Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Black and White Cookies

How to make New York City style Black and White Cookies! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Welcome to recipe #3 in cookie week! Don’t miss:

Today’s the real deal. I’ve been waiting over a month to share this new cookie recipe with you!!! In fact, I have legit butterflies in my stomach typing this right now because I’m so excited for you to make this recipe.

Watch the video for how to make them! ↑ ↑

Don’t waste another minute. Get your ingredients out RIGHT NOW.How to make New York City style Black and White Cookies! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This New York City style black and white cookie recipe comes from the highly talented, knowledgeable, and influential team over at America’s Test Kitchen. I worked with them last year to help promote their Naturally Sweet cookbook. Do you remember the chewy chocolate chip cookies with less sugar recipe? I love those– and learned a lot about lower sugar alternatives by reading the book. ATK has a brand new book out this fall and it’s dedicated to something we ALL have in common: a genuine obsession with cookies. The Perfect Cookie couldn’t come at a more perfect time as I’m launching Sally’s Cookie Addiction next week!

Packed with 250 cookie, brownie, & bar recipes, The Perfect Cookie is any baker’s bible. What I love most– and what I know you’ll appreciate as well– is the comprehensive break-down of each recipe. Why it works, how it works, tips, tricks, lessons, troubleshooting, and more. It’s the book for the baking nerd in all of us. ♥

Nerdy bakers, we are.

The Perfect Cookie Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen

The recipe I chose to share is the classic black and white cookie. Large and in charge, these gigantic cake-like cookies are much easier to prepare at home than you think. Once intimidated to replicate this NYC classic, I’ve now made 6 batches since trying them out. SIX!! I gave a few batches to our friends and stashed the rest in my freezer. I’m in complete shock that I can make a cookie identical to the authentic version and knew this was just the recipe to share on my blog with all of you.

If you’ve never enjoyed a black and white cookie before, let me start by saying that these are cakey cookies. Normally I’m opposed to cake-like cookies because… I’d rather just eat a piece of cake?!?! Cakey cookies are imposter cookies. Buuuuut black and white cookies are totally the exception. They’re a mainstay at New York City shops and bakeries, bursting with vanilla flavor, a super soft texture, and adorned with both vanilla and chocolate icings. The icings firm up after an hour or so, making these cookies perfect for packaging, sharing, storing, etc. (It takes a mountain of willpower to share these, trust me.)  The icings are definitely the best part! Creamy yet crackly when you bite into it, sort of like donut glaze… but better.

How Does the Recipe Work?

Since these are cake-like cookies, the cookie dough is very unique. It’s closer to a super-thick cake batter rather than a crumbly cookie dough. The ingredient deck resembles any basic vanilla cake batter. ATK attempted these cookies with cake flour (because they’re supposed to be cake-like cookies!), but they found that cake flour made the cookies a little too crumbly. So you’ll just need some baking staples like all-purpose flour, butter, egg, sugar, etc.

After I tried batch #1, I increased the salt in the recipe as I found the cookies to be cloyingly sweet. Obviously they’re supposed to be sweet cookies, but I found 1/4 teaspoon was the perfect amount.

The secret to this recipe though? Sour cream. Don’t stray from it!! It’s what creates that iconic tender texture. It also reacts with the baking soda to produce enough lift. (You’ll also need baking powder. Remember why some recipes call for both?)

A carefully tested and surprisingly easy recipe for New York City style black and white cookies! These cake-like cookies are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

A carefully tested and surprisingly easy recipe for New York City style black and white cookies! These cake-like cookies are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

No dough chilling or waiting around– you can bake the cookies right away.

The recipe yields 12 massive black and white cookies. 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons!) of batter in each one. Divide them between two baking sheets. They’ll puff up and spread. Don’t be too concerned if the tops are a little bumpy because the tops actually become… the bottoms!!

The flat undersides are much easier to frost.

How to make black and white cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

A carefully tested and surprisingly easy recipe for New York City style black and white cookies! These cake-like cookies are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Both the vanilla and chocolate icing start from the same bowl– you’ll just add some cocoa powder and the rest of the milk to the chocolate version. Don’t skip the corn syrup– it’s what helps the glaze “set” and gives it that gorgeous shiny appearance. I found I had to add a little more confectioners’ sugar to obtain a thick texture and I’ll note that in the recipe below. This recipe produces a ton of glaze, so don’t be shy about piling it on. It’s awesome.

For best results, I suggest sifting the confectioners’ sugar to produce a smooth icing.

How to make New York City style Black and White Cookies! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Seriously, get out the ingredients now and enjoy NYC’s best at home. These homemade black and white cookies will be a repeat recipe in your kitchen too!!

How to make New York City style Black and White Cookies! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Black and White Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (or more as needed, see note)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons (145g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature*

Icing

  • 5 and 1/2 cups (660g) confectioners' sugar, sifted (measure before sifting)
  • 7 Tablespoons (105ml) whole milk, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons (18g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder*

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine. Reduce to low speed and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream. Beat everything on low until combined and no pockets of flour remain. Batter is extremely thick.
  4. Using a greased 1/4-cup dry measuring cup, drop mounds of dough 4 inches apart on prepared baking sheets-- 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
  5. Make the icings: Whisk the confectioners' sugar, 6 Tablespoons milk, the corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl. Transfer 1 cup to a separate bowl, add remaining Tablespoon of milk and the cocoa powder. Whisk until combined.
  6. Spread vanilla icing onto half of the cookies-- the flat side. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set so that the icings do not bleed into each other. Spread chocolate icing onto other side and allow the icing to set completely, about 1 hour, before serving.
  7. Cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Make ahead tip: You'll want to bake this cookie dough right away as the baking powder is initially activated once wet. You can, however, bake the cookies in step 4, cool completely, cover tightly, and store at room temperature for up to 3 days before continuing with step 5. Frosted or unfrosted cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving or frosting.

Recipe Notes:

Why are the ingredients room temperature? Here's exactly why! But, mostly, the butter will curdle with some of the batter ingredients are colder than it.

*If your batter isn't super thick-- thick somewhere between cookie dough and pancake batter-- try adding an extra 2-3 Tablespoons of flour before scooping and baking. The cookies spread too much if the batter isn't thick enough.

*I strongly suggest using full-fat sour cream in this cookie batter. Full-fat plain Greek yogurt works as well, but you'll get the most tender texture from sour cream. So keep that in mind!

*You can use either natural-style or dutch-process cocoa powder in the icing. It doesn't matter since there is no leavening occurring. (Here's the difference between the two!) I prefer dutch-process or a dark cocoa, like Hershey's special dark cocoa.

Recipe reprinted in partnership with ATK from The Perfect Cookie

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Check out the NYC bakery tour that my team and I went on last Fall! We need to make a trip back for round #2. 🙂

New York City bakery tour on sallysbakingaddiction.com

SHOP THE RECIPE

Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing BowlsSilpat Baking Mat | Cookie Sheets | Cooling Rack | Cookie Icing Spatula
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.
A carefully tested and surprisingly easy recipe for New York City style black and white cookies! These cake-like cookies are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
A carefully tested and surprisingly easy recipe for New York City style black and white cookies! These cake-like cookies are irresistible! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

81 comments

  1. These came at a perfect moment. Made them for a new baby yesterday-blue and whites-
    they look great. AND they are delicious-have made others before and these are way better.
    Now, I need to try them with the chocolate.
    Thank you!

  2. These remind of my childhood in NY! I’d love to make them, but was wondering if there’s anything I can substitute the corn syrup with? Honey possibly?

  3. These look amazing! If I wanted to make these smaller than the recommend 4 tablespoons what would you suggest the cooktime be for half the size? 7-8 min.? Thanks in advance!

  4. I’ve never had a black and white cookie before! I totally need to try my hand at making these!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  5. I was so excited to see your B & W cookie recipe – one of the things I really miss from NY. I am sure I followed the recipe to the letter but the cookies came out really flat (still delicious, but flat). Not sure where I went wrong. 🙁 Any suggestions?

    Unfortunately, corn syrup is not available here where I live (the Netherlands), but I dissolved 1.25 c sugar into .25 cup water. The glaze seems OK.

    • Hi Laura! How was the batter? Was it extremely thick? With all that flour and zero liquid, it should be exceptionally thick. And the butter– was it soft but still cool to touch? You don’t want it greasy at all.

    • Is your baking soda old? Baking soda that’s needs to he replaced will cause baked goods to fail to rise. 

  6. I would stock up on these cookies every time I went to NYC and keep them in my freezer! They’re my absolute fave cookie! I shouldn’t know how to make them…. But now I must ;D

  7. Hi Sally! I had the same issue as Laura. It came out somewhat flat not like your pictures. This is not the first time doing something from your blog and I followed it to the T, am I missing something? The batter was thick but not like super thick. It looked like the batter I use for my cake so idk maybe I should add more flour? Thanks.

  8. Sally, these cookies are absolutely delicious. I made them yesterday and they were gone in no time! I am a huge fan of your recipes and this was the icing on the cake. I live in NY and love black and white cookies; readers trust me, this recipe is a must!

  9. Oh Wow. This recipe looks so yummy. I dream of NYC almost every day and can’t wait to come visit the City next spring. I guess I have something to practice now. Vanilla is my favorite, I literally would use it in every recipe I can. Gonna try this one in a few days <3

  10. I need these cookies in my life! So perfect! 🙂

  11. I love, love, love, Black & White cookies! I worked at a NY style Jewish deli in Scottsdale Arizona. Mine turned out good, but they were not as cakey as I remember. Any idea where I went wrong?

    Thanks! Love your recipes!

  12. Tried this recipe twice back to back, I thought I had to of screwed up some where! But both batches came out exactly the same…I thought I forgot some of the flour because I only came up with 10 1/4 cookies, that spread and turned into one cookie, but it happened with the 2nd batch as well. The butter wasn’t too soft and the egg at room temp along with sour cream and vanilla. I had to use yogurt on the 2nd batch, but it still came out the same. Not sure what went wrong..Was really excited to try these, I read the entire post but should I use cake flour?

    • I wonder why the ATK tested recipe won’t work for some! If the batter doesn’t look super thick, you can always try to add a little more flour or chill the cookie dough before scooping. Thank you so much for the feedback on their recipe, Brittany! I’m going to add the adding the extra flour to the recipe note. 🙂

  13. I was also having issues with the cookies coming out flat, so for the third batch, I kept adding extra flour until the batter was quite stiff. (I used the gram weight measurement to start.) I then put the batter in the fridge while the oven preheated. This resulted in puffy cookies, though not quite as nice as the ones in Sally’s photos. I left half the batter in the fridge overnight, and made them the next day. Now those cookies looked just like the pictures and are light and fluffy inside. I don’t think there’s any issue with the recipe, just somehow my batter was too wet and soft.

    TL;DR for flat cookies, add extra flour and chill dough.

  14. I baked these last night and also experienced the same issue with the cookies coming out flat. My batter was nice and thick and all ingredients were room temperature. The only thing I deviated from was that I used low fat sour cream rather than full fat. Was that the culprit for flat cookies? I’m sure they will taste delicious but I’m disappointed that they won’t be thick and puffy like they are supposed to be. I will try again and chill the dough as others have suggested.

  15. These are so good! I made them and they look and taste so homemade-y and special! They also remind me of “pink cake”, a traditional Dutch delicatesse. I used only half the icing as I didn’t have enough icing sugar but it still covered them all! They taste good from room temperature but stay perfectly good in the fridge too! I did tell my husband its a once-a-day-cookie 😉
    They are big and filling! 
    I used homemade full cream yoghurt but I will definitely try them with sour cream as well. Thanks!!

  16. Hi Sally! Love your website, some of my favorite cookie recipes come from you! Reading through the comments, I was wondering if ATK specifies using room temp egg and sour cream? I know that is something you always recommend, but they usually don’t. That might be the culprit for the cookies spreading too much. It may just be an altitude problem too.

    • That could add to it, for sure! But I find when some ingredients are room temp (the butter, flour, etc) and others are cold (the SC, egg) the dough doesn’t come together quite as effectively.

  17. I thought black and white cookies usually had lemon extract in them?  Maybe I’m wrong.  I’ll be making these for someone from NY so I just want to be sure they’re authentic 🙂

  18. OMG! Haven’t seen these since I left for the Army in 1977. Small town bakery always had them

  19. Hi Sally,
    I know this is an older post, but, I am planning on making these cookies later this week for Thanksgiving, and would like to make them a bit smaller (I made them before, and they were amazing, but massive), if I wanted to make them smaller, what size would you suggest, and what baking time would you suggest?

    I LOVE THIS RECIPE! I am such a fan of your blog, it has taught me how to bake!

    Thank you:)

    • I’d go with 2 Tbsp of dough per cookie. Bake time will be the same, maybe a minute less. These are a fun choice for this week. Everyone LOVED them the few times I made them.

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