Bagels, pretzels, pizza…all of these come to mind when thinking of traditional New York City eats, but what about dessert-wise? What’s the equivalent of a slice of New York pizza in the sweets world? I would have to argue that it’s the black and white cookie.
I’ve never heard of or had one before I came to New York City, and you can find them all over the place here from bakeries to bodegas. And if you watch Seinfeld, you might recognize them from this episode. Wikipedia describes the cookies as a “sponge-cake like shortbread” with white chocolate fondant on one half and chocolate fondant on the other half, hence the matter-of-fact name. I did some Googling to try and see if I could find where the BEST ones were in the Big Apple and Glaser’s Bake Shop popped up.
It turns out that Glaser’s was opened in 1902 by two Bavarian immigrants, John and Justine Glaser, showing just how far back this black and white cookie tradition goes. The bakery has an adorable, retro exterior, and before you even walk in you can smell delicious scents of all things baked goods. The inside is super simple and unrefined in a charming, “this place seems like wonderful secret” kind of way. There’s an L-shaped glass counter with the various cakes and cookies on display, and behind it you can see more trays of freshly baked goods and the work space in the very back.
Everything is super cheap, which makes the cash only policy not as annoying or unexpected. There are SO many options here. Besides cakes and cookies, there are muffins, pies, danishes, brownies, tarts, you name it! They also sell another famous New York dessert–the rainbow cookie–but unfortunately were out of them when I went there. I was already planning on getting a black and white cookie and a rainbow cookie, and since they didn’t have the second, I had to pick something else out. Yeah. I said “had.” How could I not get at least two things when there was so much deliciousness in front of me?
I chose the chocolate chip cookie, because OMG it was square! Yeah, I’ll admit that was the main reason I chose it. It’s not every day that you see or eat one of those. If you like crunchy cookies, then you’ll like Glaser’s version which was much more on the biscuit-y side than the chewy kind. And the black and white cookie? Delicious! The cookie was light and airy…I see you Wikipedia, very “sponge-cake like” indeed. And look how gorgeous that frosting is! It definitely didn’t look like it had been hardened on that cookie while sitting around for days. It looked fresh and glossy and added a nice sweetness to the simple vanilla cookie.
Glaser’s is one of those treasured little neighborhood bakeries that I’ll be sure to visit again when I’m in the area and in need of a sweet fix. And basically, unless I’ve just had dessert a minute ago, I’m ALWAYS in need for a sweet fix. I love how uncomplicated this place is. You walk in, get your cookies, and go. Traditional and authentic…Glaser’s is a treat amidst the other ultra-trendy bakeries out there.
Chocolate chip cookie, black and white cookie
1670 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10128