How to Make Black and White Cookies

Look to the cookie, and make it in your own kitchen.

The black and white cookie is an iconic, delicious symbol of New York and beloved by Jews. Can you remember the last Kiddush, bat mitzvah or bris when there weren’t black and white cookies served?!

To be frank, I was seriously intimidated to make these cookies. It seemed daunting. It seem unreachable. But it was much easier than I thought. You see, the name black and white cookies is a bit misleading. The batter for these cookies is closer to a thick cake batter, and they bake up quite fast.

What is essential is to allow the cookies to cool completely before icing. I recommend using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder for a delicious, chocolatey flavor. I also recommend two tools: an icing spreader/edge scraper for creating a very straight edge in the middle (though you can also use parchment paper) and a small offset spatula for spreading the icing.

Watch our short video below, and you will be amazed how easy it is to make these treats. Look to the cookie, indeed.

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black and white cookie

Black and White Cookies

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The iconic cookie of New York Jews.

  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 cookies


  • 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • cup (5 ⅓ Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 23 Tbsp milk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk, vanilla and lemon zest in a small bowl.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and mix again until well combined.
  4. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk mixture on a low speed until batter is well combined and smooth.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, place batter about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Dipping your pointer finger in water, smooth the edges of each cookie. (This step is optional, but will ensure a slightly more even shape).
  6. Bake 15-17 minutes, until tops are puffed and golden.
  7. Remove cookies from sheet and place on cooling rack to cool for at least 1 hour before icing.
  8. To make icing: whisk together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp milk in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more milk, 1 tsp at a time, until consistency is the same as white icing.
  9. Turn cookies upside down. Place icing scraper tool (or parchment paper) over half of each cookie and spread the uncovered halves with white frosting using a small offset spatula. Allow to set 10-15 minutes. When icing has set, frost the other side of the cookies with chocolate icing. Yes, you should start with the white icing.
  10. Allow to set another 10-15 minutes until serving.
  11. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • Author: Shannon Sarna
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Ashkenazi


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