SQUEEZING FOR SOFTNESS & other taste tests

IMG_2761I LEARNED WHAT HAMENTASHEN are during a free Dessert Tour around the Upper East Side on Sunday. The sugar-powered excursion began at Beanocchio’s where the guide, Bruce, introduced himself and recommended the black & white cookie in the same breath – “Get them before they’re gone!”

I made a beeline for the counter, feeling smug as I ordered the second to last B&W. But it only took a bite to prove this bi-colored biscuit wasn’t The One. With the remnants of flavorless icing still on my tongue, Jason and I followed Bruce to Two Little Red Hens where I knew the famous chocolate blackout cake would help ease the guilt of wasted calories.

There, I staged an impromptu photo shoot with a mini pumpkin cupcake crowned with cream cheese before sneaking it in my mouth.

Next on the agenda was a quick loiter outside Madonna’s new UES home (26 rooms! Wine cellar!). I forgot to note the address as I was too preoccupied with the fact that neither of the adjoining townhouses had a grand entrance – only garage doors. Ah well, onward to hamentashen.

Between 2006 and 2008, I lived at 77th and York. To illustrate how I avoided the pursuit of happiness during those years, I never sought out William Greenberg Jr. even though I’d read about their winning black and white cookies. The bakery was only a few avenues away, but anything west of Lexington seemed farther than Siberia.

So there I was in late 2009 on a spectacularly sunny Sunday trying my best to refrain from taking two, three…four black and whites to go. I had a great urge to squeeze the treats in their cellophane wrapping – to test their softness and density, of course. And to see if the frosting would gel a bit to its plastic casing, which would prove the icing was worthy and moist.

In addition to proffering stellar black and whites, William Greenberg Jr. also makes excellent hamentashen of the apricot, cherry, and poppy seed kind. (Cherry hamentash samples pictured above along with unverified chocolate cookie crumbs.)

I’d never tried hamentash before so I can’t say if they’re the best in New York, or even the Upper East Side. But I know this much is true: the buttery Jewish/Israeli fruit-filled cookie that I had set the bar up high. It was triangular; it was delicious. And if I squeezed it just a bit (which I did) it left a soft indent.

No more dry desserts for me.

NOTE: Bruce leads free dessert tours around the city each month. However, he asks for a $5 donation which goes to charity – the NYC Food Bank, I think. The next dessert fest is a cupcake crawl on Sunday, November 22nd. Meet at 11am in front of vegan cupcakery BabyCakes at 248 Broome Street. Look for Bruce in a red hat. The tour lasts 1.5 hours. You pay for your own treats so how much you spend (and eat) is at your discretion. Good times. See you then!


October 28, 2009. Tags: , , , , . cookies, Dessert, Upper East Side.


  1. Ryan replied:

    Amy, great website. I was in the blogging class with you, but haven’t had a chance to see you site until now. Very nice work. Love how it’s laid out and really diggin the videos.

    Look forward to checking back regularly!

  2. Sarah replied:

    Wow. Free dessert tours?! That’s amazing and I am definitely going to try to join the cupcake crawl. Another great post – and excellent icing strategy!

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