Black and white cookies are soft, lightly lemon-scented cookies with two types of frosting: half vanilla icing and half chocolate icing. These pillowy soft cookies are a New York classic, and a trip to Manhattan isn’t complete without one.

 

Five black and white striped cookies on parchment paper.

If you’ve never had a black and white cookie, also sometimes called a half and half cookie, please, add this cookie to your must-make list this year! The internet tells me that black and white cookies originated from a bakery in Manhattan called Glaser’s Bake Shop, and white I haven’t had one from that exact shop, I have eaten many a black and white cookie in New York. Also, I’ve eaten a lot of mini New York cheesecakes in my day.

The flavor combination of lemon, vanilla and chocolate altogether is just so good! These cookies are soft, almost like a muffin-top cookie but with crisp, buttery edges. You have to try them if you love soft cookies with icing, like lofthouse cookies!

Black and white striped cookie with a bite missing.

Ingredients for black and white cookies:

  • butter: This is a small batch recipe, so we only need 2.5 tablespoons of unsalted, softened butter.
  • sugar: Granulated sugar is what we need.
  • lemon zest: Use a microplane to finely grate just 1/4 teaspoon of lemon zest.
  • vanilla extract: I always recommend pure vanilla extract, not the artificial stuff.
  • flour: Standard all-purpose flour for baking.
  • salt: fine sea salt; just a pinch
  • baking soda: These cookies are slightly domed and fluffy, and the baking soda creates that texture.
  • egg yolk: We need just the yolk from the egg; reserve the white for another use. Here is a list of recipes for egg whites.
  • milk: Milk makes these cookies soft, and I always recommend whole milk for baking.
  • powdered sugar: The frosting for these cookies is powdered sugar and hot water based. The white side of the cookie has vanilla, while the chocolate side has cocoa powder.
  • cocoa powder: Just a small amount for the chocolate glaze.

Lots of bowls of ingredients for cookies.

How to make black and white cookies:

  1. Beat together with an electric hand mixer the softened butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract. 
    Bowl with butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla.
  2. After the mixture is well-blended, add the egg yolk and beat again to combine.
    Bowl of bright yellow cookie dough enriched with egg yolks.
  3. Next, add the flour, salt and baking soda and mix for a few seconds before sifting the flour and baking soda on top.
    Flour sifting into bowl with dough.
  4. Using the hand mixer to beat in the flour mixture, and then add the milk.
    Cookie dough with a splash of milk on top.
  5. Scoop out 10 balls of dough using a tablespoon measure, and evenly space them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350-degrees Fahrenheit. Let the cookies cool before making the icings.
    Nine baked cookies on a baking sheet.
    6. While the cookies cool, whisk together the icing ingredients in two separate bowls. Add cocoa to on bowl to make chocolate frosting. Spread the white icing on first, and then let it set in the fridge before doing the chocolate side.
    Bowl of vanilla icing next to chocolate icing.
    Cookies half dipped in white frosting.

These black and white cookies are soft and cakey, so they store best on the counter at room temperature, but tightly wrapped or seal in an air-tight container. 

If you love these, you’ll like my black and matcha cookies that are just like this, but the white icing contains matcha. You can also add crushed freeze-dried raspberries, strawberries or blueberries to dye the white icing other colors and flavors. This recipe makes 10 cookies, which is the perfect small batch recipe!

Black and white cookies on a baking sheet tray.

Yield: 10

Black and White Cookies

Black and white striped cookie with a bite missing.

A small batch of classic New York black and white cookies.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 
1/4 teaspoon (packed) lemon zest
  • 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
 extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 
1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 
1 egg yolk from 1 large egg
  • 
1/4 cup milk

For the frosting:

  • 
2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    2. In a medium bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla.
    3. Add the egg yolk and beat to combine.
    4. Place a sifter over the bowl and dump in the flour, salt and baking soda.
    5. Mix lightly before adding the milk all at once. Beat until just combined--do not over mix.
    6. Use a tablespoon to make 10 cookies on the baking sheet.  Lightly press the cookies to flatten them out. Bake for 10 minutes. You may test for doneness by using a toothpick. Let sit on the cookie sheet 3-4 minutes before moving the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
    7. Next, make the frosting: In two small bowls, place 1 cup of powdered sugar in each. Add the cocoa powder to one of the bowls.
    8. Add half of the vanilla and 2 teaspoons of hot water to each bowl and stir vigorously with a fork to form a smooth icing.
    9. Traditionally, these cookies are iced on the bottom but I just can’t bring myself to frost anything but the top. On whichever side of the cookie you choose, spread one type of icing on half of the cookie. Let cookies set in fridge for a few minutes before spreading other half with opposite icing.

Did you make this recipe?

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