Funny thing. We always thought Black and White Cookies were the same thing as Half-Moons. We’re from Boston. Have we mentioned that? Yes. And in New England, there are Half-Moons, not Black and White cookies. Since there are about a million other cookies with which we’d rather jump into a disordered-eating relationship, distinguishing between the two never bothered us. In fact, the last time we had a Half-Moon was five years back at a dairy house on the edge of a cow pasture in a Massachusetts town far beyond the familiarity of Rt. 95 and therefor forgettable. While the town was forgettable, the cookie was not. See, the sole purpose of getting the cookie was to buy our way into the rest room. We’re familiar with this purchasing strategy and estimate that up to 40% of our sales at Fine Bagels are based on toilet-guilt. Whatever works. So there we are, buying a cookie we don’t really want, only to find out that the bathroom is out of order. In the end, we’re stuck sitting on an overturned milk-crate chewing a stale Half-Moon cookie while we mull over how it would go to have our first outdoor pee in a decade in a waste-deep hay field peopled entirely by Lyme-disease ridden ticks. That cookie sucked. But we remember it.
But back to that funny thing. Turns out that Half-Moons aren’t the same as Black and White Cookies. They’re only mostly the same. From what the internet tells us, the New York City variety, the true Black and White Cookie, differs from the Half-Moon in the maturing process. While the New England Half-Moon becomes intolerably stale after 48 hours and has a typical shelf life of 2 weeks, the New York City Black and White Cookie becomes intolerably stale after 48 hours and has a typical shelf life of 3 weeks. We’ll let the New York Times take it from here:
The black-and-white cookie, that frumpy and oversize mainstay of New York City bakeries and delis, has not endured by dint of its taste. Unlike other edible icons, like New York cheesecake or bagels, there is no such thing as a delicious black-and-white cookie. They are either edible or inedible. Fresh-baked and home-baked are the best.
That’s from an article where they published the Zabar’s recipe for a black and white cookie. Here it is. And here’s what happens when you follow it: