Why Black And White Cookies Aren't Actually Cookies

"The key to eating a black and white cookie is you want to get some black and some white in each bite. Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate," Jerry tells Elaine in The Dinner Party episode of Seinfeld. While Jerry's technique may be spot on, he left out a whole tangent about black and white cookies not actually being cookies at all. What's the deal with that?

While the classic Seinfeld scene could easily be recreated in any busy New York bakery today, the iconic vanilla and chocolate icing-covered treats sold as black and white cookies are not even cookies at all. According to Thrillist, it turns out black and white cookies technically fall under the category of "drop cakes." Unlike cookies, drop cakes are made from a dough that has extra flour, resulting in a softer texture in between that of a cupcake and a cookie. Even more impressive than the texture might be the conspicuous icing, that Sally's Baking Addiction describes as "creamy yet crackly when you bite into it, sort of like donut glaze...but better."

Where did black and white cookies come from?

Much like the pyramids and Stonehenge, we may never know the entire history of the black and white cookie, but we have some pretty good clues. Glaser's Bake Shop, a former bakery in New York City's Upper East Side neighborhood of Yorkville, was opened by German immigrants John and Justine Glaser in 1902. The bakery became well-known for its black and white cookies, which the Glasers had apparently been making from the time that they first opened their shop, as reported by Eater. But that's just the half of it. Another bakery in New York also has claims to the black and white cookie origins.

According to Home in the Finger Lakes, former architect Harry Hemstrought started a bakery in Utica in 1925. He sold a popular cookie called a half moon that was decorated in half chocolate topping and half white (sound familiar?). The main differences between half moons and black and whites are the texture and topping. Half moons have more of a cakey base and black and whites have a thinner, shortbread-like base. Though both cookies have a similar split "Ebony and Ivory" appearance, half moons are topped with chocolate and vanilla buttercream while black and whites are glazed.