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

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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


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


Comments are closed.

  1. The recipe says 5 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar at 660 g- that can’t be right. I had a almost solid goop of a mess and had to add a significant amount of milk to make it more like frosting. What’s the right amount please? Thank you Sally!

    1. Hi Erin! This is the correct amount. The icing is supposed to be very thick so it doesn’t spill over the sides of the cookie too much.

    2. I made it exactly as the recipe says and it was perfect and set up well. You have to mix it very very well to get it to come together. And yes it will be thick but it sets up fabulously.

    3. I had a similar issue. Using the amount of powdered sugar and milk in recipe resulted in something that was completely un-sitrrable. I had to add significantly more milk to be able to stir the mixture. Also, I felt like it was way too much icing. I ended up using about half and the iced cookies still turned out very sweet… too sweet for me. I love B&Ws, but these kind of hurt my teeth. Next time, I think I’ll do an even thinner layer of icing.

  2. I made these today. The cooolie came out fabulous as did the white glaze. I don’t think there is enough chocolate in the glaze though. I made it as the recipe states but it didn’t taste enough like chocolate. And I used very ghiardelli cocoa so it was good quality cocoa. I added a lot more and it was still lacking the right chocolate flavor. Next time I’m going to try melted chocolate. That’s my only issue with the cookie.

  3. HI Sally, I love making and eating B&W cookies. In the pictures the icing looks more like a shiny glaze but in the video it looks like a thicker frosting. I’m assuming they’re both the same but wanted to check. Most recipes use a glaze, but one of my favorite cookies is from a bakery in Boston’s northend and they use a frosting–I’m dying to find a recipe with frosting, but can’t wait to make yours either way. Thank you

    1. Hi Heidi! It’s a thick glaze in both the pictures and video, but I agree it looks thicker in the video for some reason! What type of frosting are you looking for? Because I love this vanilla buttercream frosting on sugar cookies:

  4. Finally! A REAL black and white cookie! These are perfect in every way! I’ve tried SOO many recipes to get it right, and this is the winner. As soon as I removed them from the oven I could tell they were the perfect consistency based on how they kept their shape. The glaze is dead on too. The consistency seems impossibly thick, but sets to a glossy shine. The flavor is buttery, and laced with vanilla- fantastic. I wish I would have clear vanilla to make the plain glaze perfectly white, but the real stuff tastes so much better. I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa for the deep, dark chocolate brown. Thanks so much for this recipe!!!

    1. YAY! I’m so happy you found a recipe worthy of the real deal!!

  5. do you think i could make these as favors for a nyc baby shower? can I make them a few days before — how should I store them? does the frosting set so I can package them in a box or bag? sorry for so many questions.

    1. These would be so fun for a NYC theme shower! Don’t skip the corn syrup if you want the glaze to set and they should be ok at room temperature for a few days as long as they are covered tightly (see make ahead tips at the end of the recipe).

      1. I made the cookies but most of them are round and flat. I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out the batter, put 6 on each cookie sheet. The batter — I think was the right consistency. Any suggestions on where I might have gone wrong.

  6. Donna McDonald says:

    Made these today. Perfect recipe as always! Thanks!

  7. Elizabeth Scott says:

    I made these this morning with organic einkorn AP flour from Jovial foods. I added 1/4 tsp lemon oil with the vanilla extract. The batter obviously was not thick enough since they spread immensly. My fault for not reading the helpful comment section. Will add another few tablespoons of flour next batch. Born in NYC and raised in NJ these black and whites were a special treat my Dad would let us get periodically at a local bakery. Now closed sadly ☹️But even before icing these monsters the flavor is over the top! Good recipe!

    1. Yes, adding an extra 2-3 Tablespoons of flour should help tremendously next time! I’m glad you liked the flavor!

  8. Can I make them into mini black and whites? Thanks

    1. Yes, definitely!

      1. Jessica Staller says:

        Hi how would you adjust the baking time if I wanted to make regular sized using a cookie scoop?

  9. This is my second time baking, ever. I followed your directions and made these today for my husband of 26 years(its our anniversary). They were perfect! He was so surprised(did I mention I’m a newbie baker?)! Thanks so much, you rock! God bless and Merry Christmas 🙂

  10. Megan Henry Grindley says:

    Can heavy whipping cream be substituted for whole milk for the icing?

    1. Yes, your icing might be thicker but it should work.

      1. Great cookies and great instructions. Any recommendations to make the cookie cake chocolate. I would like to make both for an upcoming party.

  11. Dorothy Markowitz says:

    During the Holidays I made a batch of these to send to a dear friend and former New Yorker. These B&W really brought back memories of childhood. It was hard to send my friend any! When my friend called to thank me, she couldn’t believe I had made them. Better than Zabar’s.

    1. I’m so glad you and your friend enjoyed them so much, Dorothy!

  12. I’d like to make cookie heart shaped for Valentines Day. Possible to roll out and cut to shape with this dough? Thanks!

    1. Linda, this dough wouldn’t hold a cookie cutter shape. If you are looking for a softer cookie I recommend these:

  13. Patricia Druar says:

    Our seven-year-old grandson who lives in NY is visiting us in AZ for one week. I can’t wait to make these cookies with him! We have made black and white cupcakes in the past that he just flipped over. He would finish his lunch and dinner (fussy eater) every day, just to get his “black and white reward”. Any tips when making these with kids?

    1. So sweet! I hope he loves them!

  14. Can I use 2% milk in the frosting instead?

    1. That should be just fine.

  15. Dorothy Markowitz says:

    Black and White cookies were never my favorites as a child, and my mother worked in a bakery. I made these as a gift for an old friend who loved black and whites as a child. After making these, of course I had to try them before I sent them off. Well, I have to tell you that only half of the batch ever got to my friend. I was very tempted to keep all of them. They are really that good. Thank you.

  16. I’ve been enjoying these cookies for as as I can remember. To think that now, thanks to you has made one very happy lady. ( I have hooked my grandchildren on them too.). Thank you!!!!

  17. Sonia Lightsey says:

    Sally, you are wicked!! How on earth do you stay so slim!! You are my FAVORITE baker!!!

  18. Chris Carson says:

    Made these today!! Just like a bakery. But I only got 9 cookies – I guess I made them too big but just wonderfully delicious!!

    1. This happened to me, too, and I wasn’t even sampling the dough (was wearing a mask while baking for friends!). Are other people experiencing this? For those who do, are you also at high altitude? Either way, the cookies were yummy!

  19. Excellent black and white cookie!

  20. Can I substitute non-dairy (tofutti/soy based) sour cream in this recipe?

    1. Hi Carol! I can’t see why not.

  21. I have tried other recipes, but this one is the only one I make now. They come out perfect every time. I am making them now for my adult sons birthday gift. What else can you give to someone who can buy anything he wants?? Moms cookies! I use a medium scoop and the recipe makes 18 cookies. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

    1. I’m so happy to read this, Terry! I hope you son has a great birthday!

  22. Hi Sally
    I have made these cookies before, and usually wrap individually as to not let them stick together, but now want to put them on a cookie tray. How do I keep them from sticking together for a party here on Long Island in June? Thanks for any advice you may have.

    1. Hi Emma, the corn syrup will help the glaze set so that you can stack them once they dry. However they still might melt a bit if left outside in the June heat so try not to leave them in the direct sun for too long!

  23. The cookies turned out exactly like they should. I used 3/4 cup sugar in the cookies themselves because I like things a little less sweet. I also cut the frosting recipe in half and had the perfect amount of frosting for the 12 cookies. Added extra cocoa powder too because I like it to taste like dark chocolate.

  24. My chocolate icing didn’t come out as dark or black, any ideas on what I might have done differently?

    1. Hi Tracey! It could be the type or brand of cocoa. Hershey’s Special Dark is fantastic if you’re looking for a darker hue.

  25. Chris Carson says:

    Hi! I love these!! Making again for a party. I know it states I can freeze frosted or not, what do you recommend- I can’t decide which?? Will be in freezer for 2 1/2 weeks
    Thank you!!!

    1. For a party I would freeze them with the frosting on so you have less work to do the day of the party! Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. 🙂

      1. Chris Carson says:

        Thanks so much!! Will definitely make it easier! Will do that!

  26. Omg I’ve tried so many recipes for black and white cookies and these are simply incredible!
    I kept it dairy free, used half shortening, half margarine, and almond milk with a little lemon juice instead of sour cream. I also added a bit of lemon extract to the batter and icing.
    These cookie melt in your mouth! I can’t believe I can make such an amazing version at home!
    Definitely the best ever. Thank you Sally:)

  27. I’d like to make a single giant black and white as a “cake”for a retiring friend. Any advice? Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Toby! How about using my one layer cake recipe as the base, then adding these icings to it?

  28. My only complaint is that the notes say this cookie will last in the freezer up to 3 months… they did not even make it to the freezer, leastwise lasting 3 months. HA!!

    1. LOL! So happy you loved these cookies, Lora!

  29. I did my research, looked at a few different recipes, finally chose Sally’s because my daughter has had so much success with everything she has tried from you. As a professional pastry chef I’ve been impressed as well. These black and whites…? Nothing short of amazing! I had to put them through true testing too, of course. Why should I let it be easy? Lol. First round I used fine cake flour and adjusted for high altitude baking because that’s where I live and these are cake-like cookies. Not a bad cookie, nice flavor but not exactly right as they spread too much and were too thin. Second round, kept high altitude adjustments but used regular AP Flour as called for in recipe. Whoa! No spread, lots of rise, just a bit too much, still taste delish. Sure enough, third time’s a charm (I’ll stick to the recipe as written) perfect taste, perfect size, perfect cookie! Icing seems a little thick but I’ve learned my lesson, I have faith in Sally…and for good reason! Cookies are a hit and everyone raves about them. No one is interested in waiting long enough for the icing to harden anyway!

    1. I loved reading this, Tricia! So much fun to test variations of this recipe 🙂 Thanks for your positive feedback!

      1. Tricia Ann Frei says:

        You’re welcome! And thank you too! I’m now a very loyal fan! ❤

  30. I’m hoping to make these for family later today. You mentioned the cookies are big! How big are they? Would i be able to make them smaller for the kids?

    1. Hi Mary! You can scoop the dough smaller so each cookie is smaller. (Perhaps 2 Tbsp of dough per cookie.) The bake time will need to be slightly reduced for the smaller size.

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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