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

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Black and White Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 12 large cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), 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*

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing BowlsSilpat Baking Mat | Cookie Sheets | Cooling Rack | Cookie Icing Spatula
  3. Room Temperature: This is important!! But, mostly, the butter will curdle with some of the batter ingredients are colder than it.
  4. Batter Consistency: 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.
  5. Sour Cream: 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!
  6. Cocoa Powder: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.
  7. Recipe reprinted in partnership with ATK from The Perfect Cookie

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

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

243 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Hi Sally. I love this recipe! I did have a question for you though. Is there a way to make these cookies into cupcakes? There used to be a bakery many years ago in Brooklyn that made black and white cupcakes that I miss terribly and I was hoping you could help me figure out how to modify the recipe to make cupcakes or if I could bake this batter in muffin tins. Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Joe, I haven’t tried this cookie dough/batter in cupcake pans so I’m unsure of the bake time and what the exact texture would be like. How about my vanilla cupcakes instead? They’re light and fluffy. You could use these icings.

    2. Hi, I don’t have sour cream, can I use yogurt?

  2. Mary Crawford says:

    Hi! Just made these for the first time! They were not as thick and fluffy as I had hope and were kind of chewy…where did I go wrong??

    1. Hi Mary, I’m happy to help troubleshoot. Did you change anything in the recipe? It sounds like they could have been under-baked as well. Make sure you are spooning and leveling the flour, too.

  3. 5 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar doesn’t make sense. Is that a mistake?

    1. Hi Sarah, to yield enough frosting and to ensure it’s thick enough (not runny), you need a substantial amount.

  4. Ok I’m just looking at other recipes and they seem to fall for half that. I measured it out and it doesn’t look reasonable.

    1. It’s very thick icing so it doesn’t slip off the cookies. Feel free to reduce the confectioners’ sugar, but you’ll have to reduce the milk as well.

      1. Yes – I was looking here at the comments too because 5 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar sounded like a lot – and also the instructions only say to remove 1 cup to. make the chocolate icing. Seems like there would be way more vanilla than chocolate? I have all the ingredients ready to go and will make them tomorrow. I am very excited!

  5. Hello! Can you substitute the corn syrup with anything? Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda, I don’t recommend skipping the corn syrup– it’s what helps the glaze “set” and gives it that gorgeous shiny appearance. In a pinch you can try a homemade simply syrup – or even honey.

  6. Hi
    Can I use gluten free flour to make the cookies

    1. Hi Barbara, I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let me know if you try!

      1. Hi… I made this recipe today using King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure flour instead of AP flour. I used all other ingredients as listed, except I needed more milk for the icing to get the desired consistency. The cookies came out great! The texture and taste were comparable to the glutened cookie. If anything, maybe slightly less cake-like. But, overall, I am very happy with the outcome!

      2. We used King Arthur gluten free as well and it worked perfectly with no other adjustments.

  7. Hi Sally,
    I love this recipe so much I made it a second time within days!
    Quick question – I have a lot of leftover icing. Can that be refrigerated or frozen so I can use it on a future batch?

    1. Hi Carolyn! Freezing the leftover icing isn’t a problem. Let it thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If it seems too watery/thin, you can whisk in more confectioners’ sugar.

  8. The cookies were not as fluffy or cake-like as I had hoped. The flavor was good, though. The icing was also a bit runny and didn’t set well even after being in the refrigerator for more than an hour.

  9. Would chilling the dough help the cookies rise and not flatten?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rich, If the batter doesn’t look super thick, you can always try to add a little more flour (see recipe notes) or chill the cookie dough before scooping. That should help!

  10. They taste great and the frosting is perfect, but… Mine came out really flat. I tried two batches – one with chilled dough and one not. They both baked up nice and fluffy and then flattened as they cooled. Any guesses why?

    1. Hi Jenn, thank you so much for trying this recipe. I’m concerned that the cookies puff up so much and then flatten. Usually this is a sign that the baking powder/soda are off. Your dough may benefit from an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. (1 teaspoon total.) You can also try replacing both. I find they lose strength after about 3 months.

  11. Any substitute for the corn syrup that will still get a shiny effect??

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Talia, We don’t recommend skipping the corn syrup– it’s what helps the glaze “set” and gives it that gorgeous shiny appearance. In a pinch you can try a homemade simple syrup – or even honey.

  12. Whatta great recipe! First time I ever made them..
    .and they look like they came out of a bakery! Will be my go to recipe.

  13. I live in CO at an altitude of nearly 6000 feet. Typically with cookies, I reduce the baking soda or powder , increase liquid a bit (if one of the ingredients), increase flavoring and add a pinch more salt.
    Has anyone living at a high altitude made these cookies and what adjustments did you make?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Christy, I wish I could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

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