An Ode To The Perfect Cookie

2 Dec 2021

The best cookie I ever had was from Levain Bakery in New York, in their bakery on West 74th Street. Faced with the choice of a cookie or any other baked good, I will nearly always choose the cookie meaning I have sampled a lot of them and, as a result, have accidentally become somewhat of a cookie snob. My perfect cookie should be ridiculously chunky with a domed top; almost as though it could be mistaken for an old school rock cake (anyone else remember making them at school?). There should be the juxtaposition of big – preferably chocolatey – chunks and a gooey borderline-undercooked middle with a crunchy shell as you bite into heavenly goodness. The cookies in Levain Bakery fulfil all of these requirements and I swear eating them on a New York street makes them taste even better. But perhaps that last one is just for me. 

Our honeymoon in New York coincidentally overlapped with one of my oldest friends’ holidays there. We met in a pizza place just round the corner from Levain Bakery and compared our holiday food maps much to the bemusement of our partners. We then went to the bakery together, excitedly ready to try long-anticipated food which is an accurate summary of our friendship. It was pouring rain and the city was sticky and steaming. We found shelter under some scaffolding so we could eat, feeling very ‘Brits abroad’. The cookies were hot in our pockets like the rain was hot on our skin. 


A few months later, we met in London and headed to Crème, a newly opened bakery with many similarities to Levain, right down to the tiny shop tucked into the street and full of people and the most incredible smells. Again, we ate them on the street only this time it was a cold January day in England and the steam from the cookies was the only source of heat. They were nearly as good as those eaten on a hot New York street. We wouldn’t see each other for over a year after that point, thanks to the 2020 lockdowns. During those long months at home, I found the perfect cookie recipe to bake; the closest I’ve got to recreating eating enormous cookies on city streets. They are full of huge chunks of Diary Milk, frozen before baking and are in the oven for no longer than 12 minutes which results in a deliciously gooey centre. It is a comfort that can only be improved if eaten with an old friend standing outside a warm bakery.