The black-and-white cookie seems simple: just a sugary cookie with thick layers of chocolate and vanilla frosting covering its surface. But as I ate my way through your list of the best versions in the Boston area, I was reminded that this iconic dessert isn’t as simple as it seems.
For starters, not every pastry with a distinctive black-and-white frosted top can accurately be called a black-and-white cookie—there’s also its cousin, the half-moon. The former is a cookie, usually a little dry (a common problem, according to New York City baker Herb Glaser), with a thin layer of chocolate and vanilla fondant frosting on top. They’re modest in size, kind of like a generous sugar cookie. They may actually have evolved from the half-moon, which aren’t actually cookies at all. Instead, they’re small cakes, usually with a higher dome than you’d find on a layer cake, and topped with generous layers of whipped chocolate and buttercream frosting. Black-and-white cookies had their place in pop-culture history cemented in two classic episodes of “Seinfeld,” but both desserts are longtime New York City staples.
In Boston, we’re lucky enough to have both treats (some of which seem to toe the line between the two). Although this started as a round-up of black-and-white cookies, we’re including half-moons here as well because your list of suggestions included both. Take a look at the bakeries we visited and add your own tasting notes in the comments!