Sometimes I can be quite a cranky pedant. A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my facebook feed when I spied a link to one of those Buzzfeed quizzes. It was entitled -- "Can You Pass This Upstate New York Food Test?" I'm not one for these sorts of things but I had a minute so I gave it a go.
Scrolling through the quiz I came to the question, "What are these treats called?" There was a picture that was clearly of a Black and White Cookie. So I answered Black and White Cookie... I was told I was wrong and that this was a Halfmoon.
This is where the cranky pedant bit comes in. A black and white cookie is a black and white cookie, a halfmoon is a half-moon (you need only to consult the wiki). There is a difference. So I got angry. I am proud of Upstate/Central/Western/North Country/etc... food traditions (halfmoons are out of Central New York) and I have taken it upon myself to champion them. So I proceeded to harangue the author of the quiz...
@perpetua Your "Upstate" food quiz is wrong. https://t.co/uCTHAw62pu Those are black and white cookies not Halfmoons. There's a difference.— Mister Dave (@RidiculousFood) March 1, 2016
Until he (@perpetua) replaced the offending picture of the black and white cookie with one of my own pictures of a proper Hemstrought's halfmoon.
I thought this a grand public service, but I think the matter warrants a little more discussion. I will do that below.
Whenever the halfmoon vs. black and white cookie debate comes up someone will invariably chime in with, "but lots of people use the terms interchangeably." I like to respond to this with a quote from one of my favorite Peep Show characters -- Super Hans.
So here is a side by side comparison of the two treats for clarity's sake.
I obtained my specimens at the Hannafords in Delaware Plaza in Delmar. Note that they sell both Hemstrought's half-moons and generic black and white cookies. Labeled correctly.
Black and White Cookies -
First we shall examine a black and white cookie. This is a creature of downstate/NYC/Long Island extraction. It is widely available throughout New York and has a few defining characteristics.
The vanilla/chocolate topping is a solid glaze or fondant sort of stuff. It is often almost crispy to the tooth.
The "cookie" part is a dense white/vanilla substance, often flavored with a bit of citrus.
I am not a fan of this particular cookie.
Now we have a glorious Hemstrought's Halfmoon. The vanilla/chocolate topping is composed of frosting. Note that the vanilla side is often higher than the chocolate at the center line.
The "cookie" part is not vanilla sponge. It is chocolate! A proper halfmoon has a chocolate base.
Take a bite of the halfmoon. It is delicious. Soft, yielding frosting and a cocoa punch from the cookie. No deviant crispy fondant and citrus scented garbage sponge.
This my friend is a halfmoon.
So maybe the terms aren't so "interchangeable," eh? In fact, my children (bless their hearts) reject black and white cookies outright. Halfmoons are one of their beloved treats. The cookies are two separate and distinct animals and I will point this out every single time it comes up.
I hope I have cleared this up for you.
Also, go home Hemstrough'ts. You are drunk. These particular halfmoons are weird.