Half Moons – The real “Black and White” Cookies

Another childhood favorite that my grandmother, Felicia, would bring home for us were “Half Moons”.  You know them as “Black & White Cookies”, but growing up in Upstate New York, they were simply called half moons.  The base of the cookie (which had the consistency of being closer to a cake) was chocolate.  The crumb was moist and tender.  Then, the cookie was frosted in deep, dark chocolate on one side, and creamy vanilla on the other.

When I moved out of state as a teenager, I yearned for those cookies.  But no matter where I looked I could not find the cookie I grew up with.  Oh yes, I could find a “Black and White Cookie” with a dry vanilla cookie base, but that was not what I wanted. This substitution could not come close to what I remembered as being sweet perfection.

One day several years ago, my sister told me she had figured out how to make “half moons”.  To say I was thrilled would be an understatement!  She shared the recipe with me, and I have been making them for my kids ever since.  I have tweaked the recipe slightly, to give both the cookie and the chocolate frosting a more intense flavor, and every time I make them, I am transported back to my childhood.

When my youngest daughter was three, these were her favorite cookies, and I would make them at least once a week. She would say “come on Mommy, let’s share a cookie” and she would eat the vanilla frosted side and I would eat the chocolate.  It was bliss!

Remember, these cookies can be stored up to two days, but they won’t last that long.  One batch of these is gone in just a few hours in my house…so my advice is to make extra for your Easter celebration!

Half Moons

(Black and White Cookies)

Makes 12 Cookies

For the Cookies

  • 1 ¼  Cups flour
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • ½   Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 Cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 Cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 Extra large egg
  • ¼ Cup cocoa powder
  • ¼  Teaspoon espresso powder

For the Frosting

  • 1 ½ Cups confectionary sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • ½ Teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 Ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 Cup heavy cream

To Make the Cookies

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend the butter and the sugar.

Add the egg and continue to mix.

Add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer on low and alternate between adding the flour and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour.

Add the baking soda, espresso powder and cocoa powder and mix again (don’t over mix).

Using an ice cream scooper, place a scoop of batter onto the cookie sheet.  Be sure to leave two inches between each cookie so they have room to spread.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Place the cookies on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To Make the Frostings


In a medium size bowl combine the dark chocolate and heavy cream.

Microwave for approximately 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The mixture should be smooth and silky.


In a medium size bowl combine the confectionary sugar, milk and vanilla.

Stir the frosting until it is a spreadable (but not too thin) consistency.  If the frosting is too runny add more sugar, if it is too thick add more milk a drop at a time.

Using a cake spatula spread the chocolate frosting over one half of the cookie and the vanilla over the other half.

The Elegant Occasion Note:  These cookies can be stored in the refrigerator (well-covered) for two days. Before serving, bring them down to room temperature.

The Elegant Occasion Beverage Pairing:  Cold Milk

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