The first time I had a black and white cookie, I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with Andrew.  Ben and I went to have breakfast at a favorite bagel place in our hometown.  Apparently a large bagel and a chocolate milk weren’t quite enough to sate my already heightened appetite, and so I wandered back over to the pastry case.  My eyes immediately zeroed in on a black and white cookie as big as my head…really, I’m not exaggerating.  I bought it and snacked on it on the way back to the car and on the drive home.  The problem was that pesky Ben kept asking for bites when I really just wanted to devour it all on my own.  Eventually I wrapped it up, stuck it in my bag, hid it, and told Ben it was all gone.  (Mature, I know.)  Well, I hid it so well that I didn’t find it again until at least a couple of months later.  (Don’t worry, that wasn’t my regular purse.  Ha!)  When I found it again my knee jerk reaction, instead of the expected disgust at finding a two month old cookie, was major disappointment that I had not finished the whole thing.  It was one great cookie.

I have since been unable to find a black and white cookie that did justice to that fantastic bakery concoction.  And yeah, I know, it was from Indiana and not NYC but I’m telling you, it was great.  I’ve tried a few recipes at home but none have lived up to that infamous giant cookie.  This version, though, is finally one that I deem good enough to make again (and again).  The cookie is really more cake-like than cookie-like in texture, with just a hint of lemon flavor, and the whole thing is glazed with half vanilla/half chocolate topping.  I generally eat them symmetrically but end up saving a little more of the chocolate half for the end because, let’s face it, the chocolate is totally the best part.

One of my best friends, Shanon of The Curvy Carrot, moved away from me this year (::tear::) and though we’re in touch every day via text, email and phone calls, we decided baking together once a month would be a great way to stay connected.  This was our first joint baking adventure and I think we were both happy with the results.  Stay tuned to see what we baked together this month…it’s another good one!


For the cookies:
4 cups (16 oz.) cake flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1¾ cups (12¼ oz.) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. lemon extract
1 cup milk

For the glaze:
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
¼ cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
5 cups (20 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Milk, as needed


  • 01

    To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to combine, and set aside.

  • 02

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.  Add in the sugar gradually, increasing the speed to medium-high and beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Blend in the eggs, vanilla and lemon extracts at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low speed, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternately add the flour mixture in four additions and the milk in 3 additions just until combined.

  • 03

    Using a ¼-cup measuring cup and a spoon, place six ¼-cup mounds of dough a generous 2 inches apart on each baking sheet.  (The “dough” will seem more like cake batter, and you will probably think you went wrong somewhere.  Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be thin.)  With moistened fingers, gently press each mound of dough into a disk 2½ inches wide and ¾ inch thick.  Bake until the centers of the cookies are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes, rotating the baking pans halfway through the baking time.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes.  Use a wide spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.  Let cookies cool completely before icing.

  • 04

    To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, combine the corn syrup and water and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until combined.  Transfer ¾ cup of the vanilla icing to the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to combine.  (I found that the chocolate glaze was far too thick so I whisked in 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it had a consistency similar to that of the vanilla glaze.)

  • 05

    To glaze the cookies, place the cookies on wire racks set over waxed paper or foil.  Use a small offset spatula to spread about 2 tablespoons of the vanilla icing on half the flat side (bottom) of each cookie.  Tilt the cookie and run the spatula around the edge to scrape off excess icing.  Allow to harden slightly, about 15 minutes.  If the icing begins to thicken, stir in milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed.  Using the offset spatula, spread the chocolate icing over the other half of each cookie, scraping away excess icing from the edge.  Allow the glaze to set at least 1 hour before serving.  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container layered between sheets of parchment paper for up to 3 days.


  • Baking this way with your friend is such a great idea !

  • Tabbie

    Hi Annie!

    I think my reaction after finding that purse would be exactly the same ;O) LOL

    These cookies are available in every bakery in Germany and are called “Amerikaner” (–> Americans) here … They are a cookie classic since my childhood and I stll love them!

  • Wow – these look so good! We don’t have black and white cookies in the UK, but I’m seriously tempted to make them now!

    By the way I also made your chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes recently for a ‘cake club’ and I won a prize for best cake!

  • I think I may have to try these soon. What a fun way to keep in touch with Shanon!

  • I love that you guys “bake together.” I noticed both of you posted the same thing and until I read it, I was thinking, what a coincidence. They look great!

  • I’ve wanted to make these for a while now. They’re so pretty!

  • Such a great story you two:) And cannot wait to make the cookies as well:)

  • This looks yummy! I’ve wanted to try one of these cookies ever since that Seinfeld episode. Hahaha. I might have to give this a whirl!

  • Muah. Love you, girl!

  • Paula B.

    Loved the story and the cookie! These are also a popular bakery treat,locally,here in New England. Never thought to make them at home,can’t wait to try them,thanks for the recipe.

  • The first black and white cookie I had was from Fresh Market. When they first came to our town, about 5 years ago, their B&W’s were so good they almost tasted homemade. Sadly, they are now made off-site, frozen, and are about 1/2 their original size. I’ve longed for the days of that original cookie and have tried to duplicate at home but really none have been close. I’m bookmarking your recipe to try and hope it tickles my tastebuds the same way that first delicious bite did 5 or so years ago! Thanks for your persistence!

  • Nicole G

    Have never had one of these, although I remember the episode on Seinfeld about them ;) I am visiting NY this October and will definitley be devouring one! Yours are gorgeous, maybe I will make them and try one sooner!

  • Kerwin

    Did I miss the milk in the cookie part of the recipe?

    BTW, black and whites (or “Othellos” – like the reversi game) rock!

  • Kerwin

    Also, where do you buy cake flour? My market doesn’t have such a thing that I can find… thanks.

  • Melissa

    These look perfect, and while I’m totally a stuff-filled cookie girl, I have a soft spot for black and white cookies. One question though, there’s no milk listed in the cooke ingredients section but the directions say to add it in. How much? Can’t wait to try….though I’m sure mine won’t be nearly as pretty as yours!

  • I have never tried to make one of these. I grew up in Upstate NY, and I had them occasionally, but it’s definitely more of a NYC area cookie. Yours looks really good!

  • These remind me of the semester in college I spent in NYC, interning at NBC Studios. These giant cookies were in every corner shop. :) Ah, memories!

  • Erin – I’m also from Upstate, NY (Rochester)! Annie, this cookie looks delicious; I’ve only ever had a chocolate version with the two frostings (tasted more like a brownie), and I’m not sure what the traditional version is (chocolate or vanilla), but I bet this is just delicious! Thanks for posting!

  • Annie

    I corrected that. Sorry!

  • Annie

    It’s been corrected. Sorry!

  • Annie

    It’s been corrected. Thanks.

  • Annie

    That’s awesome!

  • Amy

    These look so yummy! I’ve never had a B&W cookie before. It’s really cool that you were able to spend time doing something you love (baking) with a great friend!

  • Annie

    I haven’t had any trouble finding it. It is in the baking aisle near other flours (usually in a box).

  • mmmmm…black and whites. I haven’t had a great one since college. I’ve got to give these a try soon!

  • I love black and white cookies, and your description of this recipe sounds like it’s the perfect homemade solution! As usual, your pictures & recipe are making me want to drop everything and start baking immediately.

  • Jen M O

    I went to Boston and brought home two black and white cookies for my two little ones. They were huge and looked delicious. They tried them and didn’t even finish half of it. I had to throw them out. I will definitely try these and maybe they will like them. These do look good!

  • There’s no shame in hiding treats from men, Annie. That’s the only way I get to eat any! :)

  • Michelle

    I love these cookies! I grew up in upstate NY, and they had these in all the little bakeries and grocery stores (but we called them half moon cookies). I live in Texas now, and no one here has ever heard of them. I’ve looked for a good recipe, and can’t wait to try this!

  • Yummy! Love these cookies! And I’ve found some of the best bakery concoctions in my favorite bakery in Laurel, MD (Cakes Plus). You can find some of the best stuff anywhere. :)

  • I LOVE black and white cookies and just crave them sometimes! Your story is is so funny– I would have been irritated at my husband if he tried to keep eating my black and white cookie too. :) Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Claire

    You and Shanon are my favorite food bloggers, and both of you truly inspire me–beyond the kitchen–with your heart-warming posts that always remind me to appreciate those around me and find the sweetness in each day! While that may sound cheesy, it really is the truth! My future surgeon sister is currently doing one of her surgical rotations here in Denver. She is on call this week end, so I am going to whip some of these up to bring to her at the hospital. Thank you for sharing, Annie!

  • Annie

    Aw, thank you so much Claire! That is very sweet of you to say. I’m sure your sister will very much appreciate that :)

  • annie, im soooo happy that you posted this!!! i too have been looking for a black and white cookie recipe that would do the bakery version justice:-) its a childhood favorite of mine that i have many memories attached to:-) your recipes never disappoint and i cannot wait to try this one out! thanks for sharing:-)

  • OH MY GOD annie, you are like the best chef that ive ever seen, i mean come on who has the imagination to do ALL this sweet delicious and perfect things, well let me answer that YOU, love your cooking, keep up :D

  • I had a little chuckle when I read that you actually hid your cookie in your purse and then proceeded to forget about it :) Your version of the black and white cookies look wonderful and that’s quite the balancing act on the rim of the milk glass for the second photo!

  • Ive never ever had a black and white cookie would you believe :( not a UK thing i guess! But i would love to try making them some day, do you have a suitable substitution for the corn syrup though..? I do hope the answer is yes! :)

  • Neera

    So funny, these are on my list to make today! I just saw your post and couldn’t believe I’m making the same recipe. I made the Gourmet recipe with the icings from Baked Explorations last week; really like them but thought I’d try the BI recipe as a comparison.

  • Mary

    I’m from Upstate to and very familiar with Black & Whites.
    These look so close to the real thing, I can’t wait to try them.

  • Oh, I made these a week and a half ago and have a posting scheduled for this Monday (while I’m on vacation in Boston!). They are the best, and it was so interesting to realize that no one in the Midwest was familiar with them until the Seinfeld episode. When I lived in Boston, I didn’t realize that it was a regional East coast cookie. I always eat mine straight down the middle and take little bites from each side to even things off so that I can take the next bite right down the middle again! Just seems to taste better that way. :-)

  • I had a black & white cookie this past January when I visited NYC. Fluffy’s bakery was just around the corner from my hotel and it was on my list of “New York foods” to try. It immediately became my favorite cookie! I loved it so much that I brought a few back as souveniers to my family! So excited when I saw that you had posted a recipe. Annie, I just love your blog! Your food just looks beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  • These look heavenly! Perfect for any party. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Pam

    These make me remember my childhood in NYC. We used to get these as a special treat at a local bakery. Thanks for sharing!

  • Steffi

    funny thing! in germany, we call them: amerikaner *lol*

  • Sarah

    Hello annie! These look so good. I am so happy I finally found a black and white recipe!!!
    I have one question though, when you put on the icing do you put it on the bottom side or the top? Because every time I eat a black and white cookie, it looks like the top is on the bottom.
    Thanks! :)

  • Annie

    Hey Sarah,
    Great question, and I meant to add that in the recipe. I like to glaze the flat side of the cookie and that’s what I did here. Some recipes say to do it this way, some don’t. I’ve tried both and I think it looks nicer when you glaze the flat side. I’ll change the recipe to indicate that. Thanks!

  • You know, I’ve never actually had a black and white cookie before. Now seeing your recipe and pictures, I may have to make them soon!

  • This is one of those recipes that you forget you are dying to try and then you see it look OH SO GOOD and you remember your NEED for it immediately!

  • My first Black & White Cookie experience was like yours. NOT at at NYC bakery, but at a Nashville “NY-style” deli. Except I was hungover, not pregnant. Ok… maybe my experience wasn’t so much like yours. LOL But I do know my “now husband, then boyfriend” kept asking for bites and it really annoyed me. I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe it took me so long to try one!

    Your cookies look delish!

  • Laura

    Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. Made these last night and they turned out great! Definitely will be making them again.

  • lee

    I just wanted to thank you so much for weeding through all the recipes out there and making it so easy for all of us to get it right the first time. I have made millions of your shared recipes and today I made these cookies. I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I grew up in Rochester, New York. These were a staple in my life. Recently, I purchased Black and White’s from Wegmans Food Market…they were fabulous…but, honestly, these were just as good! Thank you..oh and by the way…YOUR KIDS ARE ADORABLE!!!

  • Lori

    Annie – Thanks for posting one of my favorite cookies. I will have to try these real soon.

  • lee

    Oh and I gotta a giggle about hiding the cookie from Ben..”Mature, I know”…When I was little I would spit in my sister’s chocolate milk so I could also drink hers. (Disgusting, I know) BUT IT WORKED EVERYTIME..ahahahha

  • Joelyn Wong

    Annie, on top of this marvelous post can’t help but get so tickled with the part where you mentioned about Ben trying to get bites out of the cookie…. and you hiding it away….a stressful day is relieved through your blog and a great cookie recipe indeed, thank you as always.

  • Rachel

    Annie, I saw this and immediately had to make these for my dad’s birthday. They came out DELICIOUS. My only question is, my vanilla side did not look as white as yours after I added my vanilla extract. Do you have any hints for keeping the icing white?

  • Annie

    Hmm, I’m not really sure. There is so little vanilla I don’t think it should really effect the color of the icing. I suppose you could use clear/imitation vanilla if it’s a real issue but I just used regular.

  • Katie-Linda

    So glad to see the lemon extract in your recipe – a faint lemony taste is the mark of a TRUE b/w cookie!

  • Shiro

    I literally just shouted OH MY GOSH at the sight of a promising black and white cookie recipe. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Anne

    Do you have a chocolate version? We were visiting in NY and my son had a chocolate Black and White and preferred it over the regular ones. Thanks.

  • Sarah

    I made these last week, and they were delicious. But for some reason mine spread a lot, more than it should have. Do you have any idea of why it did, so next time it won’t happen again? I also used soy milk instead of milk, because I can’t have milk, and it turned out wonderful! Just like the store bought ones… but better. :)

  • Annie

    They are supposed to spread, and are pretty large cookies.

  • Olivia

    I just finished making these tonight. I popped them in the oven and within 5 minutes, they all fused together and made one big sheet of batter!!! I was so disappointed. Anyone have any tips? I followed the directions to a T, unlike the other reviewer who used soy milk.

  • Annie

    Did you measure your ingredients by weight or volume? It sounds like you needed more flour/dry ingredients so if you measured by volume, maybe be more heavy-handed next time.

  • Stella

    I dont have lemon extract so instead I used about a teaspoon of lemon zest and it came out so delicious! Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! My family loved it! Especially my brother who devoured more than half of them! :)<3

  • Hi Annie!

    Can you freeze these cookies once they’re done OR freeze the dough beforehand to bake them at a later date?

  • annieseats

    I haven’t tried freezing this particular recipe. Please see the FAQ page for more info. Thanks!

  • Danielle Capone

    SO excited to try this recipe out. I’ve searched and searched for one with rave reviews to know it was a good one, finally found one, even the pictures do them justice. The very first time I tried these cookies, I was on a little family trip with my then boyfriend (Now husband). His family are Italian and they bake cookies like you wouldn’t believe, we stopped by a deli.bakery called Caputo’s and they had them there and my father in law went crazy over them. When I confessed I’ve never tried one he immediately bought two boxes of them and made me try one, I ended up eating half a box by myself they were so delicious! I’ll let you know how they turn out, definitely making these later on in the week.

  • Jenny Yeger

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I just have one question. The recipe calls for 4 cups (16 ounces) of cake flour. Was this meant to be 2 cups (16 ounces) or 4 cups (32 ounces)? Pleas let me know.

  • annieseats

    You are confusing liquid and solid measurements. 1 liquid cup = 8 fluid oz. The weight of 1 cup by volume of something depends on what ingredient it is (i.e. 1 cup of powdered sugar is much lighter than 1 cup of flour, but both are 1 cup). The quantities are correct as written. Hope that helps!

  • Shelly

    The black and white cookie is my daughter’s favorite, she’s due with her first baby any day now, so I made them for her last night. They came out perfectly! Your detailed directions make the recipe so easy to follow, no surprises! They came out beautifully and I can’t wait to serve them to her today!

  • jordan

    This recipe looks so good and I am about to make them for my husband. They are his favorite and it will be the perfect anniversary present. Question: do you think I could cut the recipe in half? Then I could make one dozen large cookies. Thanks!

  • annieseats

    Sure, you can cut it in half. Enjoy!

  • DG_1977

    Hello! I grew up in a suburb of NYC and have lived in Manhattan since college. I LOOOOOOVE black & white cookies and although I’m not really a baker, I’m so sick of getting excited for a B&W only to realize that the white part of the top if hard. In my version of a perfect B&W cookie, the cookie IS cake-like (which you mentioned, so check!) but BOTH the black and white parts of the top are the same consistency, namely, the consistency of the chocolate part. Can you let me know if that’s the case with this recipe? Any bakers have insight on how to get that consistency for the white part as well? Thanks in advance!

  • annieseats

    Yes, to me, the chocolate and vanilla sides have basically the same consistency. Enjoy!