Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies

An easy recipe for a gluten-free version of the iconic NYC cookie! It is a soft, pillowy, cake-like cookie topped with half vanilla icing and half chocolate icing... and it's so yummy!

Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies easy gluten-free dessert recipe
Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies

Easy recipe for Gluten-free Black and White Cookies that tastes as good (or better!) as the NYC classic!

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So excited to finally be sharing these Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies with you!

Black and White Cookies have been a family favorite forever (longtime time NYC residents here) and so many of you have requested a recipe for them, so we finally made them gluten-free! And dare I say, they are better than the original!

Soft, pillowy, cake-like cookies topped with half vanilla icing and half chocolate icing… and so yummy!

It took several batches to get the flavor and texture just right and our taste testers are loving them!

Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies easy gluten-free dessert recipe

Never tried a black and white cookie?

They are a staple in NYC bakeries and delis which is where we fell in love with them.

You might recognize them from a Seinfeld episode when Jerry nibbles on a black and white cookie while trying to purchase a chocolate babka with Elaine.

And there is apparently debate as to there origin. I’ve read that they were created by Glaser’s Bake Shop, which was opened in 1902 by Bavarian immigrants John and Justine Glaser in Manhattan; and I’ve read that they were created by an Austrian bakery in upstate New York in the late 1800s…. either way, they are delicious!

This recipe is based on loosely on Zabar’s recipe as printed in the New York Times with specific adaptations for gluten-free baking in both the ingredients and in forming the cookie shape.

The really good ones have a thick, cake-like cookie that has a vanilla flavor and a hint of lemon, and are topped with shiny chocolate and vanilla icings.

Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies easy gluten-free dessert recipe

So let’s make them!

Starting with the cookie, you’ll need 9 pantry staple ingredients:

sugar

butter or dairy-free butter

1 egg

buttermilk (we made it using milk or dairy free milk + apple cider vinegar in 5 minutes)

vanilla extract

lemon extract

gluten-free all purpose flour (we used GF Jules, affiliate link)

baking soda and

salt.

Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies easy gluten-free dessert recipe

As an aside, you may have noticed that we are affiliate for GFJules.  To learn more about why we love GFJules flour and why we have used it for 10 years, click here.

Bonus: at the bottom of that post is a one-time use affiliate Discount Code.

And importantly, purchasing through an affiliate link does not change your cost at all. It generates a small percentage of the sale for me, and purchasing through an affiliate link helps me fund this website and all the recipes I share, so thank you!

Back to the Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies….

Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies easy gluten-free dessert recipe

How to make the Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies

The cookies come together in 4 simple steps:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the egg, then vanilla and lemon extracts and mix to combine.
  3. Separately, in a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Then alternately add flour and buttermilk. (remember you can make buttermilk as we do by adding a 1/2  tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your milk or dairy free milk and letting it sit for 5 minutes)

Then form the cookies.

  • First scoop or spoon out the batter into 12 balls.
  • Using your fingers or the back of a measuring cup, flatten them and use your fingers as need to form circles. Pro tip: With gluten flour, the cookies will spread in this recipe, but with gluten-free flour, the batter tends to stay in whatever shape you leave it in, so this is an important step for this cookie.
  • To get that extra smooth cookie dome, gently smooth the top of the cookie using slightly wet finger.

The bake for just 11-13 minutes until the centers are springy and a toothpick comes out clean (just like with a cake!)… the edges may be just starting to get golden.

Let them cool on the baking sheet for  5 minutes or more, then move to a wire baking rack to cool completely before icing.

And I’ll say this again, but you will be icing the flat side of the cookie, so when they are cool and ready to ice, flip them over so the flat side is upright.

How to make make the icing

The icing is the the same for the white and black icing, with the addition of cocoa powder for the the chocolate icing.

Many recipes, have you make one big icing, scoop our half for the white icing, then add in cocoa powder for the black icing. I find it easier to mix the ingredients twice and not have to divide the icing.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

Powdered or confectioners sugar

lemon juice

light corn syrup (it gives the icing it’s glossy finish)

vanilla extract

hot water

cocoa powder (dutch process) for the black icing

You just mix them together until they are smooth, glossy and spreadable.

You will note I give different water amounts for the white and black icings — that is because of the cocoa powder.  The more you mix them, the thinner they become, so be careful before adding any additional water.

How to ice the black and white cookies

You will be icing the flat side of the cookie, so turn over all the cookies on the baking rack.

Then to make the icing as close to evenly divided and as straight as possible (it may not be perfect, so don’t fret!), use the backside of a butter knife to score a line down the center.

Then starting with the white icing, spread the icing using a butter knife and use the knife to gently draw a straight line long the line you scored.

Then using a separate butter knife, spread the black icing, again using the knife to draw a straight line down the center.  If the icing hardens on top while you’re spreading the white icing, just give it a quick stir before using.

Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies easy gluten-free dessert recipe

And that’s it!

Perfect gluten-free black and white cookies! Soft, cake-like cookies with a hint of vanilla and a hint of lemon, topped with both white and black icing — the best of both worlds and so delicious!

And all our taste testers have gone crazy for them!

You can see below the packages I give out to family and friends that taste all our recipes before they are ever published.

Hope you love them too!

Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies easy gluten-free dessert recipe

 

For more cookie recipes, click here.

Have you tried our:

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Bars

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookie

Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

Homemade Gluten-Free Nutter Butters

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Recipe

 

Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies easy gluten-free dessert recipe
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Gluten-Free Black and White Cookies

An easy recipe for a gluten-free version of the iconic NYC cookie! It's a soft, pillowy, cake-like cookie topped with half vanilla icing and half chocolate icing... and it's so yummy!
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Optional, Nut-Free
Keyword: easy gluten-free cookie recipe, easy gluten-free dessert, gluten-free black and white cookies, black and white cookies
Servings: 12 3 inch cookies
Author: Healthy Gluten-free Family

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter or dairy-free butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk (we make our own by adding 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to a liquid measuring cup, then adding milk or dairy-free milk to the cup measuring to 1/2 cup, let sit for 5 minutes while it curdles)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

White Icing

  • 1 cup confectioners or powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons hot water

Black Icing

  • 1 cup confectioners or powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons hot water

Instructions

Make the cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  • In a small bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt and mix together with a fork, whisk or pastry cutter. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, in a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add egg and mix to combine. Then add vanilla extract and lemon extract and mix to combine, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Alternately add flour mix and buttermilk while mixing on low until all the ingredients blended, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, and starting and ending with the flour. (so add approximately 1/3 of the flour mix, then 1/2 buttermilk, then 1/3 flour mix, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 flour mix)
  • Using a cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, spoon batter onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart (I did 6 cookies/ baking sheet). While the batter will spread with regular gluten flour, the batter will stay in the shape you place it in with gluten-free flour, so use your fingers or the back of a measuring cup to gently press down and flatten the cookies, using your fingers to form a circle shape as necessary. To make the cookie super smooth after it's done baking, with slightly wet fingers, smooth and flatten the top of the cookie. (see photos below)
  • Bake for 11-13 minutes on center rack, until the center is springy (I like to make sure a toothpick comes out of center clean)... the top/ edges may just be starting to turn golden.
  • Let cook on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire baking rack to cook completely.

Make the icing

  • While the cookies cool, make the icing. I like to make the white icing first, move to small bowl and then using the same mixing bowl (without cleaning it as it is the same ingredients + cocoa), make the chocolate icing.
  • To make white icing, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, light corn syrup, vanilla and water until glossy, smooth, and spreadable. I use a mixer but you should be able to do by hand as well. As you mix, it will become thinner so don't add extra water unless you really need it as the icing will become too thin. Move to a small bowl and set aside.
  • To make black icing, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, light corn syrup, vanilla, cocoa powder and water until glossy, smooth, and spreadable. I use a mixer but you should be able to do by hand as well. As you mix, it will become thinner so don't add extra water unless you really need it as the icing will become too thin. Move to small bowl and set aside.

Ice the cookies

  • When cookies are completely cooled, ice them. If they are not completely cooled, the icing will melt...
  • You will be icing the flat side of the cookie, so flip all the cookies over on the wire baking rack so they are rounded side down and place parchment paper or wax paper underneath the baking rack to catch any excess icing.
  • Using the backside of a butter knife, score a line down half the cookie. Using a butter knife spread the white icing on one half of the cookie using the knife to gently draw a straight line of icing down the center. Then using a second butter knife, add the black icing to the other side, gently drawing a line down the center as needed. I tend to do all the white icing, then all the black icing, and don't worry if it's not perfectly symmetrical, they are homemade and have fun with it!
  • Let icing set completely, keeping cookies on the baking rack before storing.

Notes

Storage
As always, the cookies are best fresh!
Store at room temperature in a sealed container for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up for a week.
I have not frozen them but if you want to, freeze them without the icing. Then when ready to serve, de-thaw and add icing.
Forming the cookie
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyGFfamily or tag #healthyGFfamily!

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