Black and white cookie

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Black-and-white cookie
Alternative namesHalf-and-half cookie

A black-and-white cookie, half-and-half cookie, or half-moon cookie is a round cookie iced or frosted on one half with vanilla and on the other with chocolate. In the German language they are called Amerikaner. There are regional differences: strictly, a black-and-white cookie is flat, has fondant icing on a shortbread base, and is common in New York City, while a half-moon cookie is slightly dome-shaped, has frosting on a cake base, and is common in Central New York.[1] Often one side is frosted higher than the other. Black-and-white cookies may also be found with frosting instead of fondant.

The origin of the black-and-white cookie in New York City is commonly traced to Glaser's Bake Shop in Yorkville, founded in 1902 by Bavarian immigrants. The black-and-white cookie was among the original recipes used by the bakery.[2] Half-moon cookies, however, can be traced to Hemstrought's Bakery in Utica, New York, around 1925.[3] The relationship between the two origins is murky; it is likely that both recipes share a common German root, although the origin and name of Amerikaner in Germany is also unclear. Purported explanations include a corruption of the word Ammoniumhydrogencarbonat (ammonium bicarbonate, a leavening agent), or that the cookie was (re)introduced to Germany by American GIs in the 1950s.[4] German Amerikaner are often frosted entirely with vanilla.[5] In the former East Germany, due to anti-American sentiment, the name Ammonplätzchen (Ammonia cookies) was used.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Box of Black and white cookies

Black-and-white cookies are mentioned twice on Seinfeld, set in New York City. In the episode "The Dinner Party", Jerry eats a black-and-white cookie while waiting in a bakery with Elaine. He uses the cookie as a metaphor for racial harmony, saying the chocolate and vanilla represent black and white people living together and if they mix together well on a cookie they can do the same in society, suggesting the answer to poor race relations is to "Look to the cookie!"[7]

Also in reference to racial harmony, Barack Obama dubbed them Unity Cookies when visiting a deli in Hollywood, Florida in 2008.[8][9]

On June 17, 2010, video footage of Howard Stern show producer Gary Dell'Abate asleep at his desk was shown on in-studio monitors during the Howard Stern Show. Howard Stern blamed black and white cookies for Dell'Abate falling asleep at work as they were delivered to the office weekly on Wednesdays. Dell'Abate admitted, "I probably had 7 or 8. The little ones, not the big ones."[10]

On November 11,2012, CW's "Hart of Dixie" references the cookie. Main character Dr. Zoe Hart mentions this as her favorite cookie and love interest, Wade, attempts to bake some to make up for eating her black and white cookies. [11]

See also[edit]

Half-moon cookies and black-&-white cookies in a grocery store in New Hartford, New York (near Utica). The half-moon cookies are significantly larger.


  1. ^ Sietsema, Robert. "New York in a Dozen Dishes". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 279–290.
  2. ^ Sietsema, Robert (June 2, 2014). "The Black-and-White Cookie's Curious History". Eater NY.
  3. ^ D'imperio, Chuck. A Taste of Upstate New York: The People and the Stories Behind 40 Food Favorites. Syracuse University Press. pp. 69–72.
  4. ^ Honnen, Peter (2008). Alles Kokolores? Wörter und Wortgeschichten aus dem Rheinland. Cologne: Greven Verlag. p. 10. ISBN 978-3-7743-0418-5.
  5. ^ "WW2 Black and White Cookie". Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Martin, Ahrends (1986). Trabbi, Telespargel und Tränenpavillon. Das Wörterbuch der DDR-Sprache. Munich: Heyne. p. 18. ISBN 978-3-4530-2357-4..
  7. ^ Roberts, Sam (2016). A History of New York in 101 Objects. Simon and Schuster. p. 137.
  8. ^ Clark, Lesley (October 21, 2008). "Barack Obama and the black and white cookie". The Miami Herald. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  9. ^ Johnson, Sasha (October 21, 2008). "Obama: McCain is 'running out of time' and 'making stuff up'". CNN. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  10. ^ "Gary Fell Asleep During Yesterday's Show". Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  11. ^ [1]