up.
  • Set up your workspace so that you have a baking sheet to work on in front of you, both doughs to one side, and the egg wash with a pastry brush to the other side. Lay a strip of vanilla dough lengthwise on the baking sheet; then lay a strip of chocolate dough next to the vanilla; finally lay another strip of vanilla next to the chocolate. Press the three strips gently together so that they stick to one another. Brush the tops with the egg wash.

    Sandwich one strip of chocolate dough between two vanilla strips.

  • Lay a strip of chocolate directly on top of the first strip of vanilla, lay a strip of vanilla next to that, and a strip of chocolate next to that. Again, gently but firmly press together and down to ensure that all the strips are stuck to one another. Brush this layer with more egg wash. Finish with another layer of vanilla-chocolate-vanilla. Gently press the log together on all sides. Make more logs with the remaining strips. Chill the logs for at least an hour.
  • Heat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. When the logs are hard enough to slice, remove them from refrigerator. Slice into cookies about 1/4 inch thick. Set the squares 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet and bake until the vanilla parts are lightly browned, about 8 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Cool on the baking sheet until cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes) and then transfer the cookies to a rack.

    With a sharp knife, cut the log into 1/4-in. thick slices and space them 1/2 inch apart on the parchment-lined sheet.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • Elysee | 12/19/2016

    Terrible recipe. Dough never came together. Something missing from ingredient list? I tried twice to get it to work and it stayed crumbly.I give it one star because that's the lowest rating Fine Cooking allows. This was very unusual for Fine Cooking. Usually recipes are wonderful.

  • User avater
    prosecco | 12/14/2009

    Very understated in flavour but beautiful on the cookie tray.

  • katesf | 12/08/2008

    Yes, it's a little Martha Stewarty. But very high impact visually and delicious.

  • ciarababe | 11/30/2007

    this recipe was total yum and wicked gnarly! If you have no life and have alot of free time this recipe is totally for you. You should really consider it if you are over 30 and an lazy bum!!! Rock On!!!**And remember the future is in the hands of the young children treat them well by making them these delicious cookies!!!

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