One and a half years living in New York City and you’d think I would have made black and white cookies by now, but nope. Found at every corner deli and bagel shop in the big apple, black and white cookies are easy to come by. They are large cake-like cookies with a hint of lemon flavor topped with chocolate and white icing.
Now, I don’t know whether it’s the size, texture or healthy dose of vanilla and chocolate icing (or perhaps all three), but these cookies have made a name for themselves. They are about the size of your hand and have a cake-like consistency—you know, soft and light, not crunchy like typical cookies. The hardened icing does add a bit of texture though. When you bite into black and white cookies, your teeth gently break the layer of icing to meet the soft cookie beneath.
Every now and then I give in and buy myself one these giant cookies, usually offering to split it with a friend. And in case you were wondering, I like the chocolate side, but anyone who knows me well enough or is a loyal reader of my blog would not be surprised. Chocolate is my calling, hence why I bake so much.
I am also a huge fan of the subtle lemon flavor in black and white cookies. The lemon gently cuts the sweetness of the icing so not to overwhelm your sweet tooth and allow you to finish the entire cookie without feeling sick to your stomach. That faint tartness paired with sugary icing truly complement each other.
Mind you, to achieve a cakey cookie, you’re going to have a cakey batter. You plop a quarter-cup of batter/dough (bough? datter?) onto the cookie sheet and with your hands gently flatten the mound into a disk about five-inches in diameter. Since the dough is more like batter, I suggest getting your hands slightly wet when you flatten the cookies so the batter doesn’t stick to you. Makes the job easier!
After the cookies come out of the oven and cool off, then comes the fun part: icing the cookies. Ice one side with vanilla icing, let it dry, and the other side with chocolate, let that dry, and you have giant black and white cookies ready for consumption. And if you’re feeling creative, go ahead and make some fun designs with that icing!
New York Black and White CookiesPrint Pin Rate
- 2 cups plain cake flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract or fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) unsweetened chocolate chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 1/2 cups (300 g or 10 ounces) confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Adjust the oven racks to the lower- and upper-middle positions and heat the oven to 375° F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
- Either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually beat in the sugar, increasing the speed to medium high, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Again, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternately add the flour mixture in 4 additions and the milk in 3 additions at low speed until just combined.
- Using a 1/4-cup drying measuring cup and a soupspoon, place six 1/4-cup-mounds of dough a generous 2-inches apart on each baking sheet. With moistened fingers, gently press each mound of dough into a disk 3-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick. Bake until the centers of the cookies are fir and the edges are just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of almost-simmering water. Remove form the heat and set aside. Bring the corn syrup and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla until combined. Transfer 3/4 cup of the vanilla icing to the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to combine.
- Place 2 large wire racks on top of parchment paper or newspaper. Using a small offset metal spatula, spread about 2 tablespoons of the vanilla icing on half of each cookie. Tilt the cookie and run the spatula around the edge of the cookie to scrape off excess icing. Place the cookies on the wire rack and allow the icing to harden, about 15 minutes.* Using the spatula, spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each cookie, tilting the cookie downward and scraping away excess icing.** Place the cookies on the wire rack and allow the icings to harden, at least 1 hour. The cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper for up to 3 days.
*If the chocolate icing thickens and cools, reheat it over a water bath until it is fluid enough to coat the cookies. If the icing is still too thick, stir in hot water, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the proper fluidity is reached.
Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated