For our sweet take on this classic fondant-topped cookie, click here.
What It Is
Nothing says New York City bakery like a Black & White cookie (though we’ll make a possible concession for cheesecake). This oversized flattened disk has more of a cake-like consistency than a traditional American cookie—a nod to the original Dutch cookies or koekjes (“little cakes”) that settlers brought in the 17th and 18th centuries—and is technically a “drop cake.” It’s divided with chocolate and vanilla fondant, each flavor occupying exactly half of the cookie top. And folks say you can tell a lot about a person by how they eat their Black & White, which side they eat first, if they chomp straight down the center, or if they simply lick the icing off the top. Think of it as an edible Rorschach test.
Why We Love It
As New York City’s answer to the Oreo, this treat inspires pure joy. On Seinfeld, it even became an icon of reconciliation. “Look to the cookie,” Jerry says. “Two races of flavor living side by side in harmony.” We love a cookie that can bring people together.
Where To Find It
William Greenberg Desserts: New York City, New York
This Upper East Side mainstay has been serving soft and flavorful Black & White cookies with lacquer-like fondant since the 1940s. And they ship! So you can get your fix (full-sized or minis) even if you live well outside the boroughs.
Glaser’s Bake Shop: New York City, New York
It’s said that the Black & White cookie has been central to this bakery’s repertoire since Bavarian immigrants John and Justine Glaser opened on Manhattan’s First Avenue (at 87th Street) in 1902. Their version eschews the sleek fondant top in favor of a fluffy frosted variety.
The Donut Pub: New York City, New York
Made in-house, the Donut Pub’s Black & White steers away from the traditional. Instead, this Chelsea bakery creates a version that is more like a flattened custard-filled donut with chocolate and vanilla icing. What good is a New York tradition if it isn’t challenged a little?