Black and White Cookies
May 6th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

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.

La Delice Bakery
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.)

Eating black and white cookies
sugar-associated guilt

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).

Crumbs Black and White Cookie
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.

20 Responses  
  • Kim writes:
    May 6th, 201011:15 amat

    Back when I used to eat, when I ate black and white cookies, I ate them in bites left to right, while holding them vertically. This meant that, depending on the size of bites I was taking, I got however many bites that included BOTH sides of the frosting. Which was my favorite bite.

    However, I do agree that if I had to pick, the hard white icing is better than the chocolate frosting.

    OT: I have done basically no work the past 2 days, and this is at least 25% your fault. Good thing I’m not cut out for work anyway.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 6th, 201011:58 amat

      That’s how Kamran eats them! Maybe you will end up stealing him away, since I always finish my cookie well before him and then beg for bites of his vanilla.

      The Wikipedia article about these things calls the icing “fondant”, but there’s no way that’s fondant, right? Unless there’s some sort of actually-delicious-and-not-totally-fake-looking fondant I don’t know about.

      I’m really enjoying talking to you in various mediums. If you quit your job, and I quit my job, and Kamran supported us both as part of his harem, I think we’d be the most fascinating Ladies Who Lunch ever.

      • Kat writes:
        May 7th, 20108:49 amat

        From what I know, it is fondant, which would make sense based on the consistency.

        I think fondant sucks less in smaller quantities?

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          May 9th, 20104:41 pmat

          Weird! I just associated fondant with those cakes you see made a week in advance at fancy bakeries. It seems kind of . . . dough-ish?

          On black and white cookies, the chocolate always seems like frosting and the vanilla always seems like icing to me. But maybe fondant comes in many forms?

          • Kim writes:
            May 10th, 20109:48 amat

            I agree, I have always considered the chocolate to be frosting and the vanilla to be icing, but I think most people don’t differentiate between the two (I guess you don’t really NEED to, but I mean, icing is … harder, right? That’s the point?).

            Anyway, yeah, I can see the white part as being fondant I suppose. It’s a bit … flakier, I think, than I usually think of fondant as being, but no doubt it’s just beaten sugar and water, so I guess the components add up.

            This is making me think of the time I made a totally bomb strawberry pie (cold, Southern-style) and had an all-out brawl with some bitch who wanted to tell my drunk, party-hosting self all night that “ACTUALLY, it’s a TORTE, see, it is NOT COOKED.” Which, first of all, is not correct on ANY level, and even if she meant “tart” is still wrong. What a bitch.

  • Heesa Phadie writes:
    May 6th, 201011:36 amat

    :( I’ve never tried one. Dessert and Seinfeld are two of my favorite things…you’d think I’d have had one. Darn you New Yokers.

    You’ve really never had one that you didn’t like? That’s crazy…and awesome…but also means I need to get my teeth into one soon. Gosh…I don’t think I can find them outside of the City though.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 6th, 201012:35 pmat

      You can buy them in basically every bodega on every corner here, and even those are good, so either it’s just a damned good cookie, or I have undiscerning tastes.

      I’ve seen them in Pennsylvania, I think, but otherwise, you’re out of luck. Time to make your own!

      Haha, just kidding. You know I don’t condone baking.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    May 6th, 20102:03 pmat

    1. Tracey had a “Seinfeld”-themed bridal shower?

    The Guy is going to leave me for Tracey.

    2. Jennifer of Jennifer-and-Swell-Nathan fame introduced me to black-and-white cookies (they’re a big deal in Florida too – who knew?), and I blame them for at least five pounds’ worth of weight gain.

    3. I love your hair in that photo.

    • Tracey writes:
      May 6th, 20102:26 pmat

      Actually, if The Guy was going to leave you for anyone over this, it should probably be our friend Samantha, since she put the whole thing together. She’s the one who fed us the cookies, the marble rye, the chocolate bobka, the big salad, chips (no double-dipping allowed), and soup.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 9th, 20104:48 pmat

      Everyone in NYC is from either Ohio or Florida, and everyone from Ohio retires in Florida, so it makes sense that we’d grow old and eventually take the cookies down there with us. Well worth the weight gain, I’d say.

      The horns my hair creates has me accused of being the devil just about every day. But thanks!

  • Tracey writes:
    May 6th, 20102:24 pmat

    I can acknowledge that the vanilla half is sorta better than the chocolate half, but I think it’s highly important to note that this may just be the ONLY dessert in all of dessert-dom in which this is the case.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 9th, 20104:45 pmat

      I knew you’d say that! Just for you: the last time I ordered cupcakes from Crumbs for the office, I asked them to only include ones with yellow cake. When they showed up and everyone was all, “Where’s the chocolate?! And the red velvet?!”, I was like, “Wow, how WEIRD.”

      I like chocolate frosting and all, but I could be happy never eating chocolate cake again.

      • Kim writes:
        May 10th, 20109:42 amat

        You … ordered all yellow cake cupcakes? On purpose? I mean, that caramel apple cupcake Crumbs does is made of heaven, but otherwise … I’d fire you.

  • Sammy Skye writes:
    May 6th, 20104:12 pmat

    i pass by la delice every day and never think to go in. now i will have to!!! b&w’s are my favorite!!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 9th, 20104:42 pmat

      My boyfriend wanted me to point out that the La Delice black and whites are totally different than any other. They have scalloped edges and are more crumbly on the bottom, like a regular cookie.

      So go to La Delice if it’s convenient, but go to Crumbs if you want a real black and white.

  • Mer writes:
    May 6th, 20104:52 pmat

    ITA with Bachelor Girl about your hair in that photo!

    With the influx of New Yawkers down here in NC (IBM retirees mostly) I have no trouble finding Black and White Cookies (and cannoli) at the NY-style pizza place in my neighborhood. My granny would have called the cookie part a “tea cake.” When I eat one I think of her. And I start with the white icing half first, because I’m a chocoholic and I like to anticipate. Add a glass of milk to the equation and I’m in heaven.


    • plumpdumpling writes:
      May 9th, 20104:58 pmat

      Thanks, lady! It kind of, um, has a mind of its own.

      It’s funny, because the pizzeria on the Ohio State campus where I used to eat all of the time billed itself as New-York-style, but then I moved here and found out that it was the exact OPPOSITE of NY-style. Oh, Ohio.

      Awesome that you can find all of the NY staples down there, though, and I’m pleased that one person here likes the chocolate half best for a little balance.

  • Tessa writes:
    May 6th, 20105:41 pmat

    The very first thing I ever ate in New York was a black and white cookie — at about 3 in the morning. I also had some amazing avocado crunchy things and delightful crab cakes — and at that point I knew I’d have to return to the city at some point and not just drive through late one night. They told me this was a CHAIN of ridiculously delicious pastry shops — open at this time of night? Whoa.

  • Kat writes:
    May 7th, 20108:41 amat

    I can’t recall the first time I had a black and white cookie. I do know, however, that the vanilla side is far superior to the chocolate side, and I will always save the better side for last. Or not eat the chocolate. Um.

  • Meredith writes:
    May 9th, 20109:53 pmat

    Seinfeld was where I first learned about them too. I tried them a couple of times when I moved to NYC but wasn’t too impressed by any of them. Maybe I should give them another try!

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