Black-and-White Cookies

My contribution to Day 3 of our little 12 Days of Cookies event is the Black-and-White Cookie, and to be honest, I’d never heard of them before.  I was simply attracted to the look of the frosting and the simple aspect of dark and light.  Well, and that cute little screen Gourmet has on their site with dancing Black-and-White cookies.

I had no idea that they were close to being a revered treasure to New Yorkers. Absolutely none.  Does it count that we have fish tacos?  Okay, so maybe not.

Black-and-White cookies are not really cookies, evidently.  And now that I’ve made my own, I’d agree.  Biting into one is more like biting into a piece of cake.  They’re light, they’re fluffy, and they’re less than fun to frost, but oh so worth it.

Do you think The NY Black-and-White Cookie Police will nab me because I used orange juice instead of lemon?  And sprinkles?

So far in this foray into Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies:  1941 – 2008, I’ve only experimented with new cookies. But I have nine days to go, so I’ll get to the older recipes soon enough and true to form, I’m already struggling with making the recipes exactly as written.  I can’t help it.  I’m incorrigible.

But these Black-and-White Cookies?  Oh.  My.  Forgive me for choosing not to make dainty proportioned cookies.

Black-and-White Cookies
makes 2 dozen

For the cookies…

1 1/4
cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt
cup well-shaken buttermilk
teaspoon vanilla
tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
large eggFor the icing…

2 tablespoons light corn syrup
teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
to 6 tablespoons water
cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder


Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing just until smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake, switching positions of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed, edges are pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a rack to cool.

While the cookies are baking, stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. If icing is not easilyspreadable, add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as vanilla icing. Cover surface with a dampened paper towel, then cover bowl with plastic wrap.

With offset spatula, spread white icing over half of flat side of each cookie. Starting with cookies you iced first, spread chocolate icing over other half.

Once icing is dry, cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 4 days.


  • I chose not to pipe these, but will the next time I make them since the shapes would be more uniform.
  • I baked these using a convection setting on two oven racks as directed.  I lined my baking sheets with silicone but did not switch pans halfway through the short cook time.  Although the cookies were evenly golden in color, some flattened out around the edges and some didn’t.  It didn’t matter where on the pan they were situated or which rack they baked on.  And since the butter was very soft, there were no clumps in the batter.  Quite the mystery!  But I trimmed the edges before frosting, and that helped make the shapes more uniform
  • I substituted fresh orange juice for the lemon in the icing.
  • I used a non-Dutch processed cocoa in the icing.
  • The icing is extremely thick so I began to add water immediately, stirring well with each addition.
  • Set iced cookies on baking racks as the frosting drips a bit as it dries.
  • Put sprinkles on immediately after frosting each cookie, or they won’t stick.

Don’t forget to visit the rest of our cookie crew testing Gourmet’s favorite cookies:  Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, Ben of What’s Cooking? and Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants.  I know they’ve got something delicious just waiting for you!