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Black and Whites

Black and Whites

Black and Whites

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Black and Whites
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Course: Drop CookiesCuisine: American, New YorkDifficulty: Medium



The Black and White cookie is beloved in New York, and while there are regional variations, they all feature the distinct split half-white, half-chocolate icing design. This particular recipe makes large, bakery-style cookies with a dense, cake-like texture such as you might commonly see in a New York bakery.


  • For the cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/3 cup sour cream

  • 1/3 cup whole milk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • For the icing
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • boiling water, as needed

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • pinch fine sea salt

  • 1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 2-1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder


  • Make the cookies
  • Pre-heat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sea salt and baking soda; set aside. In another bowl, stir together sour cream, milk and vanilla. Alternately stir the flour mixture and sour cream mixture into the butter mixture until evenly combined; do not over-mix.
  • Dollop heaping 1/4-cup scoops of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. For an even, round shape, use a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cookies have firmed up and spring back when lightly pressed in the center, and the bottoms are lightly brown. Do not over-bake. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling racks to cool completely. Once cooled, flip them over so that the flat, browned side is facing up.
  • Make the glaze
  • Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons boiling water, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Continue to whisk, adding more boiling water as needed, until you have a thick yet spreadable frosting (keep it a bit too thick because you are about to add more liquid). Divide this mixture into two bowls. To one bowl, stir in the lemon juice, and, if needed, enough water to make the glaze easily spreadable, yet not too thin. Frost half of each cookie with the lemon glaze with an offset knife or the back of a spoon.
  • Whisk the melted chocolate into the remaining white frosting, then whisk in cocoa and enough room temperature water to make a thick yet spreadable glaze. Try to get it to the same consistency as the white glaze so they are the same thickness (although I have heard some New Yorkers insist that the chocolate side is supposed to be thicker…you decide). Glaze the bare half of each cookie. Let glaze set for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving.


  • Recipe adapted from this one in the New York Times. My adaptations are based on what New Yorkers have said a Black and White cookie should be (no almond extract, lemon only in the white frosting, slightly sweeter chocolate glaze), although opinions on this are by no means universal!


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