As I’ve stated MANY times, I’m a proud New York girl born and raised.  I love redoing hometown favorites to make allergy friendly and this one is pretty awesome…traditional black and white cookies! I’ve been using this recipe for years and years and adapted it, doing a little twist on the colors for Halloween 😉.

If anyone tells you that a black and white cookie should be crispy or crunchy, call them a heretic and run!  Black and whites are essentially a cake, not completely moist or they couldn’t hold up the icing.  I have options for all safe adjustments necessary for your needs.  The icing can be made from poured fondant (not rolled fondant that for cake design) or made from a simple flat icing.  I use the latter and it is totally Top 8 friendly.  The flavoring is simple vanilla and the cookie/cake base is not terribly sweet to make up for the icing.

It’s hard to find other baked treats that appeal to kids more-hello, it’s like a flat cupcake!  My three boys Jude, Gabriel and Casey request every couple of weeks.  They are honestly not hard at all, don’t be intimidated by the icing.  The hardest part is waiting for the icing to dry!

The cookie bases freeze well NOT ICED which is great for grab and go.  And I totally won’t tell if you use premade icing instead of homemade.  I take liberties like coloring the icings for holidays and throwing a few sprinkles on because Casey is a sprinkle fiend.  I worked at a 5-star hotel here on Long Island for many years that is known for their massive holiday and Sunday brunches.  It was not uncommon for me to make pastel black and whites during spring, blue and white for Hanukkah, red and green for Christmas, etc. 

These cookies are so fun, and the kids love to get involved in the icing process!  Make a batch and send me a picture on my Instagram Katie Bakes for Casey!  Be well and safe everyone. 💙👩🏻‍🍳 

Ingredients and Substitutions 

Flour – I always use King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten free flour blend for me and Casey but you can always use regular flour as I do the 1 c. = 140 g. ratio for substitution.  If your gluten free blend does not have xanthan gum, then add ¼ tsp. per cup of flour. Remember all blends are different weights and densities so if you can, try to use the scale. 

Butter/Butter Substitute – This is a perfect opportunity to use vegan or regular butter.  You can use shortening, vegan or regular, in a pinch but the results are not quite the same.  You must use a solid fat here, coconut oil (even in solid state) or oil WILL NOT work.  Have your fat at room temperature as this is a creamed fat method for mixing.  This is even more critical if you use gluten free flour because mixing the butter and sugar puts tiny air pockets in the fat that help the product rise while baking.  The gluten free flour needs more rise, so the mixing is very important.

Egg/Egg Substitute – If you are substituting eggs, applesauce is the choice here.  I haven’t tested with chia or flax eggs as Casey is highly allergic to all seeds.  I didn’t test with baking powder or egg replacer (such as Ener-G) either because there is chemical leavener in the ingredients.  Banana gives too much flavor and makes a dense texture, so applesauce is my go-to.  Whichever you use, egg or applesauce, make sure they are at room temperature as well to blend into butter during the mixing process. 

Confectioner’s (10x) Sugar – This is what we use for the icing.  Confectioner’s sugar is known as 10x or 4x to professionals.  It means the sugar was processed 10 times to get the powdery fine texture.  It is also mixed with cornstarch, so for those who are corn allergic Wholesome brand makes a fantastic corn free confectioner’s processed with tapioca starch.  Until Casey outgrew corn, I used this all the time.  I’m a big fan of their products!

Milk – You can use your favorite non-dairy safe milk or regular milk for the recipe and icing.  In the recipe I call for making homemade buttermilk with either type of milk and an acid.  The general rule of thumb is one tablespoon acid to 1 c. milk.

**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs**

Allergy Friendly Black and White Cookies

Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Seed Free, Top 8 Allergy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Author: Katie Martino Lopez

Prep Time: Including icing, 45 minutes

Total Time: With drying time, about 2-2 ½ hours


Cook Time: 15-18 minutes

Yield: About 20- 4” cookies



  • 2/3 c. safe milk with 1 ½ tsp. vinegar or lemon juice stirred in
  • ½ c. (4 oz., 1 stick) vegan or regular butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • Scant ½ c. unsweetened applesauce or 2 eggs, both at room temperature
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ c. (360 g./12.5 oz.) gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum or regular flour. If your gf blend does not have xanthan gum, add ½ tsp. to the flour.
  • 1 ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Food coloring if desired

For Vanilla Icing:

  • 1 ½ c. sifted confectioner’s sugar (may need more or less)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbls. safe milk (may need more or less)

For Chocolate Icing

  • 1 ½ c. sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 Tbls. sifted cocoa powder (sift with sugar)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼- 1/3 c. safe milk (may need more or less)


  1. Have either the eggs or applesauce and safe butter at room temperature for at least one hour, less time if the kitchen is very warm. You want the butter soft but not spreadable or melted.
  2. Measure the safe milk and add the vinegar or lemon juice and set aside to “clabber”. It’s normal to see it look a bit broken or curdled.  You’re making homemade buttermilk.  Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper (not wax paper). If you don’t have parchment, then grease the pans with safe butter.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour (add xanthan gum to your gluten free blend if needed), baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, blend your safe butter and sugar until light. Do not overmix or the butter will soften too much.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula often, getting the sides of the bowl and pulling up from the bottom.
  6. When the mixture is light, slowly add your applesauce or eggs one at a time and the vanilla. Scrape down after each addition.  If the mixture looks curdled or separated, that’s ok.
  7. Have your dry ingredients and buttermilk ready to go. Add 1/3 of the dry, mix very briefly, then add ½ the buttermilk and mix very briefly, then 1/3 dry, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour.  Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom to fully incorporate.  Mix until just combined.  Overmixing will make the cookies dense and rubbery, especially with gluten free flour.
  8. Drop cake/cookie batter in desired size, I like to make 4” cookies, just remember to adjust baking time and yield. That will yield about 20 cookies.  You can use a ¼ measuring cup, piping bag, or place the batter in a gallon Ziploc with the corner snipped off.  Gently wet your finger to press down the tops if there are peaks or points. 
  9. Immediately bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or lightly browned on the bottom. If putting both pans in the oven at the same time, rotate the pans halfway through the bake.
  10. Let the cookies cool completely before icing or the icing will melt. Don’t prepare the icing ahead of time or it will start to crust over on the surface.
  11. To prepare icings: mix ingredients for each vanilla and chocolate in small bowls, remembering to leave space for sifting. I like to sift over a piece of parchment then add to a bowl. Whisk in the milks for each until icing is smooth.  You should have a stiff icing for each but still spreadable.  If it is too thick, add DROPS of milk and whisk until it is the right consistency.  If it’s too loose, add some more confectioner’s sugar.  It’s easier to make it looser with droplets of milk then to keep adding confectioner’s sugar. If tinting the vanilla icing, do so now.  A little goes a long way, especially with gel colors.
  12. Flip cookies so the flat side is facing up. Using a small offset metal spatula or small knife, spread a small amount of vanilla icing across half the cookie, top to bottom. Don’t go too close to the edge or it will drip, especially if the icing is too thin.  Do all the vanilla first, then repeat and do the chocolate side.  It’s better to do the chocolate first because vanilla over the chocolate will smear.
  13. Set the cookies aside to dry. The time will depend on how warm or humid your kitchen is. It should be at least an hour if not more.  If they don’t set completely then there was too much milk in the icing (but still yummy!).
  14. Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container and try not to stack or the icing with smudge.

Recipe Notes

  • Remember to have the eggs/applesauce and safe butter at room temperature for optimal mixing.
  • Add the milk conservatively to your icing-you can always add more but can’t take away once it’s added!
  • Keep the cookies very airtight at room temperature. Refrigeration will break down the icing.
  • Uniced cookies can be wrapped well and frozen up to a month. Defrost in the refrigerator and pat off any moisture before icing.
  • If you like canned frosting, go for it! They will taste more like Lofthouse cookies. 



As we all know, reading labels and preparing food when managing allergies is a job within itself with much responsibility. All the brands I use are ones that I have contacted, and Casey has eaten safely. That being said, I must remind…

Please do your own research when deciding which products and foods are safe for the allergies you manage. These are the ones that are safe for our needs but may not be for you. Everyone has different comfort levels with manufacturing and production procedures.

And, as a friendly reminder, always have 2 epinephrine auto injectors on hand!

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