The Big Fat Black & White Cookie, Gluten Free

Gluten Free Half Moon Cookies, or two with milk?

Not a week goes by that I don’t think about this cookie. It was called a Half-Moon and they were sold at Snowflake, the bakery in my old childhood neighborhood. Big city places called them Black & Whites.  But the name really didn’t matter because they were ridiculously popular no matter what they were called (hello, headlights).

This is a big fat cakey cookie topped with half chocolate, half white fondant glaze. They’re surprisingly easy to make and about the only part that takes patience is neatly applying the glaze on one side and then the other. As you can see, I have little patience. That they look slightly rustic is part of their homemade charm, right?

One ingredient that makes the cookie taste like the bakery cookie you might remember is Fiori Di Sicilia. It’s a citrus vanilla flavoring that gives the cookie that famous bakery flavor and perfume. You really want some. We use it in the Canteen kitchen from time to time and while it is not inexpensive, it isn’t going to break the bank. King Arthur Flour is the best source for either the little or big bottle. I used up the last of a small bottle and it took three years and I bake a lot, if you haven’t noticed. Get some. You won’t be sorry. And every once in a while KA offers free shipping.

These great big cookies can be yours in a couple of hours from mixing the batter to glazing. Letting the glaze fully set is the hardest part, but worth the wait if you like the snap when breaking off a piece.

I used to eat the vanilla side first when I was a kid.

I still do.

Gluten Free Half Moon Cookies, one with coffee for you.

The Big Fat Black & White Cookie, Gluten Free
These are those cookies. This is that exact cookie that you see in all those really fabulous NY bakeries. The one that everyone covets. The one that isn't GF. Now you can make them GF at home and they are as good or better than you remember. The cookies are huge things at 5 inches around. A recipe will make about a dozen. Get the Friori Di Sicilia from King Arthur Flour. You'll be happy you did because a very little itty-bitty tiny drop takes the cookie from great to extraordinary-fabulous-just-like-a-bakery-but-better.
  • 30 grams Spectrum solid vegetable shortening (2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 94 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (scant 7 tablespoons)
  • 175 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon Fiori Di Sicilia
  • ¼ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 300 grams GF AP flour (150 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 75 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (2⅓ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 116 grams whole milk (generous ½ cup)
Fondant Glaze White
  • 300 grams powdered sugar, sifted (skimpy 3 cups)
  • 3-5 tablespoons very hot water
  • ½ teaspoon light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Fondant Glaze Chocolate
  • 300 grams powdered sugar, sifted (skimpy 3 cups)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa, sifted
  • 3-5 tablespoons very hot water
  • ½ teaspoon light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl cream the shortening, butter, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla and Fiori Di Sicilia and lemon extracts together until smooth and fluffy. In a small bowl whisk the flour with the baking powder. Add to wet ingredients and mix just until smooth. Add milk and mix again until fully incorporated. Carefully scoop (1/2 cup scoop) on to prepared baking sheets about 6 to a cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon or even better, a small offset spatula, spread the batter into a 5 inch round slightly humped in the center. Give them room to spread just slightly. Bake about 8 minutes and rotate pans. Bake about 7 minutes more or just until the edges look like they are beginning to gain color. Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes and then move carefully to a rack to cool completely before applying icing. They're fragile until they are completely cool so handle them carefully.
Fondant Glaze White
  1. Sift powdered sugar into a medium-sized bowl when cookies are cool enough to ice. Stir in very hot water by the tablespoon just until it runs off the spoon but seems very thick. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and stir. Let the mixture sit for a minute or so while you set up the cookies.
  2. Place the cooling rack on a baking sheet to catch drips. Turn cookies to the flat side. Using a spoon and an offset spatula, apply white icing to one half the cookie and let the remainder drip off the edge. Ice each cookie and set on the rack to harden. Make sure you apply enough icing so that it is completely white and you cannot see the cookie through the icing. Let those set while you prepare the chocolate fondant.
Fondant Glaze Chocolate
  1. Sift powdered sugar into the same bowl. Sift cocoa powder into the bowl. Add very hot water one tablespoon at a time and stir until the mixture is smooth and lump free and drips off the spoon but is still rather thick. Add more water as necessary. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir. Using a spoon and the (clean) offset spatula, apply the chocolate fondant to the other flat side of the cookie all the way to the white fondant and even slightly overlapping for best look. Do not apply the chocolate fondant over the rack or you might drip on the white icing. Place iced cookies far from each other on the baking rack and let them harden completely. It will take at least an hour depending on humidity and temperature - but don't refrigerate them or you'll lose the shine on the glaze. You won't be able to stack them until the next day when the fondant is thoroughly dry.
  2. But chances are they won't last until the next day. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Half Moon Cookies, quick, grab one!

Gluten Free Half Moon Cookies, just finished icing.


  1. I’m so excited to have this recipe. I went gluten free recently and the kids and I always make Black and Whites for the Vernal and Autumnal Equinox. I’ve had a great recipe we all love, but didn’t indulge this year. Now we can all have our equinox cookies!

  2. OMG. i can inhale these. shall tackle this week on my day off. i buy them via Mydad’scookies (a gluten free baker) and they cost me an arm and the proverbial leg.

  3. Danielle says:

    So when my husband and I read over this entry and came to the Snowflake Bakery reference, we almost doubled over. Assuming this is the same Snowflake in Syracuse, on the north side- shout out to the hometown girl! My sister and I crave these cookies, and I think it must be either an east coast treat, or even an Italian American Upstate NY one, but regardless- thanks for the recipe. As the entire family is GF, this is a true treasure to find!

  4. This recipe works great!

  5. Hi, I was planning to make these as favors for my wedding, if I made these a couple days to a week in advance, how well do they freeze?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi, Brittany. I have not frozen these, but have frozen this recipe with good results and talk about it in the post. If you want to freeze the vanilla version I recommend testing it first following the same procedure for the other recipe. I think the vanilla might dry out a bit but they still should taste fine. Make sure the tops are fully set and not at all sticky before wrapping them individually in plastic wrap. Then store them inside another container that is sealed to avoid freezer damage. The chocolate orange black & whites taste even better after resting in the freezer. I don’t know that it will also be true for the vanilla, but give it a test try first. That way you are familiar with the recipe before the big day. Have a wonderful wedding and congratulations!

  6. I want ot make a mini B&W cookie is cooking the same?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Beth – Nope. Baking time would be shorter. Depending on how mini, you might want to cut the time in half or just test the time by baking one or two so you know when to rotate and remove the pans. You don’t want them to get too golden on the edges – just a tiny bit of color. They will look like a baked cake in appearance when done. Hope that helps.