Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ColuMMMbian cookies

MMM. Well done, JJ's Place. Well done. Amidst the dreariness of week one of finals, a light shines in the form of a cookies study break for residents of McBain Hall. I suppose this also means that I have to credit McBain with doing something positive....finally. Anyhow, I'm actually surprised that I haven't eaten a JJ's cookie before. Well, it was bound to happen at some point, and tonight it did. JJ's place chocolate chip cookies were chewy with BIG chocolate chunks, and had that artificial yet delicious buttery taste that only break and bake cookies seem to accomplish. Hip hip hooray for JJ's!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

6 Ounces of Deliciousness...

...That's a little more than 1/3 of a lb (!!) After several people (including Oprah...on her show of course) recommended it to me, I decided to venture down to W. 74th Street to try the mountainous cookies at Levain Bakery. Levain is tucked away in the bottom of a residential building, identifiable of course by its store front but also by the delicious smell of warm cookies wafting out onto the street. Out of the four cookie varieties, I chose to try the chocolate chip walnut cookie, a dense mound of butter, melty chocolate chips and crunchy nuts. DELICIOUS!! There really is nothing like a fresh baked cookie, and it was this factor, along with the sheer mass of the cookie, that made Levain so delicious. Usually, if a small cookie tastes like heaven, it does not matter that there is not much of it. But after eating a huge, warm Levain cookie, I felt like I had made a conquest. You know what they say: size doesn't matter. But we can all admit, the more the better, right?

All around, Levain definitely makes it way up into my faves.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A cookie a day...

The New York Times reported today on a "Cookie Diet."  Bullshit? Valid? Seems a little strange, but delicious just the same.

One of my favorite quotes from the article: "'It’s unfortunate that they’re called cookies, because in some ways it denigrates them,' said John Nemet, the manager at the Smart for Life store in Westbury, N.Y."

So true.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cookies of 113th and Broadway Nature

Despite my undying love for Westside cookies, I figure it is only right to give other Upper West Side cookies a fair chance too. Starting in Morningside Heights, I began my search tonight for the closest competitor, or victor, over Westside. Nussbaum & Wu, the bakery perhaps known best for its bagels on the corner of 113th Street and Broadway seemed the logical place to start. Let's just say, Nussbaum should probably stick to bagels... Their M&M cookie was hard, dry and bland. Good for a cracker, not a cookie. Strike one.

I then ventured across the street to Milano Market, a small deli/grocery store, and noticed stacks of cookies on the counter. Obviously, I had to try. I chose a Vanilla Caramel Cookie (see below). To Milano's great credit, not only was the cookie very aesthetically pleasing (props for decorative icing), but it was delicious. The large baked good (about 3.5 inches or so in diameter!) made a deliciously satisfying "chewy" noise when I broke off a piece. Before you call me crazy for this description, just picture the soft, moist sound you might produce from breaking a cookie in half. Still think I'm crazy? Well, I suppose that's ok, because the most important part of the cookie isn't the sound it makes anyway. The cookie itself was a little overly sweet--which I attribute to the massive amounts of icing on the surgace--but on the whole, had a very satisfying buttery taste. Status? As delicious as the cookie was, the taste was still slightly reminiscent of artificial flavoring. It lacked a little of the home-baked character, which I have yet to be able to describe well. You know it when you taste it? Also, I just have to put out there, I'm always suspicious of cookies that are perfectly round (something to do with the theory that home-baked cookies have endearing imperfections and are not all identical. Like snowflakes!) However, until I can be more articulate (story of my life...), I'm going to applaud the Milano Cookie and give it a solid 7. Definitely worth trying. But Westside still takes the cake. Or, rather,  cookie...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2 minutes after the last post....


An Ode to Westside Cookies

Disclaimer- the post is going to be ridiculous because, come one, no one can express love coherently.

3 a.m. is the perfect time for a Westside cookie. "Why?" you might ask. Answer: because every single second of the day is the perfect time for a Westside cookie, especially when they are of the "Home baked English Toffee Crunch" variety.

I suppose I should just come out and say this outright: I haven't been totally honest. Truthfully, I already have a favorite cookie, and it the Westside Cookie. Most people who know me know this, because I have successfully converted most of my friends to Westside Cookie addicts.

Now, the WSC, as I will now refer to it, is delicious and amazing for several (and by several I mean infinite) reasons, which I will now list 3 of.
1) TEXTURE. They are perfectly CHEWY. WSCs are just chewy enough that they are still firm when you bite in them.
2) FLAVOR. A symphony of flavor. Do you ever feel like your cookie is just missing something, but you can't put your finger on it? The WSC brings together every ingredient together in a brilliant masterpiece of balanced deliciousness.
3) VARIETY. WSCs come in a variety of sizes and flavors. First, size: There are 3 sizes of the WSC. Huge, regular, and baby (note: I have named these sizes, but there are in fact three). The huge ones come in the flavors of sugar, chocolate chip, white chocolate macademia nut, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter cup, and s'mores. With a diameter of about 4-5 inches, these are more crumbly than the regulars, and are sold individually. The regulars, which achieve the perfection I list above, come in flavors such as the toffee (my favorite), M&M, as well as chocolate chunk (the favorite of my first convert) and others. These come in bags. And, lastly, the babies, which come in only several flavors and are sold in mini bags.

As I mentioned above, I hold WSCs in a special place in my heart and pretty clearly place them on a pedestal that may or may not be appropriate for a cookie (but definitely is). Thus, I start Operation Cookie with very high standards. I hope New York cookies are up to the challenge. But, I'm a Boston girl, and if I know anything about Bostonians and New Yorkers, it's that they like a good rivalry. So step it up NY.

Lastly, everyone should try WSCs because they WILL change your life. I promise.

Westside Market is located at 2840 Broadway, NY, NY and is open 24 hours. Happy munching!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Preheating the Oven

There is nothing like a cookie, fresh out of the oven. But, as much fun as baking is, eating is much more so. Luckily, living in New York City, there is no shortage of bakeries. There also is certainly no shortage of opinions. In the city, it seems as though there is constantly someone trying to persuade you, whether it be missionaries on the street, or, just as commonly, the acquaintance who passionately claims they alone know where to get the best bagel (and apparently it's not H&H?). Yet, in the busy, fast-paced, urban, life, who takes the time to step back and consider these many suggestions?

This is the conception for my project.

I would like to take the time to consider. I would like to find the perfect cookie.

There is no real organization or time frame to this project; the only constraints are my stomach and bank account. I plan to follow my appetite and senses, as well as take suggestions, and try different cookies around the city and then blog about them. The one requirement is that they are fresh-baked.

Operation Cookie commences.