NYC-Style Black & White Cookies

NYC-Style Black & White Cookies

Wel­come to Choco­late Week. Phew. We made it. After writ­ing a blog about heathy food 51 weeks a year, arriv­ing at the one week in the cal­en­dar when we really let our hair down is a real treat. It can be hard to decide what to make though. There’s so many choco­latey things I want to cre­ate (greet­ings, choco­late peanut but­ter pie) but I decided I needed to pick the one thing I would like to eat regularly–not some over-the-top, only on a spe­cial occa­sion con­fec­tion. So I landed on my all-time favourite cookie: the Black and White. Now, if you read SPC often, you know I’m from the States and I spent many years liv­ing in New York City. Plus both my par­ents were raised in New York so I was basi­cally expected to eat over­sized street pret­zels with course salt as an infant. But the black and white cookie is sort of a food insti­tu­tion for me–it’s right up there with a Gray’s Papaya hot dog.

I never return to NYC and not get a black and white cookie–That would be like vis­it­ing home and for­get­ting to kiss my mother. But it’s also no chore to find them since they’re lit­er­ally on every street cor­ner. As the unof­fi­cial cookie of New York City, they live in the zil­lion of deli’s that spot every avenue and street, not some trendy, hole-in-the-wall bak­ery with a line out the back serv­ing the con­fec­tion of the moment.  If you’ve never had one, then don’t let me fool you into think­ing they’re a cookie. Con­trary to its name, the black and white cookie is made from what is basi­cally a cake bat­ter that yields a supremely soft and moist cake but has the bak­ing chops to be han­dled like a cookie. Oh, and did I men­tion, it’s the size of a cof­fee saucer?

Like the top wafer of an oreo begs to be unscrewed from its cen­tre so you can scrape away the sweet mid­dle, there is def­i­nitely a right way to eat a black and white cookie. Frosted in vanilla icing on one side and choco­late on the other, you must snap the treat in half, right down the cen­tre where the two icings meet. Then you start by eat­ing your least favourite side. In my case, the vanilla glazed goes down first. Oh! The icing! Good­ness, how do I not speak of the icing?! I know when I say cake, you say frost­ing but it really is more a glaze–although the choco­late side has a rich, fudgi­ness that doesn’t jive with the def­i­n­i­tion of a glaze. In other words, the black and white is cookie nir­vana. And you thought NYC was all about some fussy cronut!

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In prepa­ra­tion to mak­ing these gor­geous lit­tle gems, I researched  dozens of recipes for a black and white cookie. All of them were essen­tially the exact same recipe, so there’s clearly a strict for­mula to recre­at­ing these babies. As a result, I decided to not try my own ver­sion. I just picked a recipe from a trusted bak­ing site, Joy of Bak­ing. I have to admit I was a bit ner­vous mak­ing some­thing I hold so dear. What if it tasted noth­ing like my beloved corner-store sta­ple? Worse. What if it tasted like sawdust?

But they didn’t. In fact, they tasted damn close to the orig­i­nal. But get­ting my recipe to look and taste the same wasn’t the his­tory mak­ing moment for me. It was the tweet. When I took to Twit­ter to proudly share my bak­ing and dec­o­rat­ing accom­plish­ment (you need time and patience to get that glaze on both sides), I was blown away by one response. Here, see for yourself.


Yup, that’s right. The other NYC insti­tu­tion know as Dean @ Deluca, the gourmet gro­cer whose flag­ship in Soho was a reg­u­lar haunt of mine, thought my cook­ies looked good. Sorry, I just need to repeat that. Dean and Deluca liked the looks of my cookies!
So you need to do a few things here. If you like black and white cook­ies just as much as I do, give these a try. I promise they won’t dis­ap­point. If you’ve never had a black and white cookie, you have to try them. Besides, they’re way cheaper than a trip to the Big Apple. (Although I highly rec­om­mend that too.) And, finally, if you want to taste the real deal, you can always order Dean and Deluca’s ver­sion here. Maybe I will too. After hav­ing my lit­tle Twit­ter chat, I’m feel­ing a bit nos­tal­gic for some old friends.
B&W Cookies Prep-1
NYC-Style Black & White Cookies


  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups cake and pas­try flour
  • 1 tea­spoon bak­ing powder
  • 1/2 tea­spoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted but­ter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups gran­u­lated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tea­spoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tea­spoon pure lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Glaze
  • 4 cups con­fec­tion­ers sugar
  • 1/3 — 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 table­spoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tea­spoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ounce milk or dark choco­late, finely chopped


Pre­heat the oven to 375 degrees F and place rack in the cen­ter of the oven.

Line two bak­ing sheets with parch­ment paper.

In a large bowl, com­bine the flours, bak­ing pow­der and salt.

Using a stand mixer or elec­tric mixer, beat the but­ter and sugar until fluffy.

Add one egg at a time, beat­ing after each. (Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.)

Pour in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

With the mixer on low speed, alter­nate flour mix­ture with milk, begin­ning and end­ing with flour.

Using a 1/4 cup mea­sur­ing cup, scoop bat­ter on to pre­pared bak­ing sheets.

Flat­ten bat­ter with the palm of your hand (it helps if your hand is moist so the bat­ter doesn't stick) mak­ing it about a 2 1/2 inch round.

Be sure to space the cook­ies apart because they will spread as they bake.

Bake for about 15 — 18 min­utes, or until the edges of the cook­ies are just slightly browned and the center's yield a clean tooth­pick.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.


For the glaze:

 In a large bowl, place the con­fec­tion­ers sugar and slowly stir in the hot water, corn syrup, vanilla extract and keep stir­ring until blended.

Add a bit more water if the mix­ture is too thick, or more sugar if too runny.

Place 1/2 the frost­ing into a heat­proof bowl.

Add the finely chopped choco­late and place the bowl of a saucepan with sim­mer­ing water.

Allow the choco­late to melt into the frost­ing, stir­ring until is a smooth con­sis­tency.

Remove from heat.


Flip the cook­ies over so the flat bot­tom is fac­ing up and, work­ing from the cen­ter of the cookie out towards the edges, gen­tly frost one half of the cookie with the white icing.

Set it down and con­tinue frost­ing the rest of the cook­ies.

Start­ing with the first cookie you frosted (allow­ing it to set for a few moments keeps the the frost­ing from run­ning into each other), again, work from the cen­ter out to the edges and frost the other half with the choco­late frost­ing.

Allow the cook­ies to set.

Store in air­tight con­tainer or zip­per bags for up to a week.

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