Sunday, June 8, 2008

A top-notch black & white cookie at Glaser's

In addition to being a cupcake fanatic, I consider myself somewhat of a black & white cookie conoisseur. When I was younger, I used to go with my dad to pick up Sunday brunches at the Bagel Baker in my hometown. In addition to a bag of bagels and cream cheese, we always came home with a treat for me: a halfmoon cookie (note: in my heart of hearts, they will always be halfmoons, but since I'm a New Yorker now I'll use the term "black and white cookie," even though it makes part of my soul die just a little bit). So for me, b&ws are not only delicious but nostalgic as well. I've unofficially been trying to find the best b&w in the city, and by many accounts, that title rests with Glaser's. Yesterday, since it was approximately 115 degrees out and I had nothing better to do, I decided to venture up to the Upper East Side to see what it was all about.

The entrance. I like the grandmotherly lace curtains... they'll come back in style someday.

Glaser's is a dusty and somewhat unassuming old German bakery. The inside is utilitarian: a pastry case with the goods for sale, and that's pretty much it. There were some delicious-looking cupcakes and chocolate-covered goodies, but I was here on a mission.

Huge meringue presence here

Lots of things with almonds

And my mission, as I chose to accept it, was to purchase the quote-unquote "best" b&w in the city. The women working the counter were chatting to another customer, whom they seemed to know well, and seemed mildly perturbed by my presence. Nonetheless, I got what I came for, and it was cheap, too: $1.50 (not including the subway fare it took to get there...).

My quarry

I emerged into the swealtering heat, ready to see what the buzz was all about.

It's so cute, hiding in the bag like that.

But first, I had to get home. Now, for some reason I decided to walk from the UES back to Hell's Kitchen. Don't ask me why I did that, because even at the time it seemed stupid. But I managed to get the b&w back in one piece, and after a light dinner, I was ready to go.

But first, a telltale sign that we were on the right track:

As Dr. Nick says, if the paper turns clear, it's your window to weight gain

I arranged my plate and silverware, as is customary dessert protocol for me.

I appreciate the vanilla frosting overhang on the cookie's edge

The b&w seemed to have two very different icings: the vanilla side was the usual powdered-sugar glaze, while the chocolate side seemed more like typical frosting, with the merest crackled sugary crust on top. The vanilla was extraordinarily sweet, with a mild vanilla flavor on the aftertaste. The chocolate was much more powerful: a fudgy, thick, almost dark-chocolate tasting frosting. Again, as Jerry Seinfeld discussed at length, the beauty of the b&w is that the vanilla and chocolate play off each other, so taking one bite of vanilla and one of chocolate, or getting a bite with both in it at once, created the perfect racial harmony.

Frosting close-up

The cookie part was very cakey, which I like in a b&w. It was light, a little dry, as it should be; I couldn't quite place the flavor, which was extremely slight-- perhaps vanilla, perhaps the faintest bit of lemon. Either way, it was a fitting conveyance for the frosting (which is the whole point of the b&w, obvi).

A nice airy, crumbly cake

I also appreciate that the Glaser's b&w is a manageable size. I could (and did) finish this off easily without falling into a sugar coma. Was this the best b&w I've ever had? Hard to say. Is it the best in Manhattan? Since I haven't tried them all (yet), I can't deliver that final judgment, but I will say this: Glaser's makes a mighty fine b&w. If you're in the neighborhood, or if you live in Hell's Kitchen but happen to be insane (see also: me), swing by the little powder-blue shop on 1st avenue and pick one up for yourself. If nothing else, you'll have yourself a solid dessert.
Note: Thanks to a vigilant reader, I now offer the actual address of Glaser's: It's at 87th and 1st avenue. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Be good to post the actual address...

Janine said...


You're so right-- I've updated the post with the cross streets.

Thanks for reading! Now go get yourself a b&w!