Mini Black and White Cookies

February 19, 2014
4 Ratings
  • Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Author Notes

Black and white cookies are the perfect marriage of chocolate and vanilla, cookie and cake. They are a classic deli treat, usually about 5 inches in diameter, but here I've made them mini which I find is a much more reasonable amount of cookie. The icing contains one tablespoon of light corn syrup (which is not the same as high fructose corn syrup), but if you’d like to avoid it, just leave it out. The icing on your cookies will just dry a bit harder and it won't be quite as shiny as it would with the corn syrup. This recipe is adapted from Gourmet. —Yossy Arefi

What You'll Need
  • For the cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • For the icing
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the vanilla extract and egg and mix until well combined. Scrape down the bowl.
  4. Alternate adding in the flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 additions. Mix until just combined.
  5. Use a tablespoon measure (or pastry bag) to portion the cookies 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed gently and the cookies are a light golden brown around the edges. Cool completely.
  6. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the icing by whisking the confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and water together until very smooth. Remove half of the mixture to another bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder and espresso powder until very smooth. Add a few drops of water to the chocolate icing until it is a spreadable consistency. The icing should be thin enough that it is easily spreadable, but not runny. If it seems dry, add water 1/2 teaspoon at a time; if it is runny, add confectioner’s sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
  7. Flip the cooled cookies so their flat sides are up. Use an offset spatula or knife to spread vanilla icing on half of the cookies, then spread chocolate icing on the other half.
  8. Let icing set for a few minutes, then dig in. Store the leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • angco4
  • Carrie Combs
    Carrie Combs
  • Nancy
  • Muttersome
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com & yossyarefi.com.

23 Reviews

angco4 September 25, 2020
GREAT, and easy, recipe. Cookies tasted great, even though I made them a bit bigger than the recipe and baked them slightly longer. White icing is ALWAYS a problem when I make b/w cookies. It’s never WHITE. What is the trick to get them looking like the bright white frosting in the picture??
angco4 September 25, 2020
GREAT, and easy, recipe. Cookies tasted great, even though I made them a bit bigger than the recipe and baked them slightly longer. White icing is ALWAYS a problem when I make b&w cookies. It’s never WHITE. What is the trick to get them looking like the bright white frosting in the picture??
Carrie C. April 1, 2016
My results were sad - both pans deflated and looked (and tasted) like spread-too-thin sugar cookies. The second pan started to rise beautifully and I hoped would achieve the delicious cakey texture but deflated.

Is this a butter problem? Also, my oven runs for and I sometimes have to open it to check the thermometer, otherwise it gets to 400+ before I'm done baking.
karen January 18, 2016
These are now my favorite cookies..excellent recipe and great for parties. Be prepared to spend a bit of time getting the consistency of the frosting right. The white was initially too runny and the chocolate too stiff. Didn't use a piping bag - a small knife worked perfectly. Yum!!
Nancy June 10, 2015
Yes! These turned out delicious! I didn't use the piping bag because I usually leave so much batter in there. Mine turned out just a tad bigger but next time I'll use the bag method. I was surprised how easy it was to frost them perfectly. Takes a little playing with the icing to get the white one perfect.I never had B&W cookies before and I liked the soft texture. Thank you!
robins December 26, 2014
These are the very best black & whites I've ever made. Subbed whole wheat flour & the cookie was still completely delicious. Added a tiny dollop of butter to white icing, because it was too runny, to thicken it a bit. That helped, though I might try a small amount of cream cheese instead next time. Chocolate icing was a perfect consistency with the added cocoa & espresso powders. Highly recommend this recipe!
Muttersome October 25, 2014
I made these and they turned out great -- huge hit. I left the lemon out of the frosting because I didn't have any and just added a bit more water.
DAVILCHICK July 16, 2014
I think I had beginner's luck. The first time I made them, they were divine and a huge hit. So much so that I had friends ask me to make them some and, in exchange, they'd donate to my dog rescue. Well, I can not for the life of me get the icings to work again. I did double the recipe, so could that have been the problem? And then when I tried to redo it a third time I didn't divide the vanilla in half thinking I would just ice the vanilla side and then add the choc and espresso to what was left? Help!
DAVILCHICK July 6, 2014
HUGE HIT! When I posted on FB and when served to guests. I guess my idea of a TBS was not what Yossy meant because I only got 13 cookies out of the recipe but they did turn out to be about 3-4" in diameter. I'm thinking in order to get 3 dz cookies out of this they would have to be 2" in diameter? But many, many thanks for this recipe. I wish you could have seen everyone's eyes light up with they saw them.
Trisha J. March 20, 2014
I have tried this recipe twice and it didn't work for me. They came out like cakes .... Used the exact recipes stated. What am I doin wrong?
ripe March 20, 2014
You may not be doing anything wrong. Black and white cookies are... cakey! Kind of like madeleine cookies - they are (in my exeperience) very cakey cookies.
Judith A. March 10, 2014
I grew up in NY (Bronx)and have always loved these cookies. Left in 1990 and was never able to find a store or bakery that had them. Can't wait to try making them. It'll be like going home.
crsinbos March 8, 2014
Just finished icing these and they and taste wonderful. Corn syrup helps the spreadability as well gives a final glossy, smooth finish. Even though I was not spreading evenly, the corn syrup covered my mistakes. Definitely a winner; like others, it brings back childhood memories, but being more mindful of portion sizing.
Ivan F. March 8, 2014
I didn't try to make it yet...the ones I like have lemon flavor in the cookie, not in the frosting. There is a special kind of white frosting you can buy, but I forget the name of it. Hope someone can remind me.
kzmccaff March 8, 2014
Currently making these and having some issues with the icing. 1st, the vanilla icing tasted weird with the lemon juice. So, we did a version without the lemon based on our taste. Then, we could only add 3 tbs of cocoa powder before the icing was SO rich that we couldn't imagine adding more. Then, when we got to the icing step, the vanilla icing slid right off of the cookies! We added quite a bit of powdered sugar (1/4 C to the vanilla half) but it still happened! And it was translucent not opaque. Hmmm. Wonder what the issue was. Any ideas?
Paula Z. March 8, 2014
You may want to try and omit the corn syrup, I never used it in sugar icing. Just stir until it is really smooth and glossy. Don't add all the water at once, rather add the lemon juice and vanilla, then stir and add a scant teaspoon of water at a time as needed. You don't want to have thin icing, that will slide right off before it sets. You may have to add a bit more water for the chocolate part. Look to achieve the same consistency. Hope this helps.
kzmccaff March 10, 2014
Thanks!!! The chocolate was the better consistency of the two (we added a little water), and I bet that's exactly why--small additions. Thanks!
kzmccaff March 10, 2014
Also--the cookies were delicious despite my icing issues!
ripe February 23, 2014
My favorite, too! I am always on the hunt for a good black and white cookie and I just whipped these up in less than an hour! I eliminated espresso powder which I assume made the chocolate less rich, but still very enjoyable. I also subbed in 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour and they were still delish.
Allison F. February 23, 2014
We used decaf instant coffee that I had in the house and it worked. For such a small amount I chose not to make a run to the grocery store. I imagine fresh espresso powder would have given the chocolate icing a more robust flavor, but I am happy with how they turned out.

Made these with my 14 year old this afternoon, and they came out great. The recipe is easy to follow, complete and reminiscent of the black and whites I would get from the local bakery growing up in NYC.
barb48 February 23, 2014
Ah, good idea, thanks. I have regular instant and will try that.
barb48 February 22, 2014
What can I sub for the espresso powder, or can I just eliminate it altogether? (
cucina D. February 19, 2014
my favorite... so nice to see these in mini size. I always have to share the deli ones and I don't share well :) great job and thank you for the food share.