Black and White Cookies
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 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 them. Please, I beg you, don’t waste another minute. Get your ingredients out RIGHT NOW.
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 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?)
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.
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.
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!!
Black and White Cookies
- 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
- 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*
- 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*
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
*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.
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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. 🙂
SHOP THE RECIPE
Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.