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

Print

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

174 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.

    1. 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.

  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.

      1. I believe so…do you think that could be the issue? I’ve done cookies like that before and it has come out fine.

  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 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!

  11. 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?

    1. 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. 🙂

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!!

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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:)

    1. 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.

  18. Jon Sally!  Love your blog and your books!  I made these tonight and they taste delicious however mine did not stay puffy as I would have liked either! I read all the above reviews and see it happened to others as well. They taste very good but I also feel a traditional black and white cookie should have that slight lemon flavor somewhere. I felt it had a sugar cookie taste. I am still serving for a party tomorrow but I wish they would have risen better. I followed the recipe exactly as well!  

    1. try tofutti sour cream, i have subbed it in other recipes and its worked, haven’t tried this one yet, but am planning on doing just that,

  19. Amazing flavor! My daughter requested “purple
    doggie cookies with sparkles” for her third birthday to take to daycare and I was struggling with what kind of cookie would work well for frosting (& not entail having to roll out dough!). I came across this and knew it was perfect. I had a little bit of a tough time mixing the icing, but it all worked out, and omg I can’t believe how good the cookies taste! Now, on to your strawberry cake for her party this weekend… that one has to be a “kitty cake with sparkles” … wish me luck!

  20. Hi just made these cookies and they came out great! I did have trouble mixing the icing though. It was super thick! I added more milk. Also the chocolate icing didn’t come out as dark as I’d like.. did you use coloring??

  21. Hello
    Thank you for this recipe
    The cookies came out perfect but my icing is clumpy and not mixing . What am I doing wrong ?

    1. Make sure that you are sifting the sugar for the icing and use a whisk to mix it up. You might just need to whisk it harder/longer!

  22. I am looking into making these and I know butter at room temp can be very greasy. However I saw your comment about the butter being soft, and cold to the touch. As well as, not being greasy. I’m confused. Which is it, room temp, greasy butter or cold, soft butter? Thank you = ]

    Can’t wait to make these!

  23. I am so very excited about this recipe! I am from South Africa and having relocated to the US was introduced to the Black and White Cookie for the first time! It very quickly became my ABSOLUTE FAV and a weekly indulgence! This recipe is just PERFECT! They come out bigger and better than the ones I buy in the store! The smile on my husband’s face after taking his first bite was priceless too! We give it a 10 out of 10!

  24. Hi! I made these last night to test out before diving in to make large batches for my upcoming wedding! Being from New York I wanted to give black and whites as a guest gift but thought making them at home would be more personal. I had some issues with the icing being runny but I think I added too much milk to the chocolate batch. I’ll need to try that again.

    As we want to give these out as favors we need to package them. Do you have any recommendations? I put them in little baggies last night but the icing melted and smeared onto the baggies.

    Thank you!

    1. What a fantastic idea for wedding favors! Did you let the icing harden for a bit before placing them in bags? You can ty to find little cookie boxes instead if the bags don’t work!

      1. Thank you! The ones that sat in the fridge a bit longer did better in the baggies!

        I would like to make them ahead and freeze them. I saw in your note you can freeze them either frosted or unfrosted. Do you have a recommendation? Also, if I do freeze them frosted, do you have a suggestion for how to package them in the freezer?

        Thank you again! Some of my family from NY tried my test batch and said these are better than the store bought ones my mom brought down last time she visited!

      2. I prefer freezing without the icing. Icing tastes best when it’s fresh. Once they’re completely cool, stack them in a Tupperware or place in a freezer-friend zipped top bag.

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