As a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve had a lifelong relationship with black and white cookies. And we’ve had our ups and downs.

See, the idea of the black and white – plain Jane on the bottom, sugar icing on top – meets all of my cookie requirements.

And visually, I can’t resist the clean, simple aesthetic – the symmetry, the black and white…..


But here’s the thing – they’re often just, meh. And sometimes just awful. No matter where I buy them. And I’ve bought plenty. While the icing ranges from good to acceptable (it’s pretty hard to mess up water and confectioner’s sugar), the cookie itself inevitably disappoints. Hard. Dry. Bland. Stale.

But I keep on keeping on, hoping that THIS will be the good one.

But apparently it was up to me to make it. So I did.

black and white cookies

{Cue angels singing}

Finally – the black and white cookie of my dreams!

Moist, tender,  flavorful cake. Not-too-thick icing. Perfect.

And easy too (wha? I could have been enjoying these all along???).

black and white cookies

And I learned the two most important things when baking black and whites:

1. If you think of these as little cakes, as opposed to cookies, you’ll understand exactly what you’re going for (in fact, legend has it that the cookies were the result of leftover cake batter that bakers made into cookies). They should not be hard, dry or crunchy. And flavorful enough to stand on their own, icing or not.

2. As adorable as the mini versions of these are, keep ‘em big. First of all, it’s more traditional. Second, the smaller cookies tend to be drier. And last, you will lose your mind frosting several dozen little black and whites. Unless you find that sort of thing therapeutic (??).

A small side story: when Mike and I were dating, he knew of my love of all things vanilla. So he found a bakery (now, sadly, closed) that would make up custom batches of “whites” – just for me.

black and white cookies

Now THAT’S love.

black and white cookies

baking tips and tricks
on weighing ingredients

Black and White Cookies
barely adapted from Martha Stewart

1 c. (5 oz.) flour
2/3 c. (3 oz.) cake flour
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
2 eggs
¾ c. (150 g.) sugar
½ c. milk
6 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ t. each vanilla and lemon extracts
2 c. (8 oz.) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 T. light corn syrup, plus more if needed
1 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper; set aside. Sift flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs to combine. Continue whisking and gradually add sugar, followed by milk, melted butter and extracts.

Pour liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and whisk till smooth. Cover and chill for one hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a  2-ounce scoop, drop five cookies per sheet, spaced 3” apart. Bake just until the edges are faintly brown, 12-15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool.

Prepare the icing: in a small bowl whisk the confectioner’s sugar with 3T. of hot water and the corn syrup. Using a small angled spatula, ice half of each cookie (or not). Return the cookies to the rack as they are iced.

Whisk the melted chocolate into the remaining icing till smooth. You may have to add additional corn syrup (between two and three tablespoonfuls) to thin it out to the desired consistency. Ice the second half of each cookie. Let cookies set for about 10 minutes.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver

Did you know that today is the anniversary of “Seinfeld”? So enjoy your cookies while watching this:

And  THEN, head on over to my friend Tiffanie’s blog, where she’s baking up some (wait for it) Drake’s cakes!

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