Black and White Cookies Recipe

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
5 from 5 reviews

Christmas recipes Cookies Desserts Holiday Food Recipes

Cook time Cook time: 18 minutes

Black and White Cookies are soft, pillowy, and buttery with a mix between a tender cookie and a cake. Topped with half chocolate and half vanilla icing, these large cookies are more like drop cakes. The soft texture and crackly glaze make these totally unique.

Serve these yummy treats as a dessert after a meal of our Instant Pot Mexican Rice made with rice, chicken broth, and taco seasoning. If you do not want to wait until dinner, go ahead and have them with this California Chicken Breakfast Burrito with avocado, cheddar cheese, and hot sauce. 

Also known as half-moon, cakey cookie, or unity cookies, these are the perfect way to take care of your cake and cookie cravings at the same time.

The gorgeous half-and-half icing gives them a sophisticated look making these cookies great for a party or a bake sale too.

For a completely different dessert, try this decadent Black Forest Cake. That also goes well with any themed holiday, especially Christmas.

Ingredients needed:

For detailed steps and measurements, scroll down to our printable recipe card. But these are the main ingredients you need for this black and white cookie recipe:

Cookie dough ingredients:

  • All purpose flour: Spooned and leveled.
  • Unsalted butter: Softened at room temperature.
  • Sugar: Granulated white sugar. 
  • Large egg: At room temperature. 
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract is best. 
  • Full fat sour cream: At room temperature 
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt.

Icing ingredients:

  • Confectioner’s sugar: Sifted before measuring. 
  • Whole milk: At room temperature.
  • Corn syrup: We used light but dark is fine too.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract.
  • Dutch processed cocoa powder: Or unsweetened natural if that is all you have. 
  • Salt

How do you make black and white cookies from scratch?

  1. Preheat: To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Prepare: Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients: Next, whisk the salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour in a medium bowl. 
  4. Mix: Then, using a large bowl and hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until it is smooth and creamy. Then add the vanilla and egg before beating on high for one minute. 
  5. Add dry ingredients: After scraping the sides of the bowl, add the dry ingredients from the separate bowl. Alternate this with the sour cream in three steps while beating on low speed. 
  6. Drop: Use a greased ¼-cup measuring cup to drop dollops of dough four inches apart on your prepared cookie sheets with six on each sheet.
  7. Bake: Finally, bake for 16 to 18 minutes until they are slightly brown on the edges. Let them cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Make the icing: To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar, six tablespoons of the milk, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Put one cup into a separate bowl and add the last tablespoon of milk and cocoa powder. Whisk thoroughly. 
  9. Ice: Then, spread the vanilla icing onto half of the cookies on the flat side. Put them in the fridge to chill before adding the chocolate icing so the two icings do not bleed together. 
  10. Serve: After you ice them all, let them sit for one hour before serving so the icing sets.


Recipe variations:

  • Lemon juice: You can add lemon zest, lemon extract, or lemon juice to give the cookies a nice zing.   
  • Orange zest: Similarly, try adding orange zest or extract.
  • Cake flour: Cale flour works well with this recipe as well. 
  • Vanilla fondant: Alternatively, vanilla fondant would be a great way to make the perfect half-moons on these cookies.
  • Chocolate chips: In addition, you can stir some mini chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Gluten-free: Also, you can make these with gluten-free flour, for a gluten-free alternative.

How to serve:

These delicious cake-like vanilla cookies are a great dessert for a dinner party or just a snack anytime. Try some of these serving suggestions.

  • Add a dollop of homemade whipped cream on top for extra creaminess.
  • These would be great with a glass of ice-cold milk.
  • Another way to enjoy these is with a mug of Irish coffee or hot chocolate.
  • Add colorful sprinkles on top for a festive look.
  • Serve with a dish of ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What flavor and texture is the black and white cookie?

This unique cookie has a distinct vanilla flavor, but it has both vanilla and chocolate icing. These are cake-like cookies with a thick and creamy icing that cracks when you bite it like a glaze.

It is not a difficult cookie to make, and our recipe is very easy. 

Where did the black and white cookie come from? 

According to history, black and white cookies were first served in New York City at a bakery in 1902.

Today, they are not as popular, but you can still find them in delis in upstate New York. 

These yummy little cakes may be making a comeback. Pop culture made them popular again on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a series on Amazon Prime.

They were served at the Carnegie Deli pop-up and the deli pack from Postmates. 

What are the six different kinds of cookies?

Each of the six cookie types is unique. The molded cookie is round and rolled then pressed into a shape like a peanut butter cookie is pressed with a fork.

Dropped cookies are those you just drop by spoonful or cookie scoop onto a cookie sheet like chocolate chip cookies. 

Rolled cookies are rolled flat and then cut into shapes such as Christmas cookies. Pressed cookies are made with a cookie press like spritz cookies.

Bar cookies are similar to cakes cut into bars similar to brownies. Last, no-bake cookies like oatmeal are not real cookies, per se, but are still delicious. 

How to store leftovers:

  1. Store: If you have any leftovers, they can be saved for up to three days in the fridge in an airtight container. Keep them separated with parchment paper so they do not stick.
  2. Freeze: For those cookies that did not get eaten in three days, they will stay fresh in the freezer for about three months.  
  3. Thaw: Remember to thaw these overnight in the fridge before serving for best results. 

More cookies:


Cooking tips:

  • It is best not to store the cookie dough before cooking. The baking powder activates when it gets wet, so it has to be used right away for the best results. 
  • Make sure everything is at room temperature before adding to the mix. Do not melt the butter or it will cause the cookies to spread too much.
  • If your batter is not thick enough, add two teaspoons of flour or cornstarch. 
  • It is important to use full-fat sour cream or full fat Greek yogurt.
  • To help the white icing set quickly, put them in the fridge after icing half of the cookie for 15 minutes so you can add the chocolate frosting.
  • Also, make sure your baking soda is fresh because it is essential to the texture and shape.
  • Finally, be sure to ice the flat side, not the rounded side that we normally consider the top of the cookie.
black and white cookies

Black and White Cookie

Black and White Cookies are soft, pillowy, and buttery with a texture that is a cross between a tender cookie and a spongy cake.
5 from 5 votes
Save Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 42 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 cookies
Calories: 466kcal
Author: Catalina Castravet


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (a bit more if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg (at room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream (at room temperature)


  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 7 tablespoons whole milk (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180°C).
  • Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream after each addition. Beat until fully combined, the batter will be extremely thick.
  • Using a greased 1/4-cup measuring cup or cookie scoop, drop mounds of dough 4 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, which is about 6 cookies per sheet.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before adding the icing.


  • Whisk the powdered sugar, 6 tablespoons of milk, the corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the mixture to a separate bowl, add the remaining milk and the cocoa powder. Whisk until combined.
  • Spread vanilla icing onto half of the cookies. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set. After that, spread the chocolate icing onto the other half and allow the icing to set completely, about 1-2 hours, before serving.


Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 74g | Vitamin A: 390IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg
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Leave a reply

Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

This looks really delicious! A perfect cookie!


katerina @

WOW! Such a beautiful cookie! I would love to make these for the holidays!


Beti | easyweeknightrecipes

These cookies are absolutely amazing! Perfect for the holidays!



These look amazing! The only thing better than cookies is cookies covered in frosting!



These cookies are seriously amazing!! Disappeared fast at my house!


George Robillard

While Black and Whites originated in NYC, half-moons originated in Utica, NY. Two different cookies


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