Levain Bakery is something of a New York institution. If you've ever walked past the line of people snaking round the block where this fabulous-smelling bakery sits on on the Upper West Side, you'll have understood that this place is kind of a big deal. I'm not really keen on spending my weekends standing on the sidewalk for several hours, which is why I hadn't tried one of this city-famous cookies until last weekend. Thankfully, there's one simple secret to get a taste of these humongous, six ounce cookies without spending your afternoon waiting in line: Head to the Harlem location.
After a dinner of chicken and waffles, the thought of eating our way through a giant cookie seemed like a challenge, but one I was willing to tackle. When we stepped through the door of Levain, smelled the melting chocolate, and spied the trays of freshly baked cookies, it didn't seem so challenging after all. We took one double chocolate and one oatmeal raisin: We'd had every intention of just having one to share, but couldn't agree on just one flavor, so one became two, and very nearly three, but we managed to find some self-control, and restrained ourselves.
The craggy, crackly, almost crisp crust reveals that much-Instagrammed, soft, dough-y, barely cooked interior. Whether you opt for the dark, deep, intense chocolate one, studded with molten chunks of milk chocolate, or the lighter, almost sweeter, gently spiced oatmeal raisin one, you're making the right choice. There are many reasons why these cookies are often deemed to be the best in New York, and one of them is that all the flavors are totally perfect.
And in case the cookie itself wasn't enough, the story behind them will hopefully make you fall totally head over heels for this bakery: The tale goes that the bakery founders created this cookie when they were training for an Ironman Triathlon and needed a post-workout snack which was chock-a-block full of calories and sustenance, and this was their answer. Maybe I need to start training for an Ironman so that I can have one of these cookies everyday, or maybe I'll skip the training and just stand in the line as my triathlon training instead.
Levain Bakery, 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026
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