Looking to the baked goods

Friday, August 17th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Friends

The thing about eating the black and white cookie, Elaine, is you want to get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate. And yet somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved.

– Jerry Seinfeld, The Dinner Party

Ah, the black and white cookie. Beloved by generations of New Yorkers, this ebony and ivory treat is technically not a cookie, but a flat, thinly frosted drop cake. The icing is half white (vanilla, sometimes spiked with a hint of lemon), half black (dark chocolate) giving the cookie its descriptive name.

It was just the thing to bring to SYB’s “Half and Half”-themed dinner. My back-up would have been black and tans – known as “half and halfs” in the U.K. — but Shandies and possibly Arnold Palmers were already on the menu. Some guests only had to bring themselves.

I picked up my black and whites from a bakery on Columbus Avenue that make a “mini” version — actually, by normal cookie standards: just slightly oversized, as opposed to the standard black and white, which runs 4-6 inches in diameter.

Black and Whites

I’d always thought these cookies were specific to New York City, but according to one upstate New York native at dinner tonight, the black and whites are popular in Utica, where they are known as “half moons.” Uticans know the best place to get them are the Hemstrought Bakery chain of stores, local favorites since the 1920s, and the subject of a feature article that appeared in Saveur in 1999.

The upstate version is similar, but not identical, to its city cousin, made instead with a cookie base of chocolate, spread with double-thick icing—half fudge, half buttercream vanilla. Intriguing! Hemstrought Bakery offers shipping of their most popular item to New York City: $32 for two dozen half moons, as of when I called the shop this morning. Taste-off, anyone?

We’ve read reports of Mother Teresa appearing in a cinnamon bun, or Jesus on a fishstick. If the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich can fetch $28,000 at auction, what price for Buddha in a bundt cake?

Buddha Cake

There are 2 Comments ... Looking to the baked goods

August 28, 2007

Somebody ate Buddha!

August 28, 2007

Alas… yet another missed opportunity for untold riches.

Go for it ...