Black-and-Pink Grapefruit Cookies

Black-and-Pink Grapefruit Cookies recipe
Photo: Paola + Murray
Prep Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
16 Large Cookies

A rosy riff on the classic New York black-and-white cookies, these beauties get their blush from ruby-red-grapefruit juice and a couple of drops of food coloring. Rather than the usual vanilla flavor, we zested a grapefruit to infuse both the cookies and pink icing with zing.


  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 ½ teaspoons plus a pinch of kosher salt (we use Diamond Crystal)

  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon finely grated ruby-red-grapefruit zest, and 3 to 6 tablespoons fresh juice, strained (from 2 grapefruits)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • cup low-fat buttermilk

  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted (about 3 ¾ cups)

  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

  • Pink or red food coloring (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter with granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour mixture, then buttermilk, then remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat until smooth.

  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Spoon 1/4 cup dough into mounds on sheets, 6 per sheet. Bake, rotating sheets and rack positions halfway through, until edges are lightly golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.

  4. In a bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, remaining pinch of salt and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 3 tablespoons juice until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl; whisk in cocoa and 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water until you reach desired consistency. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon zest and tint with 1 to 2 drops of food coloring. (Icing should be a bit thicker than honey; if needed, whisk in more juice.)

  5. Flip cookies flat-sides up. Using a small offset spatula, spread grapefruit icing over half of each cookie and chocolate icing over other half. Let stand until icing is set, about 1 hour. Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

Cook's Notes

For easier application, these cookies are turned over after baking so you ice the flat undersides rather than the domed tops.

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