In the New York City area they are called Black & Whites and have chocolate and vanilla icing on them, but in upstate New York, where I am from, they are called Half Moon Cookies and have more of a traditional frosting than a hard icing.
Anyway, I’ve adjusted the recipe we have on our site, which originally came from the New York CookBook. Basically, the changes are… instead of 2.5 cups of cake flour and 2.5 cups of all purpose flour, I found that 4 cups of cake flour and 1 cup of all purpose flour make for a much lighter cookie, but still with excellent consistency. They were just too dense and heavy before with so much of the regular flour.
Also, instead of the 20-30 minutes of cooking time, I suggest 12-15 minutes MAX. I don’t even know where they got 20-30 minutes – if I left them in that long at the suggested temperature they’d be dark and crispy, and not in a good way. 12 minutes at 375 in our oven works just fine.
Here’s the recipe:
Half Moon Cookies
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups cake flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375. Butter two baking sheets and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and butter and mix by machine or hand until fluffy. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and lemon extracts and mix until smooth.
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt and stir until mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches, stirring well to combine. Using a soup spoon, drop spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the edges begin to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Note: Frost flat side of cookie, half in chocolate, half in vanilla – can use your favorite frosting recipes, although some prefer more of a glaze or icing than a frosting.
Oh, and that photo of the Half Moon Cookies up there is an older photo. I did make a successful batch a day ago, but just as I was mixing all the dry ingredients we lost power for a few hours. It was after 8 p.m. when we got power back, and by the time the cookies were mixed and baked and ready for frosting I was really tired so I only did chocolate frosting on them – LOL – making them, effectively, just new moon cookies, I suppose. So that’s why I didn’t take new photos – but they came out just perfect with the recipe adjustments – deliciousness!