The first time I saw a black and white cookie, it was at my best friend Tracey’s “Seinfeld”-themed bridal shower. Everyone else gushed over the cookies, but I thought they were stupid. The bottom was soft and fluffy like a cake, and if I’m going to eat cake, I want an inch-thick layer of frosting on top; the stuff coating these things was icing, the kind you see on a slice of cinnamon-raisin bread, and I don’t go to bridal showers for bread.
The black and white cookie is native to New York, though, so eventually I had to give in and eat one. My boyfriend and I were at one of the weekly summer street fairs last summer and happened by La Delice Pastry Shop, an 80-year-old bakery in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, with black and white cookies in the window.
Oldschool baker on a skateboard!
Something just . . . took hold of us . . . and we found ourselves being dragged inside to purchase two of the oversized treats. And they were delicious! Like, really, really delicious! It turns out that the cakey cookie part is an invariably moist shortbread and that the vanilla icing forms this sort of crunchy layer to juxtapose the sponge cake. (The chocolate icing doesn’t, for some reason, and I always eat the chocolate first to get rid of it, because the vanilla’s so much better.)
Since then, we’ve had about a zillion black and white cookies from all over Manhattan and Brooklyn, and I haven’t had one yet that I disliked. Court Pastry Shop in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, has the biggest in diameter (like, monstrously huge). Flavors in Battery Park, Manhattan, has the moistest. Crumbs, the mighty cupcake chain, has the thickest (although The Lunch Belle thinks it sucks).
the black and white cookie from Crumbs
I know everyone has strong opinions about black and whites, and I’d love to hear where you buy your favourites. I’d also like to know if you think the vanilla icing is so much better than the chocolate, because it is.