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Black and White Cookies

I had a lot of fun recreating these classic Brooklyn cookies at home. I grew up with these – everyone around here did, it seems. And everyone has their own way of eating them. I like the vanilla side better (which is definitely the exception for me), so I eat the chocolate side first. My brother, Josh Sucher (of Block Factory Consulting), likes to save the line down the center for last, and he always gets annoyed with me if I take a bite from that precious balanced line when he offers part of his cookies to me.

Storebought black and white cookies are fun, and nostalgic, but usually a bit stale and dense. So why not make them at home? They’re easy to throw together, and they will be the best black and white cookies you’ve ever tasted.

The best part for me was offering them to my family, in honor of years of sharing black and white cookies bought from the deli downstairs at 26 Court Street in Brooklyn Heights.

In other news, our next dinner at the restaurant will be on September 20, 2008. You can see the menu here. We were overbooked for our August dinner several weeks in advance, so if you’re interested, you should go and reserve your seats sooner rather than later.

2007: Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Black and White Cookies
(from Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard)
for the cookie dough
2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 oz. (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 C sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C buttermilk
for the icing
2 1/2 C plus 1 tsp confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup, plus more as needed
2 tbsp hot water, plus more as needed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT dutch process)

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Beating at low speed, and just until incorporated each time, beat in a third of the flour mixture, half of the buttermilk, another third of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk, and then the rest of the flour.

Spoon the dough 1/4 C at a time onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet, several inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate and bake for an addition 8 minutes or so, until lightly golden around the edges.

Let the cookies cool on a wire rack while you make the icing.

To make the icing, beat together the confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, carefully melt the chocolate.

Separate out half of the icing and whisk in the chocolate and cocoa powder. Whisk in a bit more hot water and corn syrup to help everything integrate and to thin it out a bit.

Spread chocolate icing on half of each cookie, let it set, then spread vanilla icing on the other half.

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15 Responses to “Black and White Cookies”

  1. baconbit says:

    I am like your brother – I like to eat the line down the middle last. I used to get very agitated as a child, not wanting to offend either the black or the white side (I am mixed race) by eating it first or last. So I would alternate very carefully between the two.

    The line is the best!!!

  2. I take one bite of the chocolate side, one of the vanilla, and back and forth, eating equally from each side. The last bite has to have a bit of each color. I have no idea why — but since childhood that’s how I’ve eaten black-and-whites.

  3. Manggy says:

    Oh man, it wasn’t part of MY childhood! I think I’m going to have to remedy that! ;)

  4. BrooklynQ says:

    I love these cookies and included them on my list of what every omnivore should eat. Check it out. I’d love your take on it.


  5. Jordan Sucher says:

    I used to (and still do) eat black and white cookies by breaking it in half and seeing if I could get it perfectly in half by color, and If I didn’t, I would eat enough on each side so that they would only be one color, and then I ate the vanilla side altogether first. Im going to make some tomorrow.

  6. Michelle says:

    I love B & W cookies, but a good one from a bakery is so very rare. Thanks for this recipe!

  7. Angela says:

    I love how cookies and cakes can conjure up such great memories. I’ve never had a black & white cookie, but I’ll fix that soon :)

  8. Sue V says:

    These cookies were known as “half moon cookies” in upstate NY where I grew up.

    Upstate NYers figure they invented them. (That’s about all they have claim-to-fame anyway. There’s not much else going on there.)

    You never baked them but always got them from a commercial bakery where they used lard and all sorts of fake ingredients and transfats. They were a pleasant change in your school lunch but I haven’t had one in years. My eating habits have changed a lot since then.

  9. Peg says:

    Half moon cookies!! Yes! They were CHOCOLATE cookies, not vanilla ones, and everyone knows eating the vanilla-frosted side last made for a more satisfying half-moon cookie eating experience.

    The bakery in my hometown (Elmira NY), Light’s, still makes these and they’re awesome. I think the main bakery in Corning also makes them still. Taste just like when I was a kid; I try to grab some when I am in town.

    I’d love to try and and make them–they’re a very cakey cookie. This recipe looks worth a try, too. I bake cupcakes for a local cafe and am thinking fo doing a half-moon cupcake…chocolate of course!

  10. Shari says:

    I keep hearing about these cookies, but I’ve never tried them. Now, I have to! Thanks for the recipe.

  11. Kate says:

    these are really awesome cookies. I think i like the vanilla side better too :p

  12. Andrea says:

    I started eating these cookies in Denver, where I grew up, at a jewish bakery. I’d never had the real thing until I moved to NYC, but now they’re one of the better treats I can think of. I always eat chocolate first and then vanilla, but I’d never thought of eating down the line. Maybe I can get myself to try that next time, if I can manage to break out of habit.

  13. Rachel says:

    I love these, but they’re definitely not a “Brooklyn” special! Like Peg above, we called them “half moon cookies,” and my mom used to get them for me as a treat sometimes when she went to the Kosher bakery to buy challah for shabbat outside of Boston. Must be a Jewish thing. Or just a generic East European thing. Anyway, yay for the recipe! Can’t wait to make them :-)

  14. Carol says:

    I LOVE(D) HALF MOON COOKIES! The chocolate black and white, that is. I could eat tons of them – well as a kid anyway. Did any of the upstate New Yorkers try making the chocolate version??? I never knew them to be Jewish or otherwise, just a dreamy cookie. I would love the recipe. Can someone post it? I have the recipe from the bakery (Hemstrought’s) but the ingredients are for bakery-sized portions and I’m not sure how the recipe would work in a smaller portion.

  15. Judy says:

    I have been thinking about these cookies for weeks now. I decided to look online for info. I am living in Ireland and can’t find my recipe. The one I had used a yellow cake mix with some alterations and was given to me when I was in High School by a friend, Carol Anne. I wonder if anyone knows what the changes are to the cake mix version which was always great.

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August 2008
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