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How To Make a New Kind of Black-and-White Cookie

A French twist on a New York classic

Joan Nathan
February 23, 2016
Photo: Dan Allen
Photo: Dan Allen
Photo: Dan Allen
Photo: Dan Allen

When Rachael Fox—who was making pastry at the Behind the Bookstore coffee bar on Martha’s Vineyard—was growing up in Los Angeles, she loved the black-and-white cookies at Canter’s Deli. “There was a bar/music venue next to Canter’s called the Kibbitz Room,” she told me as I tasted her version of the iconic New York cookie at her little café in Edgartown, Massachusetts. “After dancing all night, we would go to the deli for some matzo ball soup and grab a black-and-white cookie on the way out.”

When Fox finished traveling around Europe after high school, she returned to Los Angeles and worked in a French restaurant kitchen, where she learned how to make buttery crisp sablé biscuits (definitely not a New York thing!) and thought, why not make them with black-and-white frosting?

“They aren’t cake-like, like they are in New York,” said Fox—who has since left Martha’s Vineyard for the Post Lodge in Big Sur, California. The typical New York black-and-white cookies are softer, more reminiscent of muffin tops. Fox’s super buttery cookies are different, more similar in taste and texture to the German muerbeteig pastries my grandmother used to make.

But, dare I admit it, I like this version (recipe here) even more.

The Recipe

French Black and White Cookies

French Black and White Cookies

Joan Nathan is Tablet Magazine’s food columnist and the author of 10 cookbooks including King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World.

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