American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

American Classics: Pumpkin Black and White Cookies

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[Photograph: Pam Parrella]

Stroll into any New York bagel shop or bodega and it's more than likely that you'll encounter a beloved New Yorker: the black-and-white cookie. With one half chocolate frosting and the other half vanilla, how you approach a black-and-white is telling.

Are you a chocolate person or a vanilla person? Do you take your first bite from the center? Or do you go for a more balanced approached, alternating your chocolate and vanilla bites? Though the providence of this much loved cookie may be lost to the ages—Glaser's, a 109 year old Upper East Side institution, has reportedly been making them for decades—I think we can all agree that this springy cakelike cookie is ideal for an indecisive eater (or an equal opportunity snacker).

There's no right season for the perennially delicious black-and-whites, but that doesn't stop plenty of bakeries from giving them a little bit of a holiday spin. My local bagel shop makes green-and-whites for St. Patty's Day, but it was their Halloween "black-and-oranges" that inspired this playful take on the New York classic. I'm a sucker for holiday themed goodies, but as I was wolfing down my cookie, I got to thinking, what if instead of orange icing you made a Halloween black-and-white with a pumpkin cookie base?

The pumpkin puree lends a lightness to the texture and gives it enough moisture to stave off the dryness that tends to plague traditional black-and-whites. And the pumpkin works equally well with the vanilla and chocolate frostings, making for a slightly tricky, but still winning Halloween treat.

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Pumpkin Black and White Cookies »

Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild mannered children's book editor by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie and a Midtown Lunch contributor. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.

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