Black and white cookie

posted by Jason Kottke Jun 09, 2004

I read somewhere last week a lament that no one had told the writer about the special magic of the black and white cookie. I, too, lament. Jonesing for a snack last week, I remembered this person's rave about the b&w and purchased one at the bodega on the way home. Whoa, what a dessert! The black and white cookie is, in fact, not a cookie but a flat, thinly frosted cake, like someone has sat on a cupcake. Cookie convenience, cupcake taste. I am hooked.

Being the last person in NYC to learn about this biracial delectable, I need some help in locating the best b&w in the city. New Yorkers, where do you get your black and white cookies?

Reader comments

gwJun 09, 2004 at 12:31PM

The B&W cookie was made famous for non-New Yorkers by Seinfeld awhile back.

IanJun 09, 2004 at 12:40PM

I love thoes things.
It's like racial harmony in your mouth.

dahlJun 09, 2004 at 12:45PM

Oddly enough, despite having lived in nyc my whole life, I have never had a black-and-white cookie. But I would imagine that if I were tempted to, Zabar's would be my first stop.

MarkJun 09, 2004 at 12:58PM

I moved from NY at the young age of 6, and I can honestly say the B&W cookies are what I miss the most.

There was a bakery 5 minutes from my house where I always got em, I'll be damned if I remember the name of it though.

Fortunately, an uncle of mine in Maine figured out the recipe so I just have him send me some if I ever start jonesin for one. :)

ZacJun 09, 2004 at 1:08PM

Are these the same as half-moon cookies? Being from central/upstate NY, I've never heard of a black-and-white cookie, but they look awfully similar to half-moons. Anyone know what the difference is, if any?

Stef NobleJun 09, 2004 at 1:14PM

I'm from central/upstate NY too and we always called them halfmoons. I think the black and white is always a vanilla cookie, while upstate, we tend more toward the chocolate cookie and possibly a bit more cakey at times. But essentially, they are the same.

David ElyJun 09, 2004 at 1:22PM

They're impossible to find in DC. Some Jewish delis have them.

Also I'm told they're called "Amerikaners" in Germany.

mikeJun 09, 2004 at 1:42PM

I grew up in NYC and I love them. Luckily they're available a few places in south Florida. I had to read this now that I'm on a low carb diet. I now have such a craving for a black & white!

Lucas GonzeJun 09, 2004 at 1:53PM

My favorite b&w cookies are from the bagel place on the south side of East Houston between Ludlow and Orchard, on the same block as Katz'. Mindblowingly sweet and cakey.

ronJun 09, 2004 at 1:53PM

As a rule the black and white cookies prewrapped in plastic are not that good. I have found that the ones from Pick-a-Bagel are very good; an added feature there is that have all black or all white ones for the harmony challenged. The ones at Starbucks are not as good.

MattJun 09, 2004 at 2:08PM

I once had a post about B+W cookies that was deleted. Here is what I said about my favorites, that stays true a year later.

"So, I have begun looking for the absolute best B&W cookie. When I was working at Spin, there was a bagel shop/bakery on 32nd and 3rd that made a great one, but today I had another that might have topped it. On my way from JNF to HFM (yay for jobs with acronyms) I found another bagel/bakery shop on 65th and Lex. I went in for a bagel, but I fell in love with the cookie. It was delicious."

matt mcglynnJun 09, 2004 at 2:39PM

NTFMOB... but I once wrote a story about black and white cookies. Judging from the reverence here, the recipe must be different, because these cookies would not inspire a dozen adulatory comments. Rather, they inspired just one biting blog entry, which I called Toss These Cookies.

sibylleJun 09, 2004 at 2:52PM


That's true! I grew up in Germany and loved "Amerikaner" cookies. They are very popular, at least in the south. Always wondered about the name though.

Stefan JonesJun 09, 2004 at 3:04PM

Uhhhhhhmmmmm . . . black and white coookie.

Man, it has been a long time since I had a B&W. For some reason I always liked the little overlap between the icings.

I wish there was a source of these in Portland (OR). Chances are there is something available, but they'd probably be as inspiring as chain-store bagels.

I wouldn't mind a decent knish either.

KimberlyJun 09, 2004 at 3:22PM

I know I know I know they're not the same, but here in South Jersey, Starbucks sells them. I find them pretty tasty, but then again I've never had one in NY.

Stefan JonesJun 09, 2004 at 3:27PM

A co-worker suggested entering "blackandwhitecookie.com" into my browser.

Viola! The address translates to:


A very sparse site. It sounds like they're going to try to bring NYC style B&W to points West.

The only outlet they list is QVC.


kimJun 09, 2004 at 3:44PM

why is this just a NY thing? *jealous*

liaJun 09, 2004 at 4:03PM

Jason, does Magnolia Bakery not have b&ws? I'd check Billy's Bakery too.

Fake PetermanJun 09, 2004 at 4:19PM

Someone mentioned that Jerry Seinfeld did a bit about the black and white cookie. The bakery in the TV series was "The Royal Bakery" I have no idea if that was/is a fictitious bakery, or if the B&W are any good.

EdJun 09, 2004 at 4:54PM

Ohhh.... this just made me miss home :)
Growing up in Syracuse, NY (and now in Chicago) we call them Half-moon cookies. And after having eaten these all my life I must say that my dear mother makes the best half-moon cookies in the world. Tip: Substitute a chocolate cookie for the vanilla cookie and chocolate frost the whole top for a "New-moon"

I think I'll call my mom now.

MarkJun 09, 2004 at 5:03PM

They're right under your nose, Kottke. Try "Out of the Kitchen" on Hudson between Morton and Barrow. Fresh baked daily for your unscrupulous consumption.

JoshJun 09, 2004 at 5:26PM

Did you catch today's DIning section of the New York Times? There's an article by Florence Fabricant on a "not your Jerry Seinfeld black-and-white" (scroll down to second item, "Black and White, but Not Cut and Dried").

Richard ZiadeJun 09, 2004 at 5:37PM

'Your Baker' Bakery
518 86th St

Bay Ridge Brooklyn.

It's worth the trip on the R train. Best I've ever had.

NathanJun 09, 2004 at 7:22PM

I've always wondered if black and white cookies were just a variation on what we call neenish tart down here in the antipodes (though nobody can decide where they originated). Small pastry case iced in two colours...only difference seems to be the mock cream.

JadeJun 09, 2004 at 8:50PM

I'm from small town in Florida, but a local bakery sells them. They're called B&W Cookies here, but "Halfmoons" is more common. I'm in love with them.

BranilleJun 09, 2004 at 10:00PM

I tried one for the first time last November and I loved it so much that I also wrote a post about it. :)

Mike RundleJun 09, 2004 at 10:16PM

Hey guys,

I'm from Utica, NY (upstate) and I've heard from every single person I know that Hemstrought's Bakery in Utica was the very first place in the world to make half-moon cookies — and yes they are called half-moons.

Check the recipe out after some quick Googling.

roeJun 10, 2004 at 1:35AM

Pax Foods has black-and-whites, and they're pretty tasty, too. You can get one online... :)

cushieJun 10, 2004 at 5:42AM

For Midwesterners, it has to be Bennison's bakery on Davis St in Evanston. Great black and whites.

Jonathan DoddsJun 10, 2004 at 7:58AM

I grew up in the Boston area and I know these cookies as half moons. The cookie I know is not shortbread or cake but a sort of cakey sugar cookie. The icing is a creamy frosting, not a hard glaze or fondant. The cookies are always inverted and the icing applied to the flat bottom.

My wife and I were repeatedly disappointed with the half moons available in local markets and bakeries so we decided to make our own. After some research, testing, and experimentation we came up with a half moon that matches our childhood memories and is far superior to the local store bought variety.

David WertheimerJun 10, 2004 at 9:59AM

Jason, head to the east side, grab an uptown 4/5/6 train, take it to 86th Street, walk east to First Avenue, hang a left, go one block up the east side of the avenue, cross 87th Street, stroll past the Radio Shack and turn right. There you'll find Glaser's, a great, century-old neighborhood bakery, where the Glaser family continues to make the best black and white cookies in New York City (which, I suppose, means the best in the world). Baked fresh daily and worth the trip. I've been eating black and white cookies my whole life (as a kid I called them moon cookies) and Glaser's are the quintessential example.

Glaser's makes excellent chocolate chip cookies, too, and challah every Friday.

Robin LJun 10, 2004 at 12:45PM

The Rockland Bakery in Nanuet, NY. You can get an all white, or and all black if you want. I know its far from the city, but its dear to my heart. And I live in Atlanta

IanJun 10, 2004 at 1:14PM

I grew up in NY but sadly now live in Texas. I lived in Kingston, I remember going to a place called "Amy's Ice Cream" they had the Black and White Cookie. Can't remember if they were good or not.

KarinJun 10, 2004 at 2:22PM

You could try making them yourself? In in SF and haven't ever had one, I'm gonna try em out. Recipe

sebastianJun 10, 2004 at 2:46PM

i nevver heard about the b&w cookie but where in mahattan can i buy some?

Cheshire DaveJun 10, 2004 at 3:49PM

Jason, you left the best black-and-white cookie in the world when you left SF. It's at Specialty's, all over downtown.

higginsJun 10, 2004 at 10:19PM

Oh lord, THE place for a black & white is Rocco's on Bleeker just west of 6th Ave. The icing actrually has flavor and the cookies are soft, not hard. Excellent.

In Washington, D.C., Amerinak's Bakery in Cleveland Park has them. Not at tasty as Rocco's though....

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.