Black and White Cookies

Black and White Cookies

You don’t have to go to New York City to enjoy Black and White Cookies. Now you can make this NYC classic at home. These treats are specialty cookies where half of the cookie is frosted in chocolate, and the other half is frosted in vanilla.

five black and white cookies in a stack on a plate.

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New York Black and White Cookies

Black and white cookies (also known as half-moon cookies) are a beloved NYC tradition. These iconic cookies have a light cake-like texture and are topped with half white glaze and half chocolate glaze. They are more like small cakes than crunchy or chewy cookies. They also have a hint of lemon flavor.

These cookies were made famous to the rest of the world by an episode of Seinfeld entitled The Dinner Party, where he famously declaimed that they illustrated two races living side by side in harmony. Watch the Seinfeld Dinner Party episode. This black and white cookies recipe is for the New Yorker in all of us!

Why This Black and White Cookies Recipe Is One You Should Try

You will love the sponge-like texture (similar to cake) of these cookies with a sweet glaze topping, half vanilla and half chocolate. This is a tried and true recipe and will give you black and white cookies just like the ones in NYC delis and bakeries.

They’re surprisingly easy to make at home, and if you’ve got kids, you can have fun involving them in the frosting process (although you may have to sacrifice some neatness!)

These are great for taking to a potluck or if you’ve got a stray New Yorker around.

Best Black and White Cookies Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you will need:

Cookies

  • Cake flour
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Large Eggs
  • Whole Milk
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Lemon extract
  • Salt

Frosting

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Bittersweet chocolate (use a chocolate bar and not cocoa powder)
  • Boiling water
black and white cookies ingredients.

How to Make Black and White Cookies

Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and lemon extracts and mix until smooth.
  4. Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add some of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
collage of black and white cookies recipe steps.
  1. Continue adding the dry ingredients in batches and incorporating them into the batter.
  2. Use a cookie scoop to drop portions of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 375°F for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
collage of black and white cookies recipe steps.

Frosting

  1. Whisk enough water into the powdered sugar to produce a thick, spreadable mixture.
  2. Add the chocolate to half the frosting in a double boiler.
  3. Spread chocolate glaze on half of each cookie and white glaze on the other half.
collage of black and white cookies icing recipe steps.

Tips for Frosting Black and White Cookies

When frosting your cookies, draw a straight line down the middle with a small offset spatula or knife to get a nice clean edge. Allow one side to set before covering the other side.

To help the frosting set quickly, place the half-finished cookies into the fridge for 20 to 25 minutes. It helps get a clean line and prevents the colors from running together.

three black and white cookies on a wire rack.

Recipe Variations

This recipe makes large cookies. If you choose, you can opt for smaller dough balls and make mini black and white cookies. Minis solve the sweetest of dilemmas – vanilla first or chocolate first? If you can’t choose, mini cookies are just the right size to eat in one bite.

  • For vegan black and white cookies, use vegan butter and non-dairy milk.
  • For gluten-free black and white cookies, use gluten-free flour.
  • Don’t let black and white limit you. These cookies are easy to jazz up for a holiday or themed party with different colored frosting, sprinkles, or edible glitter.

Are Black and White Cookies Jewish?

Black and whites have been an established part of NYC’s very dynamic Jewish cookie scene for perhaps a century or more. These New York black and white cookies are even more ubiquitous than rugelach or chocolate babka and can be found in bodegas and bagel shops throughout the city.

However, these cookies didn’t necessarily begin life as Jewish cookies. They originated in Bavaria and emigrated to the United States with German immigrants who may or may not have been Jewish.

How to Eat a Black and White Cookie – There’s an Art to It!

To get that ideal combined taste of black and white in every bite, you shouldn’t just bite into your cookie without thinking!

What you must do is use a knife to cut off a slice from each side. Hold the two sides together, and voila! Each bite is perfectly balanced between black and white.

Keep going with more strips until you’re left with the final middle section, where black meets white. This way, you will enjoy the harmony until the very last bite!

What You Can Serve With Black and White Cookies

Enjoy a black and white cookie with a cup of coffee or tea. You could also serve these best black and white cookies as dessert.

How to Store These Cookies

These black and white cookies are best eaten within 24 hours, as this is when they will be at their softest.

However, they will still be tasty within 3 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you still have leftovers, store them in the fridge for another 1 or 2 days.

Can You Freeze Black and White Cookies?

Yes, you can freeze the baked but unfrosted cookies (or uncooked dough) for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw completely before glazing or baking.

four black and white cookies stacked and one beside them.

Check out more of my easy cookie recipes and the best recipes for Christmas on CopyKat!

Thanks to Karen Ann for sharing this recipe.

five black and white cookies in a stack on a plate.

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Black and White Cookies

You can make New York City classic black and white cookies at home.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Black and White Cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 48
Calories 160kcal

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate

Instructions

Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and lemon extract and mix until smooth.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches, stirring well.
  • Using a soup spoon, drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on buttered baking sheets.
  • Bake until the edges begin to brown, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely.

Frosting

  • Put the powdered sugar in a bowl. Stir in enough water to make the mixture thick and spreadable.
  • Transfer half of the frosting to the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Add the chocolate and warm the mixture until the chocolate is melted and the frosting is smooth. Remove from the heat.
  • With a brush, coat half of each cookie with chocolate frosting and the other half with white frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 66mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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