Nothing screams “New York City” louder than a black-and-white cookie, so why is it so hard to find the perfect recipe??  I have done extensive internet research, asked culinary school graduates, and I even attempted to interrogate a deli-clerk about the secret icing (until her boss came flying out of the back room with fire in his eyes and an invisible cleaver in his hand…okay, I’m leaving!), but I cannot find one perfect combination for cookie and frosting.  What, exactly, is going on here?  I’m beginning to think that the recipe is locked in a closely-guarded vault next to the Colonel’s hand-written recipe for finger-lickin’ chicken.  Really.

I had all but given up on success with this delectable dessert (I LOVE these cookies!!), but a recent trip to NYC and a quick stop at a bakery in Grand Central Station sparked my enthusiasm, and I vowed to try again.

The result?  These cookies are good…really good and oh, so close…but they’re not exactly like the ones you get in the city.  I used the Epicurious recipe for Black and White Cookies, but I added 1/4 tsp. lemon extract.  Based on the reviews, I decided to pass on their frosting recipe, and I used this one instead:


2 1/2 cups confectionery sugar

1 tbsp. light corn syrup (plus one additional teaspoon for the chocolate glaze)

2 tbsp. hot water

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tbsp. cocoa powder (I used Dutch process)

In a small bowl, mix confectionery sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla until smooth.  (if necessary, add additional hot water, one teaspoon at a time, keeping glaze very thick).  Divide in half.

Melt chocolate at 50% microwave power for 2 – 3 minutes.  Stir until smooth.  Scrape melted chocolate into one half, and stir in cocoa powder.  Add 1 tsp. corn syrup and additional hot water, one teaspoon at a time, keeping glaze very thick.

Using a small offset spatula, frost flat sides of cookie; one half vanilla and the other chocolate.  Let the frosted cookies dry completely.

As we strolled through the city, I munched on my Black and White cookie and enjoyed the views:

Well, success with the Black and White cookie still eludes me, but I’m not going to stop trying, and I’m hoping you’ll share any Black and White “secrets” you may have.

Wishes for a New Year filled with good health, peace and prosperity!


Look to the cookie!

0 thoughts on “The Black and White Cookie: A New York experience

  1. Khalil says:

    Agreed! The black and white cookie IS strangely hard to replicate at home. I’m convinced it’s because most NYC b&w cookies must come from the same commercial kitchen. The special ingredient they add is called “industrial”…it’s the only conclusion I have been able to come to. The difference we taste when we make them at home is simply home cookin’.
    PS – Come to the city soon to meet our girl!!! We’ll take you to Levain bakery–THE BEST COOKIES EVER!

  2. Ann says:

    I think you are SO right, Khalil! The girl in the deli actually told me that the frosting came from tubs! She started to say that the cookies were pre-made and they just bake them, but that owner appeared and the conversation ended quickly.

    Can’t wait for baby hugs and “the best cookies ever!”

  3. E says:

    Well said, by Khalil, that is. This sounds like one pursuit to let go of. You have so much more to chase after. Are you ready??

    Love, E.

  4. Lisa Keys says:

    The flavor/texture that eludes you might have something to do with the beautiful photos/memories of NYC (you know you can’t go home), but can you pinpoint what is missing? Is it in the cookie or the frosting? You know I love a good cooking challenge. One thing for sure-if you want more chocolate flavor bloom that cocoa powder in the hot water before adding to the recipe and if it is too strong/bitter switch to Dutch-process cocoa