Black and white cookie

  (Redirected from Half-moons)

A black-and-white cookie, half-and-half cookie, or half-moon cookie is a round cookie iced or frosted on one half with vanilla and on the other with chocolate. In the German language they are called Amerikaner. There are regional differences: a black-and-white cookie is flat, has fondant icing on a denser cake base, and is common in New York City, while a half-moon cookie is slightly dome-shaped, has frosting on a fluffier cake base, and is common in Central New York and Boston.[1] Often one side is frosted higher than the other. Black-and-white cookies may also be found with frosting instead of fondant.

Black-and-white cookie
Alternative namesHalf-and-half cookie

The origin of the black-and-white cookie in New York City is commonly traced to Glaser's Bake Shop, founded in 1902 by Bavarian immigrants in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan.[note 1] The black-and-white cookie was among the original recipes used by the bakery.[2] Half-moon cookies, however, can be traced to Hemstrought's Bakery in Utica, New York, around 1925.[3] The relationship between the two origins is murky; it is likely that both recipes share a common German root, although the origin and name of Amerikaner in Germany is also unclear. Purported explanations include a corruption of the word Ammoniumhydrogencarbonat (ammonium bicarbonate, a leavening agent), or that the cookie was (re)introduced to Germany by American GIs in the 1950s.[4] German Amerikaner are often frosted entirely in white frosting.[5] In the former East Germany, due to anti-American sentiment, the name Ammonplätzchen (Ammonia cookies) was used.[6]

In popular cultureEdit

Box of Black and white cookies

Black-and-white cookies are mentioned twice on Seinfeld, set in New York City. In the episode "The Dinner Party", Jerry eats a black-and-white cookie while waiting in a bakery with Elaine. He uses the cookie as a metaphor for racial harmony, saying the chocolate and vanilla represent black and white people living together and if they mix together well on a cookie they can do the same in society, suggesting the answer to poor race relations is to "Look to the cookie!" They are also mentioned on the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, also set in New York City; in the first episode, Miriam grabs some black and whites on her way out of the grocery, which she then gives to the staff of her Upper West Side apartment. [7]

Also in reference to racial harmony, Barack Obama dubbed them Unity Cookies when visiting a deli in Hollywood, Florida in 2008.[8][9]

On June 17, 2010, video footage of Howard Stern show producer Gary Dell'Abate asleep at his desk was shown on in-studio monitors during the Howard Stern Show. Howard Stern blamed black and white cookies for Dell'Abate falling asleep at work as they were delivered to the office weekly on Wednesdays. Dell'Abate admitted, "I probably had 7 or 8. The little ones, not the big ones."[10]

On November 11, 2012, CW's Hart of Dixie referenced the cookie. Main character Dr. Zoe Hart mentioned this as her favorite cookie, and her love interest, Wade, attempted to bake some to make up for eating her black and white cookies.[11]

See alsoEdit

Half-moon cookies and black-&-white cookies in a grocery store in New Hartford, New York (near Utica). The half-moon cookies are significantly larger.


  1. ^ Not to be confused with the village of Yorkville near Utica in Central New York.


  1. ^ Sietsema, Robert (May 19, 2015). "New York in a Dozen Dishes". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 279–290. ISBN 9780544453630.
  2. ^ Sietsema, Robert (June 2, 2014). "The Black-and-White Cookie's Curious History". Eater NY.
  3. ^ D'imperio, Chuck (April 14, 2015). A Taste of Upstate New York: The People and the Stories Behind 40 Food Favorites. Syracuse University Press. pp. 69–72. ISBN 9780815653233.
  4. ^ Honnen, Peter (2008). Alles Kokolores? Wörter und Wortgeschichten aus dem Rheinland. Cologne: Greven Verlag. p. 10. ISBN 978-3-7743-0418-5.
  5. ^ "WW2 Black and White Cookie". Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  6. ^ Martin, Ahrends (1986). Trabbi, Telespargel und Tränenpavillon. Das Wörterbuch der DDR-Sprache. Munich: Heyne. p. 18. ISBN 978-3-4530-2357-4..
  7. ^ Roberts, Sam (2016). A History of New York in 101 Objects. Simon and Schuster. p. 137. ISBN 9781476728797.
  8. ^ Clark, Lesley (October 21, 2008). "Barack Obama and the black and white cookie". The Miami Herald. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  9. ^ Johnson, Sasha (October 21, 2008). "Obama: McCain is 'running out of time' and 'making stuff up'". CNN. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  10. ^ "Gary Fell Asleep During Yesterday's Show". Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  11. ^ "HART OF DIXIE Recap: Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me –". Retrieved October 20, 2019.