Continuing in our grand New York City food tour tradition, we spent a day exploring some of the best black & white cookies that Manhattan has to offer.
While our ice cream sandwich tour had a decisive winner, in contrast with the cookie’s name, the black & white cookie tour had many shades of grey.
What’s a black & white cookie?
Also known as a half moon cookie (by people who are wrong), the black & white cookie is a yellow cakey cookie topped with vanilla icing on one half and chocolate on the other. Traditionally, the cakey cookie has a hint of lemon, but this isn’t always the case.
It’s a quintessential New York City treat, albeit not as well known.
What’s the story behind the tour?
As with all of our food tours, Lisa researched the hell out of the subject. She read a ton of reviews and plotted the best reviewed and/or most interesting locations on a map. Then we set out on foot. (This way we could burn off some of the calories we took on in cookies.)
The overall winner – Zabar’s
The famous New York supermarket and delicatessen had our favorite overall black & white cookie.
The cake had just a hint of lemon and was appropriately moist (which is a problem for a lot of black & white cookies). It was the best cake of the tour.
The vanilla icing was arguably the best of the tour. The other competitor for the vanilla title was William Greenberg. Our group was split evenly on which vanilla icing was better, but we all agreed it was close.
The chocolate was grand and decisively second to Anna’s Bakery.
There were no weak links; every piece played well with the others.
The runner up – Anna’s Bakery
We cheated a bit and brought a box of my childhood favorite black & white cookies from Rockland County (~25 miles north of Manhattan).
While Zabar’s had the best overall black & white cookie, Anna’s had the best chocolate icing. It’s closer to a fudgey frosting and it’s magnificent. The chocolate delightfully contrasted with the vanilla icing as well as the cake.
The rest of the cookie is damn good too, but the chocolate is the star… as it should be.
For the lemon lover – Nussbaum & Wu
This coffee shop and bakery near Columbia University has the lemoniest black & white cookies of the tour.
Their icing is more like a shell, like a dipped ice cream cone. It’s nifty.
They also serve some interesting flavored variants like mocha, strawberry, and mint (which we didn’t try).
So if you’re looking for some bold experimentation in your black & white cookies, this is your place.
Other excellent places
This was our third place cookie. William Greenberg offers one of the highest regarded black & white cookies in the city. We all agreed that it had wonderful vanilla icing. It was damn good.
Purchased on a whim from a farmer’s market we walked past on the tour, this cookie was good, but the cake was a tad on the dry side.
We closed out our tour with a black & white cookie from Amy’s Bread. Had it not followed so many superb cookies, I think we would have loved it, but in comparison, it didn’t hold up.
If you’re in the area and want a black & white cookie, it’s a solid option, but I wouldn’t travel to grab one.
The villains – Glasers
Glasers is famous for their black & white cookies… but we cannot tell you how good or bad they are.
These assholes are closed for the next few weeks, but unlike most respectful restaurant operators, they didn’t post anything to their website or change their voicemail message. They just disconnected their phones and locked their doors.
So… we hiked across the city for nothing.
Except when we got there, some people affiliated with the place were there… and they were snarky shits to us.
Skip it and give your business to one of the many great black & white cookie bakers in Manhattan who care about their customers.