If you're anything like us, you don't need an excuse to eat a cookie, especially any of those made at the five awesome bakeries in Manhattan described below. Nevertheless, we suggest you raise a chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or gingersnap in honor of National Cookie Day on Dec. 4. By Jessica Allen.
One of the best restaurateurs around, Thomas Keller knows his way around a kitchen. If you can't snag a reservation at Per Se, his four-star restaurant in the Time Warner Center, console yourself at Bouchon Bakery & Cafe nearby with a cookie or two, followed by a slice of cake, chased with a baguette. Speaking of cookies, there are macaroons (pictured) in such flavors as pistachio and caramel, as well as old standbys like oatmeal raisin and chocolate chunk. And, along with legions of others, we love the bakery's take on the Nutter Butter.
With five locations in Manhattan alone, you're never all that far from a Payard treat, including the ginormous chocolate chip cookie (pictured). A third-generation pastry chef, François Payard began mixing and baking in his grandfather's shop on the French Riviera. In addition to the aforementioned cookie, his bakeries offer a selection of savories (salads, sandwiches, quiches, and other light-ish bites), as well as such sweets as tarts and cakes in the classical French tradition.
"Wow, this is a line for a cookie shop?!?!," an out-of-town visitor remarked to us recently as we joined a long queue. But after a bite of the dark chocolate peanut butter (pictured), this visitor understood: Levain bakes some of the best cookies in the city, maybe even the world, worth every second in line, dollar, and calorie. They're moist and rich, the chocolatey base more similar to a brownie than a cookie. Plus, at a dense six ounces, they're almost hefty enough to count lifting one to your lips as a workout.
Yes, siree, at Milk & Cookies Bakery in the West Village, you really can get your cookies with a side of milk. Isn't that adorable? Cookies are baked fresh throughout the day by a smiling staff in the open-air kitchen. Among the options regularly offered are peanut butter cream-filled peanut cookies (pictured), salted oat surprise, white chocolate macadamia, dark chocolate toffee, and chocolate mint. You can even design your own, which the kitchen will bake on the spot (these orders generally take 20-30 minutes).
Part of the Momofuku group of restaurants owned and operated by chef David Chang, Milk Bar sells cookies, cakes, pies, soft serve, and other desserts with a kooky twist, thanks to the imagination of chef Christina Tosi. Cookie flavors include corn, chocolate-chocolate, blueberry and cream (the right cookie in the photo), and cornflake marshmallow (the left cookie in the photo). If you're feeling virtuous, get a healthy Karlie Kookie, created by supermodel Karlie Kloss (proceeds go to various charity organizations).
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