Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram RSS Feed

Classic Deli-Style Black and White Cookies

Feeling nostalgic? Us too. On a rainy late-winter day, there’s nothing like the comfort of baking cookies…cookies that you’ve known since you were a kid. These classic oversized black and white cookies – found in just about every New York deli – fit the bill with a light, cakey body and creamy frosting on top.

black and white cookies

We found an original black and white cookie recipe from Zabar’s in one of our favorite cookbooks of all times; The New York Cookbook from Molly O’Neill. This book is a treasure-trove of stories, pictures, anecdotes, and classic New York recipes, from five-star restaurants to neighborhood potlucks. The black and white cookie recipe is just one of a bunch of favorites we have bookmarked, from George Washington’s tea cake, to an award-winning latke recipe.

Classic Black and White Cookies

The classic black and white cookie from Zabar's, adapted from The New York Cookbook by Molly O'Neill.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2 dozen cookies
Author Adapted from The New York Cookbook by Molly O'Neill


  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 4 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 T. corn starch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and butter and mix until fluffy. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt, and stir until mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches, stirring well to combine.
  2. Using a soup spoon, drop spoonfuls of the dough two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies at 375 degrees until the edges begin to brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. For the frosting: Place the powdered sugar in a large bowl. Gradually add enough of the boiling water to the sugar, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and spreadable.
  4. Remove half of the frosting to the top half of a double boiler set over simmering water and add the chocolate. Warm the mixture, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the frosting is smooth. Remove from the heat. With a brush or spatula, coat half of each cookie with chocolate frosting and the other half with white frosting.

black and white cookie

Let’s be real: How good would your day be if you could just hang out with a good book, a warm cup of coffee or tea, and a nice plump black and white cookie? Let us know if you grew up with one of these cookies as a classic treat… or if you have another old-time favorite.

, , , , , ,

2 Responses to Classic Deli-Style Black and White Cookies

  1. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious March 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    My day is better just LOOKING at those beauties! I adore that cookbook, too.

    • Jeanne March 7, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

      Thanks, Dorothy! Do you know how many hours I’ve spent poring over that cookbook? ; )

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating