New York Black and White Cookies are cake-like cookies covered in both vanilla and chocolate fondants. They are large and dramatic, with lots of vanilla and a hint of lemon.
For decades, Black and White Cookies have been a staple New York City Bakeries. However, having lived my entire life in Colorado, the first time I had ever heard of the iconic cookies was after purchasing The All-American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett.
Nancy included a recipe for Black and White Cookies that had come from a former New Yorker who made them every time she was craving a taste of home. I just liked the look of them. So I made a batch, and my kids went crazy for them. Who am I kidding? I went crazy for them. They are delicious.
I made Black and White Cookies many times before I'd ever even had the chance to go to New York and try an authentic New York Black and White Cookie. Before leaving on a family Christmas trip to New York City, my son and I made a deal to purchase a Black and White Cookie every time we had the opportunity to do so. And we did. We tried Black and White cookies from all over the city and discovered how different they can be from bakery to bakery.
The Many Varieties of Black and White Cookies
In some NYC bakeries, the Black and White Cookies were very much like little cakes, while in others, they were more flat and cookie-like. Some contained a trace of lemon, others did not. Some were very sweet, others were just barely so. Some had a lot of vanilla, others had very little.
The black and white icing was also remarkably different depending on the bakery. Sometimes the cookies were topped with very fluffy frosting, similar to a buttercream you might use to frost a cake. Others were topped with a thin glaze, and some were covered with fondant.
After trying more Black and White Cookies than I care to admit, we decided that we preferred ours to be slightly more cookie than cake, with a lot of vanilla, a touch of lemon, and covered in fondant rather than frosting. That's what you'll find in this Black and White Cookie recipe.
Having been to New York several times since I first discovered Black and White Cookies, I now mostly make them when I miss that amazing city. (Well, that or Cheesecake or Babka.) All are a poor substitute for the city itself, but when I can't get myself to New York, it's a pretty good way to bring the city to me.
How to Make New York Black and White Cookies
Making the cookies themselves is pretty straight forward. Beat butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar until very light and fluffy. This process is important because it incorporates air into the batter by trapping it in the molecules of fat, ensuring that the cookies will be light and tender. Then, beat in some eggs, a touch of corn syrup, and both lemon and vanilla extract.
Mix in flour, baking soda and salt, and add it to the butter-sugar mixture in alternating additions with some sour cream. One of the things that gives Black and White cookies their tender, cake-like texture is the inclusion of sour cream. It adds acid to the dough, tenderizing the texture of the cookies while reacting with the baking soda to help them remain light and fluffy.
Let the dough sit for a few minutes, which allows it to firm up. Then use a ¼ cup measure to scoop out portions of dough, plopping them down onto parchment lined baking sheets. The cookies will spread quite a bit while they bake, so don't try to get more than 9 cookies on a large baking sheet (fewer if using a small baking sheet) and make sure they are spaced at least 3-inches apart.
Spray your hands with a bit of non-stick spray to keep the cookie dough from sticking to them, then shape the mounds of dough into fat disks, about 3-inches in diameter. Bake the cookies just until they are set and the edges are barely beginning to brown.
Decorating Black and White Cookies with Fondant
I have found that the easiest way to cover black and white cookies with fondant is by using a decorator bag fitted with a small round decorator tip. You can also fill a decorator bag with fondant and then simply snip off the tip of the bag, eliminating the need to fit the bag with a round decorator tip.
Pipe a line of white fondant down the center of each cookie, then simply fill in one side of the cookies with white fondant and the other with chocolate.
The most important thing about the fondant is the consistency. The consistency should be similar to heavy cream. You want it to run and spread as you pipe it, covering the cookies in a smooth, thick layer. If the fondant is thin and watery, simply whisk in a bit more powdered sugar. If it's too thick to spread over the cookies on its own, thin it out with a bit of hot water.
Be sure to let the fondant dry before storing the cookies in an airtight container. The cookies will keep for about a week. Although, they never last more than a day or two at my house because none of us can stop eating them. 🙂
For the Cookies:
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon table salt (2 ½ teaspoon kosher salt)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 sticks (1 cup/ 8 ounces) of salted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ cup full-fat sour cream
For the Chocolate and Vanilla Fondants:
- 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ¾ cup water
- 7 ½ cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
- ½ teaspoon table salt (¾ teaspoon kosher salt)
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the Cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in the center of the oven. Cover 1-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. (You'll bake the cookies one sheet at a time, 9 cookies per sheet.)
- In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir with a wire whisk just to combine.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, butter and shortening. Beat on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. Add the eggs, corn syrup and extracts and beat on medium speed until completely combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add about half of the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Add the sour cream, and continue to beat on low speed to incorporate. Beat in the remaining flour mixture just until combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough sit on the counter for about 10 minutes, which will allow the dough to firm up a bit.
- Use a ¼ cup measure to scoop out portions of dough, plopping them down onto the parchment lined baking sheets. (See photos above.) The cookies will spread as they bake, so do not put more than 9 balls of dough on each baking sheet and make sure they are spaced at least 3-inches apart.
- Spray your hands with a bit of non-stick spray and shape the mounds of dough into fat disks that are about 3-inches in diameter.
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12-14 minutes, until they are just set and the outer edges are just barely starting to turn a light brown.
- Remove sheets to a wire rack and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the wire racks to let cool completely before frosting.
Make the Fondants:
- Lay cookies out on wire baking racks with sheets of parchment or aluminum foil underneath to catch fondant drips. Fits two decorator bags with a small round decorator tip. You can also simply snip off the tip of a pastry bag after filling it with fondant. Set the pastry bags said while you prepare the fondants.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium size bowl and set close to the stovetop. Add the corn syrup and water to a medium size saucepan and cook over medium-high heat just until the mixture boils. Remove from the heat and add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating with a wire whisk to combine after each cup is added. Add the vanilla and whisk until completely smooth.
- Pour 1 ½ cups of the vanilla fondant over the chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes and then stir the chocolate fondant until smooth. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely: set the bowl over a small saucepan filled with an inch or two of boiling water. Continue to stir, allowing the steam from the water to gently heat the bowl and melt the chocolate.
- Both of the fondants should be the consistency of heavy cream - thin enough to pour and spread, but not watery. To thin fondant that's too thick, add very hot water, one teaspoon at a time. To thicken fondant that's too thin, add additional powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time.
- Fill one of the pastry bags with vanilla fondant. Pipe a line down the center of each cookie, then fill in one side with vanilla fondant.
- Fill the second bag with chocolate fondant and fill in the other half of the cookies. If the chocolate fondant has thickened up too much while icing the cookies with vanilla, reheat by placing the bowl over a small saucepan filled with an inch or two of boiling water. Let the steam reheat the fondant while stirring constantly. You can also thin it by stirring in very hot water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Let the cookies sit on the wire racks until the fondants have set up completely, at least 2 hours. Store the cookies in an airtight container, layers separated with parchment paper, for up to 1 week.
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Ateco 810 - 10 Piece Plain Tube Set, Stainless Steel Pastry Tips, Sizes 0 - 9
Ateco Disposable Decorating Bags, 21-Inch, Pack of 100
New Star Foodservice 42917 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups Combo, Set of 8
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Large Classic Cookie Sheet
Baker's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate Bar, 4 Oz (Pack of 4)
Watkins Pure Lemon Extract, 11 oz. Bottle
Rodelle Gourmet Pure Vanilla Extract, 8 Oz
Nutrition Information:Yield: 26 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 273mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 1gSugar: 35gProtein: 3g