Cooking with Lisa: Vegan Black and White Cookies

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Happy Last Week of Classes! I know you’re busy pretending that you’re going to start your finals work ahead of time, but you should take some time out to make these cookies.

Everybody who tried these, loved them. A friend who told me she doesn’t normally like black and white cookies had two, and everybody was shocked that they were vegan. I’m not entirely sure how they get their texture without eggs or butter (magic? Really, I don’t know) but they work.

Source: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

1 cup soy milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup canola oil
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon extract or ½ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon orange extract or ½ teaspoons orange zest
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt

Photo Courtesy of Katie Ozawa '13

4 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup boiling water (have more to add for consistency)
a dash of vanilla extract
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

(Note: The chocolate chips I used were not vegan but there are many vegan chocolate chips available.)

This recipe is a little bit time-intensive, but it’s definitely doable and I think the end result is worth it.

The cookies themselves are vegan, but the consistency is great and I find it impossible to tell.  This recipe also doesn’t have the semi-obscure baking ingredients a lot of vegan cookies do, and it’s actually pretty simple. As always, choose some music or something to watch. I watched Back to the Future, which is an incredible movie but also has much weirder gender politics than I remember.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

First, squeeze your lemon. You won’t need all of the juice from the lemon, but I find it best to squeeze it into a larger bowl then measure out the amount I’ll need. Mix in the soymilk. Leave it alone for a minute while it curdles.

Photo Courtesy of Katie Ozawa '13

Add in the vanilla, oil, orange, lemon, and sugar. Whisk or just mix it in.

Last time I made these, I used orange and lemon extracts. While this is slightly easier, it is cheaper and requires only a little more effort to zest your own lemon and orange. The tastes were definitely more distinctive this way, which I liked, but either works.

In another bowl, mix together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Mix together until everything is evenly incorporated and it forms dough.

Photo Courtesy of Katie Ozawa '13

Spoon the dough onto baking sheets. Use parchment paper or some other non-stick method to ensure the cookies come off the sheet cleanly. The recipe also calls for larger cookies, as is traditional with black and white cookies. I made them smaller this time so I could give them to more people, but do whatever feels right.

Photo Courtesy of Katie Ozawa '13

Pat down the dough on the tray, since the cookies should be flat. Place them at least a few inches apart since they will spread out.

The recipe said bake for 18-20 minutes, but mine were all done with 15. Just keep an eye on yours, and when a toothpick or fork comes out clean they are done.

While they bake, clean up some of your supplies and work station. Keep watching Back to the Future, or whichever 1980s movie you have chosen. Footloose is also acceptable.

Take the cookies out of the oven to cool.

Make the icing! This is where I made a few mistakes, so I’d recommend following this pretty closely. Measure out your powdered sugar and boil water. Once the water is boiled, add it to the sugar. Intensely whisk this immediately. If you do it fast enough, the icing will be smooth and shiny. If not, you get the wreck of my first effort.

Photo Courtesy of Katie Ozawa '13

If you have frosting spatula, use that to spread the frosting. I just used a spoon, which was adequate. Put the glaze on one half of each cookie. It should cover it, but you don’t have to go crazy.

Photo Courtesy of Katie Ozawa '13

Once all of the cookies have been half-glazed, melt the chocolate chips. A double boiler is best, but I just used the microwave. Make sure to stir the chips every 30 seconds or so if you use the microwave, or you might burn the chocolate.

Add the chocolate to the remaining glaze and again, whisk very vigorously. You might have to add some more boiling water to this to get it to a good consistency, which is fine. Just add about a dash and keep whisking. Once it’s smooth, frost the other half of the cookies.

Photo Courtesy of Katie Ozawa '13

While the cookies are good right after they’re frosted, they improve after settling down a little bit. Wait about an hour, then go for it. They’re pretty rich, so don’t eat them too fast!



  1. 0
    Jeff says:

    Lisa, or others who have made these cookies., can you describe the consistency the icing is supposed to be? Vanilla was very thick, not spreadable, had to be spooned on, chocolate was worse when added to the little remaining thick vanilla! White was ag least somewhat smooth and shiny, not so for chocolate. 1/4 cup of water to 4 cups sugar doesn’t seem like enough water- is that accurate? also, I agree that they’re not vegan if domino is used- I used a vegan organic raw sugar- but what abt the powdered (confectioners) sugar? Only found that in domino-anybody know a vegan brand of powdered sugar?

  2. 0
    Donna says:

    Domino sugar is filtered with charred cow bones. If you don’t know what vegan is, then change the title of your blog post from “vegan” to eggless, because that’s all it is.

    1. 0
      cookie_liberation_front says:

      Lisa, tens of dozens of insects were killed in the farming procedures to produce that corn starch. And don’t even get me started on that lemon.

      This is really starting to look bad for you.

  3. 0
    Luvourmother says:


    Just wanted to let you know that Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate chips (that are shown in your pictures) are not vegan: “milk fat” is listed in the ingredients. So these cookies are not vegan.

    There are many choices for vegan chocolate chips, Trader Joe’s are good.

    1. 0
      Lisa Yelsey says:

      Oh right sorry I meant to mention that!

      The cookie part is vegan. The chocolate chips I chose to use are not, but there are vegan chocolate chip options.

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