Black and white cookies are a mainstay in New York City’s bakeries and delis. The cookies have a soft cake-like texture with the flat side decorated with half chocolate icing and half vanilla icing. There is also a hint of lemon and vanilla extracts. All of this combined makes it a perfectly delicious combination of cake and cookie. The origin of the treat is usually traced to Glaser’s Bake Shop in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, where Bavarian immigrants opened shop in 1902. With this recipe, there's no need to travel to New York City—you can make black and white cookies in your very own kitchen.
- For the Cookies:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs (room temperature)
- 1 cup milk (room temperature)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- For the Frostings:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup boiling water
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (coarsely chopped)
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, these cookies are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Cookies
Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add the milk, vanilla extract, and lemon extract. Mix until smooth.
In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until mixed.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches, mixing well to combine.
For each cookie, scoop 1/4 cup of batter and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a knife or offset spatula to shape each cookie into a 4-inch circle. Do not flatten. Space the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until the edges begin to brown, 15 to 17 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frostings and Decorate
Place the powdered sugar in a large bowl. Gradually add enough of the boiling water, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and spreadable.
Remove half of the frosting to a double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water. Add the chocolate. Warm the mixture, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the frosting is smooth. Add an additional few drops of warm water as necessary to the chocolate frosting to achieve a smooth spreadable consistency. Remove from the heat.
Invert the cookies to frost the flat bottoms. Using a knife or offset spatula, coat half of each cookie with the vanilla (white) frosting.
Using a knife or offset spatula, coat the other half with the chocolate (black) frosting. Repeat until all the cookies are done. Allow the frostings to set before serving.
For the authentic New York deli appearance, wrap individual black and white cookies in plastic wrap.