Those Cookies That Just Seem to Pop Up in Every Anime Series Ever: Checkerboard Icebox Cookies!

Ginga e Kickoff Checkerboard CookiesCheckerboard icebox cookies hold a lot of nostalgia for me. It reminds me of when I was little and my mom would take me to the local bakery after grocery shopping and let me choose a cookie or two from the case. I always loved the contrast of the vanilla and chocolate, and how simple and cute they looked. And, not only where they attractive to the eye, they tasted great too! You can just never go wrong with a chocolate/vanilla combination….

I constantly see these delicious little cookies in anime of all kinds, such as in Toradora, episode 2, when Taiga makes checkerboard icebox cookies in a home economics/cooking class at school and attempts (unsuccessfully) to give them to her crush, Kitamura.

I speculate that these cookies are so often in anime due to the fact that they are simple to draw, easily recognizable, and have a nice aesthetic in its contrasting black and white segments… Because, these cookies just seem to pop up everywhere, including Ginga e KickoffChihayafuru, Mawaru Penguindrum, and Saint Seiya, to name just a few series.

But, it was when I saw these cookies on an episode of K-On that I knew I had to recreate them! Nothing like cute girls relaxing after school with tea and cookies to cause some inspiration!

About the recipe:

Cookies K-On Episode 1To make checkerboard icebox cookies, two recipes are required: Vanilla Icebox Cookies and Chocolate Icebox Cookies. These recipes can be baked and eaten separately, or they can be combined in various way to create a host of delightfully cute and, of course, delicious cookies.

The recipe below is broken into three portions: Vanilla icebox cookies, a small aside about modifying the vanilla recipe to make chocolate icebox cookies, and finally how to assemble the two doughs into the checkerboard pattern.

Even though the recipes take a lot of ingredients (enough to make a whopping 8 dozen cookies!), the best part of this recipe is that it does not have to baked right away. You can easily store the dough, assembled in the checkerboard pattern, in the freezer ready to be sliced and baked at a moment’s notice. It’s great if you have unexpected company, or you just feel like a nice accompaniment to your tea.

About the ingredients:

Checkboard Cookies Toradora! 02Why unsalted butter and not salted butter? With cooking, and especially baking, it is important to be able to control your ingredients. Because it is not possible to know exactly how much salt was added to salted butter, and because each brand may use a different amount of salt, unsalted butter offers more predictability in a recipe. By using unsalted butter, the amount of salt can be easily adjusted, and no matter what brand of butter is used, it guarantees that the recipe turns out the same for everyone.

Dutch-process cocoa is cocoa that has been treated with an alkalizing agent, making it less acidic, and more smooth and mild in flavour than “natural cocoa”. The colour is also darker than natural cocoa, and is more soluble as well. I wouldn’t suggest substituting Dutch-process cocoa for other types of cocoa, since it would change the outcome of the recipe.

Checkerboard Cookies

The recipe:

Vanilla Icebox Cookies

Makes about 3 and 1/2 to 4 dozen


  • 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 16 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, and confectioners’ sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined. Slowly add flour mixture on low speed and mix until combined.

2. Divide dough in half and roll into 6 x 2 inch logs. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

3. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking liner. Slice dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds and place 3/4 inch apart on the baking sheets. Bake until cookie edges begin to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Switch and rotate baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool cookies on sheets for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely before serving.

Chocolate Icebox Cookies

Makes about 3 and 1/2 to 4 dozen

Using the Vanilla Icebox Cookies recipe above, substitute ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder for ¼ cup of the flour. Melt 2 ounces semisweet chocolate in a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside until it is cool enough to add into the batter without cooking the eggs. Add melted and cooled chocolate to the dough with the egg yolks and vanilla.

Proceed with the recipe as per the rest of the instructions in the Vanilla Icebox Cookies recipe, as above.

Assorted Cookies Saint Seiya

Checkerboard Icebox Cookies

Makes about 8 dozen cookies


1. Make the dough for both Vanilla Icebox Cookies and Chocolate Icebox Cookies just through step 1 (don’t roll the dough into logs).

2. Divide the vanilla and chocolate doughs each into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch log, then press each log into a 1½-inch-thick square shape. Quarter the squared-off logs lengthwise with a chef’s knife.

3. Layer 2 strips of vanilla and 2 strips of chocolate dough into a checkerboard pattern and squeeze together gently to adhere. Repeat with the remaining strips to make four 6-inch checkerboard logs. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

4. Slice each log into ¼-inch-thick cookies and bake as directed for the Vanilla Icebox Cookies as above.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen

Assorted cookies Chihayafuru


12 thoughts on “Those Cookies That Just Seem to Pop Up in Every Anime Series Ever: Checkerboard Icebox Cookies!

  1. Just wanted to let you know that your cookies are turning out gorgeously 🙂 I’m halfway through baking at the moment. I was slightly skeptical about the egg yolks, since on another recipe it was warning about using eggs in it, but the dough ended up being the perfect texture for shaping and cutting! (I’m not sure if I can post pictures here, but if I can I will when they’re done ^^)

    Oh, and I ended up using dark chocolate instead of the dutch cocoa powder, since I didn’t have cocoa powder in the house. I don’t know if dutch cocoa is supposed to have a super distinct flavor, but the cookies so far have tasted pretty good without it, and is still pretty dark. It may not be the best, but I think it makes for a good alternative if all else fails.


    • Thank you so much for your comment! I’m so glad you’re loving the cookies… They’re so cute and yummy with their black and white chocolate/vanilla pattern 😀

      I don’t think dutch cocoa powder is particularly distinct in flavor (it’s just… chocolatey but not sweet), but it sounds like your substitute of using dark chocolate instead turned out really well! I would love to see pictures of your finished product…

      If you would like to post an image in a comment, I believe you can write <img src=”url” alt=”” /> and replace the url (keeping the quotation marks) with the url of the image you want to post.


      • Oh goodness I completely forgot about this until I went to bake the cookies again >< I'm terribly sorry! Here's the finished product from before ^^ They turned out extra yummy, although somehow or another I ended up with well more than 8 dozen cookies o_o (I split the recipe and still ended up with more than 12 dozen) so this time around I'm cooking the first half of the halved recipe for Christmas and the other half for a party next week ^^"


      • So cute! I just love the heart-shaped ones! Seeing your cookies makes me want to try out a different shape other than the regular square shape too… hmm… next time I will have to try it out.

        Thank you for posting pictures… It makes me so happy when I see people try out the recipes I post! I hope everyone enjoys your adorable cookies! Merry Christmas! 😀


  2. I gotta hand it to you, good sir/madam. The checkerboard recipe proved to be a complete success for me! I’ll mention I have a lot of family members who can’t eat egg anymore. So I had to make a fake egg using flaxseed. The cookies are coming out fine! My only fault in making them was I need to work on the square shapes a little more; they’re coming out kinda like in the picture under “About the ingredients.” But for a first timer, Im happy with how it came out. And the important thing is they taste delicious! I have your recipe to thank for it! I’ll definitely be cooking more of these in the future!


  3. It’s been awhile since anyone’s commented on this recipe but I had to say I love this recipe and these cookies! I made them to give (with a few other things) to my girlfriend as a homecoming dance proposal. Needless to say, she loved them! thank you for putting this amazing recipe up!


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