Black and White Cookies
Part chocolate-part vanilla. Part cake-part cookie. Black and White Cookies are an iconic treat in the New York City area…and they’re delicious!
Chocolate lovers rejoice…and vanilla lovers rejoice! This recipe for Black and White Cookies represents the best of both worlds. ½-chocolate, ½-vanilla. ½-vanilla, ½-chocolate. No matter how you look at it, these cookies offer something to everyone!
But the real question is how do you eat Black and White Cookies? Do you nibble off all of the chocolate side first? Or perhaps you go into the vanilla first and leave the chocolate for last? Or maybe you throw all caution to the wind and just go right down the middle? I’ve tried each of these strategies…and I honestly don’t have a favorite method. At the end of the day, you’re eating a delicious cookie, and each method has its merits.
Black and White Cookies
Also known as half-moon cookies or half-and-half cookies, Black and White Cookies are a classic cookie in the New York City area. It’s an unwritten rule that any self-respecting bakery in NYC must have these cookies in the display case. And folks have strong opinions about which bakery makes the best version. I get it. These are delicious cookies!
According to food legend, Black and White Cookies originated in New York City sometime around 1900. Their popularity spread quickly, and today they are a staple sweet treat in New York. It seems these cookies even made a jump across the Atlantic during WWII as there is a similar cookie in Germany called an “Amerikaner.”
If you’ve never eaten these cookies, then put ’em on the list! These cookies are unique. We’ve already touched on the chocolate-vanilla combination, but the cookies themselves are also a bit different.
Perhaps taken from the Southern teacake, Black and White Cookies are a cake-like cookie. These aren’t chewy chocolate chip cookies or crispy gingersnaps. Nope, these cookies are dome-shaped and the texture is a bit more like cake than cookie. In fact, the dome shape leads to an interesting point – you actually flip these cookies over and frost the bottoms. (The bottoms of these cookies are flat, so that prevents any trouble with the frosting running to one side or the other.)
If you’re looking for a unique and delicious cookie to make at home, then put these Black and White Cookies on the list! We love ’em here in our house, and a tray of these cookies is always met with a big smile. Happy baking!
Did you make a batch of these cookies at home? Leave a comment, or better yet snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Black and White Cookies
For the Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
For the Glaze
- 3¾ cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2½ Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 5-8 Tbsp hot water
- 4 oz. semisweet chocolate melted
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
For the Cookies
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper; set pans aside.
- Using a large bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir until well combined; set bowl aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest; set bowl aside.
- Using a countertop mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (~3-4 minutes on medium speed).
- Add eggs; mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add ½ of the flour mixture; mix on low speed until well combined.
- Add ½ of the sour cream mixture; mix on low speed until well combined.
- Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream mixtures. (Note: Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.)
- Using an ice cream scoop (or a ¼-cup measure), drop ¼ cup scoops of batter onto the prepared baking pans. (Note: Leave 2” of space between scoops. I put 6 scoops on each pan.)
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until centers of cookies are springy to the touch.
- Let cookies cool on pans for 15 minutes and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack until completely cool.
For the Glaze
- Using a medium bowl, add confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract and 5 Tbsp of hot water; whisk together until well combined. If needed, continue adding hot water 1 Tbsp at a time until the glaze is thick but spreadable. (Note: Err on the side of too thick rather than too thin!)
- Flip each cookie over and use an offset spatula to spread glaze over half of the flat side. Place cookies back on cooling rack. (Note: You will have leftover glaze.)
- Stir the melted chocolate into the remaining glaze. Add cocoa powder and stir until glaze is smooth. Add enough hot water (2-3 Tbsp) to create a thick, but spreadable glaze.
- Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate glaze evenly on the other half of the cookies.
- Let glaze set for 1-2 hours before serving.
Looking for more tasty cookie recipes? Check out some of our other favorites:
Spiced® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that spicedblog.com receives a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and other sites at no cost to the readers.
Cant wait to make this soon for me can i use vegan butter i never had black and white cookies before i love chocolate sooooooooooooo much perfect for my after office snacks love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work
I would think vegan butter would work here, Ramya, but I haven’t tried it myself. I’m not sure if you need to make adjustments when baking with vegan butter? I do recommend trying this cookies, though. They are a classic New York City bakery treat…and they’re delicious!
Black and white cookies eh? Well I’m getting my Christmas baking list together now David and these cookies could be on it. I can see these going down really well with the family on Christmas morning.
These are definitely a delicious and unique cookie, Neil. It’s cool how you flip ’em over and frost the bottoms – I mean it makes sense because the bottoms are flat, but still. These are ALL OVER New York City, and for a good reason. They’re tasty! 🙂
these look like Neenish tarts! So pretty, and i think vanilla and chocolate are both fabulous.
Hmmm, I haven’t heard of Neenish tarts. I’ll have to go look those up now! I just looked ’em up – they’re similar for sure, but Neenish tarts look like they have a filling inside. How fun is that?!
Need to try these cookies! Maybe for my Christmas cookie box this year 🙂 Love how they have the best of both worlds!
These cookies are a classic in NYC – and for good reason! They’re delicious. 🙂 I hope you enjoy these as much as we do…err, did…in our house!
David, I don’t have any answer on how to eat these cookies properly, either. I’d suggest this approach: every time you want a cookie, you’ll need to grab three cookies and eat them three different ways. I mean, it’s not because we cannot say “no” to a cookie – it’s simple because we would like to be fair and not biased, right?
Hmmm, you make an excellent point here, Ben. While there is no right way to eat a Black and White Cookie, you can still have a favorite way. And how do you figure out your favorite way unless you try several different ways each time? I like the way you think! 🙂
What a great cookie! I’m not certain which side to start on….maybe I’ll bite so I get half of each one! 🙂
I like the way you think, Kathy! You can never have enough cookies. 🙂
I love Black and White cookies, but have never made my own (so good and always remind me of a very funny episode of Seinfeld – did you see it?)! Definitely need to try these over the holidays!
Oh I know exactly which episode of Seinfeld you’re talking about, Marissa – I love that show! 🙂 Definitely try a batch of these over the holidays. They’re delicious!!
I’m always looking for new cookie ideas and this one definitely has my interest. I love both chocolate and vanilla so I’m in on both sides but probably would start with chocolate. I would have to say chocolate always calls my name. Thanks so much David.
These are really fun cookies, Kristy! They’re a classic New York bakery item – I’d dare to guess that every bakery near New York City makes these. They’re fun to make at home, and the chocolate + vanilla combo always catches folks’ attention! Give ’em a try!