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Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie

02 Jun 2007, Posted by Niko in Best chocolate chip cookie, Best of New York City, Levain Bakery

If you happen to be walking home late at night on the Upper West Side and if you also happen to have a bag of Levain Cookies with you and if you also happen to get mugged, you could easily knock someone unconscious with the bag. Is this a good thing? Yes.

Is this the best chocolate chip cookie in New York? Many think so. In terms of sheer butter-per-square-inch and pure heft the Levain cookie has no equal. But this is New York city, not a convenience store (yet).  We don’t meaure things by size alone. What about flavor, texture, chocolate quality?

While I am sure there are many small bakeries that have great chocolate chip cookies, there are really only three destination shops for the hard-core chocolate chip cookie lover: City Bakery, Jacques Torres and Levain Bakery. I am going to leave out Max Headroom for now.

The Levain cookie experience:

Compared to City Bakery or Jacques, the Levain cookies most resemble fresh, homemade Toll House cookies. On steroids. With twice the butter. When you visit, the staff will always ask you if you plan to eat the cookie right away and then offer you one hot out of the oven or from the cooling racks. This is the only way to sample one of their cookies and understand what the fuss is about.

The outside of the cookie is brown and slightly crisp, while the inside is (somehow) undercooked but not doughy. Bites from the outside of the cookie are distincly different from the interior. There is so much butter and chocolate flavor packed into this cookie that it appears to break the laws of physics. If you eat an entire cookie in one sitting, don’t plan on eating anything for a few hours. Or days.

The Levain cookies are superbly fresh and right out of the oven they will satisfy any chocolate chip cookie lover, but cold they are really no different than a Nestle Toll House from home. The Torres cookie for example uses sumptuous oversized discs of his famous dark chcolate, and they bake their cookies in a range, from very brown to undercooked, to satisfy a variety of customers’ tastes.

Visit Levain Bakery here.

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