Second Helpings


Black, White and Delectable

    If you’re a New York transplant, you most likely are familiar with the black and white cookie. If not—well, unless someone has already steered you to Bob Jaffe’s Grand Bakery—there is a treat with your name on it awaiting your approval.
    The black and white is round, 4½ inches in diameter, labor-intensive to make, fragile to handle and distribute, meltingly mouth-watering to bite into and, to quote Jaffe, “more of a flat cake than a cookie.” Jerry Seinfeld once riffed about the black and white as “racial harmony on a cookie.”
    It was Jaffe’s favorite thing to eat as a kid in New Jersey. When he came to the East Bay more than 20 years ago, Jaffe was left with the memory and a craving, and he’d joke that probably somebody could earn a living making black and whites. Around 10 years ago, ready for something new after 15 years running a wholesale distribution business in San Leandro, Jaffe started experimenting—briefly at a friend’s bakery in Bolinas, and soon at the Grand Bakery, which he subsequently bought.
    He got his recipe from a caterer he’d worked for in a summer camp kitchen 25 years earlier, tweaking it to exclude butter to keep it kosher. The result formed the foundation of his business.
    Each black and white is made by hand. “Chocolate brownies are easy,” says Jaffe. “But the black and white has idiosyncrasies. It takes skill.” The batter is piped from a bag onto the baking sheets. “Once the cookies have cooled, half of each is coated with white icing (with lemon-almond flavor). The other half is covered with melted chocolate.” It is the shop’s signature delight and sells for $1.50—a small price to pay for a taste of New York.
    Grand Bakery, 3264 Grand Ave., open 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Tue.–Thu., 7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., (510) 465-1110.
–By Wanda Hennig
–Photography by Lori Eanes

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