Black and White Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


  • 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*


  • 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*


  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.


  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

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


  1. Wow! I was waiting for this and they look spectacular!

  2. Well if you say I have to bake them right now, then I guess I will bake them right now! There’s never been a better excuse for 10pm baking!! And I have never tried black and white cookies so I’m excited to try them 🙂 Been waiting all week to get a chance to bake cookies.

    1. Let me know if you try them!

      1. They are so amazing! I can’t believe I’ve been missing out all my life. Thank you for these!!

  3. Sally i am a cookie monster yet I have never tried this type of cookie before. And I am so happy that you posted this. Btw, are you due any day now? I am keeping you in my thoughts frequently. I know this is a very exciting time for you guys. Pls take your cozy slippers and Chapstick to the hospital when you go in for labor. It’ll help with some comfort.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts and the advice! We’re excited. Chapstick and cozy clothes are packed 🙂

  4. MY FAVORITE NYC cookie!! I, too,  am not a cakey cookie gal, but these are definitely the exception!! May I substitute full fat greek yogurt for sour cream??

    1. Hi Amy! See my note 🙂

  5. I have ATK for years. In fact, my apple recipe comes from their lovely apple pie recipe. I also love their product review. I think my dad would love these and they are coming for a visit in November!

  6. I grew up in Upstate NY and we had cookies similar to these, but we called them half-moons and the cookie part was chocolate!

    1. I’d love to try a chocolate version.

      1. I have a recipe for the chocolate cookie version if you want it…mayo instead of eggs/oil make them SO GOOD! It’s super easy, too. Let me know!

      2. Sure! Can you email it to me? No rush 🙂 THANK YOU!

    2. Please send me the chocolate half moons recipe. I also grew up and live in upstate my and I always liked the chocolate cookie part. My email is [email protected] thanks

  7. Bryn Broussard says:

    Would these be similar to the lofthouse cookies in taste/texture?  I’m with you on cake cookies…blech!  But my daughter had a lofthouse at a school bday party and is in love.  

    1. A little bit, yes!

  8. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    I LOVE these cookies!  I’m a huge fan of the cakey texture of black and white cookies.  Can’t wait to try them!

  9. Woohoo! Black and white cookies are one of my favorite things to make! They’re such a classic dessert in NY and people are always excited to eat them, and really impressed they’re homemade! The recipe I have (from Brown Eyed Baker) is pretty different from this one so I’m excited to give ATK’s/yours a try. The thing I noticed immediately from your pictures is that your vanilla icing seems so much more WHITE than mine. I took out my recipe to compare and it must be because you use milk and I use water. Guess I’ll be using milk from now on!! Also looks like I better get my hands on that book. Between yours and ATK’s I’ll never have to make a recipe twice for the rest of my life ! 

    1. I know Michelle’s recipe is SO GOOD!!

  10. Like Heather W., I too grew up in Upstate N.Y. and our half-moon cookies are slightly different from black & white cookies. I actually like to use a buttercream frosting to give it more flavor, but I’m looking forward to baking these!

  11. Joanne Schaefer says:

    Those look really fancy and yummy!!

  12. My mom just got me a SECOND icing spatula for my birthday yesterday… I think it’s a sign that I need to make these this weekend – I don’t even have to wash rewash my spatula to make them 🙂

  13. I’ve never been to New York or had one of these cookies, but now I am absolutely shocked by this fact and NEED a black and white cookie right this minute. These look like a fun little weekend project to make – can’t wait!

    1. Let me know how you like them!

  14. Dale Terwilliger says:

    Where is the recipe

  15. Im just the opposite with cakey cookies- who doesn’t love a clean, easy, bite size piece of cake!? And I’ve never even heard of NYC black and white cookies, but now…I need one!

    1. I hope you try them soon!!

  16. Hi Sally,

    This is a very exciting recipe! I’d like to make these a bit smaller-to yield 24 cookies. Would you have a bake time recommendation for that? 

    I’ve not had authentic black & white cookies from
    NYC, but the Half Moon cookies from Trader Joe’s are stellar!

    Have a great day, and rest up.

    1. Just a minute or two less– until the edges are lightly browned. 🙂

  17. I lived in NY for 4 years and my 2 favorite sweets from that area are their coffee cake with the piled high streusel and their black and white cookies.
    I also saw ATK make their version on black and white cookies on their show and have been wanting to make them. My oldest son loved the idea of the vanilla vs. chocolate icing on top. I’ll have to get in thr kitchen and make some soon.
    I also love ATKs cookbooks. I have ATKs The How Can It Gluten Free Cookbook and I love it. I learned so much from their book just by reading through and learning why they use certain ingredients over others. Very educational.
    Thanks for posting this recipe!

    1. I’m interested in their GF cookbook! I’d love to learn more about GF baking/cooking.

  18. Excited to try these! Would you recommend sifting the cocoa powder for the icing also?


    1. You can, though I didn’t.

  19. Can’t wait to try out this cookie recipe.I simply adore all of your recipes.I’ve lost count on how many I have made!

  20. Samantha Werle says:

    I’m so excited to bake these for my family! They’re all from NY (I was the only one born here, in MD) and rave about these when we go up to the city… it will be nice for them to have a little piece of home here!

  21. Yum! These look so tasty!

  22. I’ve been making black and white’s with a recipe from Butter, Sugar, Flour, Eggs for years.  My family and my friend from Brooklyn love them!  I’m going to try yours and do what I did with the chocolate zucchini cake-not tell them!  BTW, they loved the cake even after I told them there was zucchini in it.  Can’t wait to try it!  

  23. Oh. Oh yes. These are happening. I’ve gotta put my baking pants on.

    1. Hahaha your baking pants. My baking pants are stretch pants these days 😉

  24. I’m a New Yorker and I adore black and whites. Super excited to try these.

  25. Shawnna Griffin says:

    hey girl- these cookies look amazing!

  26. Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says:

    I can’t wait to try these Sally!! I wish I could grab one right off my screen!

  27. I’ll admit- I’ve never had a true authentic black and white cookie. *cowers with embarrassment* But I’ll also say that these look good enough to put any of the others out of business! Need to try this recipe!

  28. Melissa Griffiths says:

    I love ATK so much so you know I’m pumped for this cookie bible! So much yum!! These cookies are look so pretty!

  29. I love black and white cookies and have for years. My mom used to mail me some every so often when I first moved from NY. ICinn crumb coffee cake & bagels, too) I’m hoping you’ll share the chocolate based cookie you were offered in the beginning of the comments. I’ve never had one and I’d bet I’d like it as I love chocolate. Thanks!

    1. Haven’t received it yet! Excited to test it out.

  30. I have The Perfect Cookie book. I absolutely love it!!!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally