Black and White Cookies

Black and White Cookies are soft cookies, that are a NY classic cookie recipe

Black and White Cookies are a classic NY cookie recipe. These cookies are soft, cakey, with the perfect, tender crumb, and they’re topped with sweet, glossy, vanilla and chocolate icing!

Oh friends!! Not only do we have a classic cookie recipe today it is also the 9th day in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies!! I can’t believe we are in the home stretch! If you have missed any of the first 8 days, I am recapping all the recipes at the bottom of this post!

NOW! Black and White Cookies!! Have you ever had one? Heard of them?

Black and White Cookies are tender, cakey cookies

What are Black and White Cookies?

If you are a New Yorker…or heck, even a Seinfeld fan, chances are you are super familiar. If not, let me tell you a little about Black and White Cookies. There are a few different versions…one is a shortbread-style cookie, topped with fondant. The other is a domed cookie, that is basically half cookie/half cake…the perfect combination of the two, in my opinion…and they’re topped with a glossy, sweet icing, always half chocolate/half vanilla. I’m sharing the domed, cakey cookie today, because that’s what I consider a true black and white.

According to a little internet research there are a few bakeries that claim to have invented the Black and White Cookie…Glaser’s Bake Shop and Hemstrought’s Bakery. It is said the two bakeries share a common German heritage, and the cookie is a German recipe called Amerikaner.

Look, I don’t know about all that, but I do know it’s a fun cookie to serve, it looks great on a holiday cookie platter, and if you’re ever in NYC you have to try one. It’s part of the experience! BUT if you have no NYC trips planned, no worries, make them yourself!

This black and white cookie recipe is easy to make

Like I said before, the cookie is the perfect combination of cake and cookie. It’s a buttery, vanilla cookie with a tender crumb. AND the fun part is you frost them with vanilla and chocolate icing! In NYC they put the icing on the flat part of the cookie, but I have seen it done both ways.

I kept it classic and iced the flat side.

Black and White cookies are soft, cakey cookies topped with vanilla and chocolate icing

I like to use a dark cocoa powder for the chocolate icing, to give it that almost black appearance. The icing is a simple powdered sugar icing that sets up nicely, so gifting these cookies is easy!

This recipe makes 8 LARGE cookies, which is how they are sold in NYC. You can certainly make them smaller if you prefer. Just adjust the baking time down a little bit!



Black and White Cookies

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield Yield: 8 large cookies 1x
  • Category Category: Cookies
  • Method Method: Baking
  • Cuisine Cuisine: Dessert


Black and White Cookies are a NY classic cookie recipe.



  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the egg, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Turn mixer to low and add in the flour and buttermilk in alternating portions, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined and smooth.
  5. Using a large cookie scoop (3- tablespoon sized) portion out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet 2- inches apart.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden and the tops are set.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. When the cookies are cooled, create the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and milk together. Divide the icing in half and add in the cocoa powder to half of the icing. You might need to add an additional teaspoon of milk to the chocolate glaze so it’s spreadable.
  9. Using an off-set spatula spread on the flat side of each cookie with white icing on half and chocolate icing on the other half. Allow the icing to set completely.


Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Keywords:: cookies, black and white, recipe, new york, icing

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Catch up on all the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies

Day 1: Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Day 2: Crock Pot Peppermint Pretzel Candy

Day 3: Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Day 4: Peanut Butter Balls

Day 5: Cookies and Cream Marshmallow Bars

Day 6: Gingersnap Cookies

Day 7: Cranberry Pistachio Bliss Bars

Day 8: Frosted Egg Nog Cookies

Day 9: Black and White Cookies

Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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December 21, 2020 6:50 pm

Hi Shelly….Can I substitute the buttermilk with whole milk or something else?

Laurie A Garner
November 11, 2020 10:13 pm

I moved to upstate New York in 1999, and I learned a lot of new things that I didn’t know while growing up in California. One of them was about the near battle between two kinds of cookies: there are two very distinct New York cookies that are similar to the ones you’re have presented here. One comes from New York City, and has a crisp cookie with a very hard glaze. It mimics royal icing, though I’m not sure that’s what it really is. The chocolate side does look truly black as they do in the pictures of your… Read more »

July 5, 2019 9:00 pm

We from western new york called them moon cookies

December 23, 2018 11:04 am

Hemstrought’s does not make black and white cookies. They make Half Moon cookies. There is a difference and there is no comparison.

February 7, 2019 11:59 am
Reply to  Nora

No need to be so rude. Sheesh

December 17, 2018 11:43 pm

Amazing classic NY cookie recipe!

December 14, 2018 11:01 am

I can’t wait to make these! If I were to make ahead, can I freeze after they’ve been frosted?

Jennifer M.
December 4, 2018 2:44 pm

These look wonderful, but the original Black and White cookies were called Half-moon Cookies from an old bakery in Utica, New York, and they have a chocolate cookie. We used to go shopping with our grandmother in Norwich, NY and have lunch at the Bluebird Restaurant that got them fresh from the bakery in Utica. They were about 4″ across and we were diligent about eating all our lunch so we could have one for our dessert! What a great memory. I found the original recipe but I can’t remember the name of the bakery so you can look it… Read more »

Misty Smith
December 4, 2018 9:43 am

They look delish!! My sisters birthday is coming up and I would love to make these for her. Do you have to use cake flour or could you use all purpose flour?? Can’t wait to try these!!

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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