Black & White Cookies

The perfect Black & White Cookie rides the line between cake and cookie. It’s topped with both vanilla and chocolate icing, which means you don’t have to choose. You get both flavors in one delicious treat.

About Black and White Cookies:

If you grew up in the New York City area as I did, or if you’ve ever visited NYC, or if you watch Seinfeld, you are probably familiar with the iconic Black & White cookie.

Never had one? Well, you’re in luck because you can make them at home. They look impressive, but are quite simple to make.

The quintessential Black & White cookie has a soft, cakey texture and a thin, snappy layer of frosting.

In my opinion, the ideal black and white cookie is soft but also has the crisp bite of a true cookie.

I made several specific choices for the ingredients and techniques in this recipe to achieve the perfect cake/cookie texture. To learn more about the ingredients and techniques you can scroll down to read the Pastry Chef tips.

Ingredients for this recipe

bowls of ingredients for black and white cookies on a white surface.

How to make Black & White Cookies

four bowl of cookie batter in progress.
  • Cream the sugar with the shortening and butter.
  • Add the wet ingredients.
  • Add the flour.
  • The dough will be quite soft.
Scooping cookie dough onto a tray. Flattening cookie dough by hand. A tray of cookies ready for the oven.
  • Portion out 12 cookies.
  • Use your hand to flatten the dough.
  • The unbaked cookies will look like small hockey pucks.
two trays of baked cookies and cookies on a cooling rack.
  • Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges.
  • Cool on a wire rack before icing.
Four bowls of icing. Three are vanilla one is chocolate.
  • Mix the water, vanilla and corn syrup into the powdered sugar.
  • Stir until smooth.
  • The icing should be thin enough to settle smoothly.
  • Make the chocolate icing.
a cooling rack with baked cookies. A bowl of vanilla icing and a bowl of chocolate icing.
  • Line up all the ingredients and get ready to ice the cookies.
1. A spatula icing a cookie with white icing. 2.  A tray of half iced cookies. 3. Icing a cookie with chocolate icing. 4. A tray of iced black and white cookies.
  • Ice the cookies first with the vanilla frosting
  • Then ice the other half with the chocolate frosting.
  • Allow the frosting to set before serving.

Pastry Chef tips for making the best Black & White Cookies:

  • To prevent the cookies from becoming too soft and cakey use all purpose flour rather than cake flour. All purpose flour is typical in cookie dough because it prevents the cookies from spreading too much. It also absorbs more moisture than cake flour. A lower moisture dough makes a crisper cookie.
  • To reinforce the crisp cookie texture use a mixture of vegetable shortening and butter. Butter contributes great flavor. Low moisture shortening creams up to a super light texture and keeps the dough from spreading too much in the oven.
  • This recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda for leavening. Baking soda neutralizes the small amount of acid in the buttermilk. The baking powder gives the dough extra lift to make wonderfully light cookies.
  • Add a little corn syrup to the icing and use very hot water. Corn syrup gives the icing a glossy sheen. Hot water melts into the sugar so the the icing is not gritty.
  • After scooping the cookie dough, flatten the tops with a wet hand. This prevents the cookies from forming a big dome while baking. You want a slightly rounded top on the cookies, but they’re better if they’re not too thick in the middle.
  • The cookies will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days.
  • The cookies can be frozen. Individually wrap each cookie or layer parchment paper between the cookies to prevent the icing from sticking.

To continue the black and white theme, you might want to try my Marble Layer Cake recipe or my buttery Marble Pound Cake.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

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5 from 4 reviews

Black & White Cookie Recipe

A Black & White Cookie rides the line between a flat cake and a cookie. It's topped with both vanilla and chocolate icing, which means you don’t have to choose. Get both flavors in one delicious treat.
Prep Time45 minutes
Bake Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
12 cookies
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  • 7 ½ oz all purpose flour (1 ½ cups, see note)
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 oz granulated sugar (¾ cup)
  • 3 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 ½ oz vegetable shortening
  • 1 each egg
  • 1 ½ oz Buttermilk (3 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract



Make the Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  
  • Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl and whisk to combine the ingredients.
    7 ½ oz all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon table salt, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • In a mixer bowl, cream the sugar with the butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
    6 oz granulated sugar, 3 oz unsalted butter, 1 ½ oz vegetable shortening, 1 each egg, 1 ½ oz Buttermilk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Using about ¼ cup per cookie, scoop or pipe the dough into 12 equal mounds. Moisten your hands with water and flatten the tops slightly. The cookies should be the shape of a small hockey puck.
  • Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and set in the middle, about 20 minutes. Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature.

Make the Icing & Finish

  • Combine the confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, 4 tablespoons of the hot water and the vanilla in a small bowl and whisk until smooth and glossy. The icing should be the texture of thick pancake batter. It should be spreadable but thin enough so that it smooths out as it settles.
    12 oz confectioner sugar, 2 teaspoons light corn syrup, 2 ½ oz hot water, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Put the cocoa into another small bowl. Add half of the icing from the first bowl and a tablespoon of hot water and whisk until smooth. If the icing is very thick, add more water, just a few drops at a time, to get the proper consistency. If the icing becomes too runny whisk in a little confectioner’s sugar to thicken it.
    1 oz dutch process cocoa powder
  • Flip the cookies over so the flat side is up. Ice half of each cookie with white icing and the other half with chocolate icing. Allow the icing to set before serving.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
You can pipe or scoop 24 cookies to make mini Black & White cookies.


Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 145mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 183IU | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I just made these for a verified black & white cookie fanatic and she raved! I followed your recipe exactly and was very impressed with the results. This is a keeper!