American Culture: Black and White Cookies

Tuesday, September 8, 2020


One naturally thinks of New York City in connection with such well-known sights as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Central Park. Would you believe that a cookie is also an iconic symbol of New York City? It’s true, and it’s the black and white cookie

The black and white cookie is extremely light and fluffy, like a little cake, with a top that's decorated on one half with chocolate frosting and vanilla on the other. It’s a New York deli favorite, a staple in every bakery and bagel shop in the city, and there are many theories to its origin: 

Some believe its creation was the result of a dessert trend at the end of the 19th century, which was to combine dark and light elements in one dessert. It was very popular, for example, to spread chocolate frosting on a vanilla cake or have varieties of cakes with dark and light layers. This light-dark theme eventually transferred to cookies. 

There are also theories that the black and white cookie is of German origin; others believe it’s of Italian-American origin. Regardless, if you want a little taste of New York City, try a black and white cookie. Here’s the recipe if you want to make your own:

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