Black and white cookie
|Alternative names||Half-and-half cookie|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Northeastern states|
|Main ingredients||Shortbread, fondant|
|Cookbook: Black-and-white cookie Media: Black-and-white cookie|
A black-and-white cookie, or half-and-half cookie, is a soft, sponge-cake-like shortbread which is iced on one half with vanilla fondant, and on the other half by chocolate fondant. It is similar to a neenish tart, although neenish tarts are filled with a cream center, whereas a black-and-white cookie is not.
Although bearing a superficial resemblance to black-and-white cookie, half-moon cookies, popular in Central New York, are made to a significantly different recipe. The traditional half-moon cookie is a devil's food cake cookie with buttercream frosting, resulting in a cookie that is richer and moister than the black and white cookie. Half-moon cookies are now also available with a vanilla cookie base.
Cookies of this style are collectively known as "black-and-white cookies" or "half-and-halfs". In Germany they are called "Amerikaner" (American). On October 19, 2008, Barack Obama dubbed them Unity Cookies at a deli in Hollywood, Florida.
History and difference from half-moons
The exact origin of the black-and-white cookie is unknown. The half-moon common in Upstate New York and New England is sometimes confused with the black-and-white cookie but is made with a different recipe. Nonetheless, while the two names are often used interchangeably, there are considerable differences between the two; most notably in the textures of the base and the icing, with black-and-whites having a drier, cookie-like base and fondant frosting. And with the cookie also being bigger than most half-moons.
Half-moons most often come with a chocolate cake base, dark fudge icing on one side and sugary white frosting for the "half-moon" side. Hemstrought's Bakery in Utica, New York, one of the earliest known bakeries to make the black-and-white cookie, also made a vanilla cake base with fudge and white frosting, as well as full "vanilla moons" and "coconut moons," with either a chocolate or vanilla cake base. The original Hemstrought's half moons bakery closed their doors in 2011; they, however, still bake half-moons for local supermarkets, where they are still available.
The typical New York City and Long Island black-and-whites have a vanilla cake base with fudge and white frosting.
In popular culture
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 and that people should "Look to the cookie!" In the episode The Understudy, the hospitalized Bette Midler asks Kramer for one after she is injured at the softball game, telling him, "If I don't get a black-and-white cookie, I'm not going to be very pleasant to be around!"
- "NYC’s 5 Best Black & White Cookies". CBS. January 30, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
- "Iconic Food #7: Black & White Cookie". CBS News. March 12, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
- The Black and White Cookie Meets the Amerikaner | Beyond Burgers and Bratwurst
- Clark, Lesley (21 October 2008). "Barack Obama and the black and white cookie". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- Johnson, Sasha (21 October 2008). "Obama: McCain is 'running out of time' and 'making stuff up'". CNN. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- Grimes, William (May 13, 1998). "'Look to the Cookie': An Ode in Black and White". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
- "What Makes a Good New York Black & White Cookie? Thoughts on the Best". seriouseats.com.
- Kim Howe. "Hemstrought Bakery’s Chocolate Half-Moon Cookie Recipe". Howe I Eat.
- "Happy Birthday Half Moon Cookies! An Upstate Tradition (But Which Side Do You Eat First?)". CNY News.
- "The Best Black and White Cookies? Half-Moons? Amerikaners?". seriouseats.com.
- Sims, David (July 21, 2011). "Seinfeld: "The Face Painter"/"The Understudy"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 1, 2015.