Cookie Tour Guide

Today I made a half batch of one of my favorite chocolate chip cookies — Carla Rollins’ cookies from Gourmet. So far, that recipe is the closest I’ve come to the type of cookies you’d find at New York City bakery. The actual recipe is on Epicurious, but one of my old posts has a few tips and hints. If you look at that post, don’t be put off by the picture. Those cookies usually come out a bit thicker and I now recommend using chocolate chunks rather than chips. The New York Times cookies is another good option, but you’ll have to buy the special flours.

For those of you who are heading to New York, I took a few minutes to write out a quick guide to good bakeries. Obviously, there are many, many more. But what I liked about the bakeries in this list is that with the exception of City Bakery, they were all pretty close to each other. For a tourist who doesn’t know her way around the city, that’s a good thing.

So here’s a brief rundown of my own cookie tour. For convenience, I’ve started you off at the lovely Times Square. If you are (hopefully) coming from somewhere else, you can transfer to the trains mentioned below.

From Times Square, take the 1, 2, or 3 train to 72nd street and Broadway. You will emerge from the underground somewhere around 72nd and Broadway where you’ll be right in the hot zone of good bakeries.

First off, get your bearings. Look down 72nd and try to spot the greenery of Central Park. Walk towards it until you reach The Dakota. Walk north along the park 2 blocks then walk up (west) 74th street until you come to Levain Bakery. It’s tiny, so watch for the little sign and some steps heading down into the bakery. It’s tucked away on the corner of 74th and Amsterdam.

After you get your giant hot cookie, walk south on Amsterdam until you come to Jacques Torres. They have a little bar where you can sit and drink hot chocolate. Buy another cookie and maybe some hot chocolate….or hold off and get the hot chocolate at City Bakery which is the end of the tour.

Jacques Torres Chocolate — Note, I usually go to the one in Brooklyn, but you don’t have to do that.
285 Amsterdam Ave # 1, New York – (212) 787-3256

From JT, walk over to 70th and stroll back down (east) towards Central Park and turn onto Columbus walking towards 69th. There you will find Magnolia. Banana pudding is supposed to be one of their best offerings. It’s hard to carry banana pudding around in a backpack, so you’ll have to figure out how to deal with this. I skipped the banana pudding and am mad at myself.

When you’re done with Magnolia, walk north on Columbus towards 72nd. Turn left onto 72nd and walk west toward Amsterdam. Look for Buttercup Bakeshop on 72nd before you hit Broadway. This is a place where you’ll want to buy a cupcake. In fact, I am going to begin my cupcake tour here next time. All my people in the know say Buttercup rocks.

Buttercup Bakeshop
141 West 72nd Street
(Between Amsterdam and Columbus)
New York, NY 10023

After you’ve hit Buttercup, continue walking west on 72nd until you see the Subway stop around Broadway. Hope back on the 1, 2, or 3 train and head downtown. Get off at 50th Street. Walk over to Columbus Circle and you will find a big mall type place (Ladies, there’s a Sephora there!). Bouchon Bakery is there too. This is a place where you can have lunch. Since you’re eating cookies, I recommend getting something light like chicken soup and a small salad with dressing on the side or very little fat – even better, see if they have some sort of lean protein to keep your blood sugar stable. Leave room for a Bouchon peanut butter sandwich cookie, but don’t eat it all. Just take a taste and move on.

Ten Columbus Circle, Third Floor
New York, NY 10019

Get back on the train downtown. This time, take the A or B train and get off at Union Square (14th Street). Walk up the stairs that exit onto 16th street, then start walking north towards W. 18th street. Turn left onto 18th street and look for the City Bakery sign.

At City Bakery, buy a chocolate chunk cookie and definitely buy a pretzel croissant because I don’t think you will find one of those anywhere else and they are incredible. Save it for later when you can really appreciate it.

So that’s all I have for now. This tour will only take a few hours at most. You can easily extend it, but don’t subtract! You don’t want to miss any of the bakeries mentioned.

Related posts:


  1. says

    So happy you’ve done this for ME–and some others! It will really be helpful as my husband is the type who likes to know exactly where we’re going at all times. I’ll print this out and tell him this is where–all these places. We’ve got one afternoon and one whole day. We’ll have to fit Chelsea Piers in the other day!
    When I was in NY in April, we went to a JT’s in SoHo, I think. Didn’t even realize there was one near Levains! Guess we got some GOOD walking in that day–from Battery Park through SoHo.

  2. Sue says

    Ever since you started talking about your cookie tour I’ve been wanting to take a girls weekend and go to NYC. This morning one of my friends offered to go with me. We’re such dreamers. 🙂

    I have the ingredients to make the Gourmet cookies you mentioned. I’ll have to make do with 60% cacao chips by Ghiradelli. I wanted to mix them together this morning before I left, but I’ll get to it this afternoon, and hopefully bake them tomorrow.

    Thanks for this wonderful post!! When I make it to NYC, I’m definitely taking this along.

  3. says

    I’m going to New York in December to look at the Natural Gourmet Institute (culinary school), so I’ll definitely be hitting up these places. Levain’s is my dream bakery! If I only go to one, it’ll be that one.

  4. says

    Oh this is soooo cool. Are these cookie places mostly on the UWS? I copied a UWS walking tour from CH that has some good choices.

    Forget the question, they are on the UWS. Here is the tour I copied.

    Start at Grandaisy bakery on 72nd and B’way and try the pizza bianca and whatever else might appeal. (Check out Grey’s Papaya next door for hot dogs.)

    Walk a block up Amsterdam to Jacques Torres chocolates

    Head west to Broadway to check out Fairway and Citarella. Don’t miss Zabar upstairs for cooking equipment at very good prices with a very knowledgeable staff.

    Keep walking north on Broadway to Zabars, passing Grom, Beard Papa, and H&H on the way. Then over to Barney Greengrass at Amsterdam and 86th Street.

    Don’t know where specifcally—or when—about the Super Taco Truck; maybe someone else can add more info.

    Hit Murray’s Sturgeon (90th and Broadway) for any of their smoked fish or Barney Greengrass (Amsterdam and 86th St) whose lox, eggs and onions are amazing as well as their fish too!

    Magnolia Bakery at 69th and Columbus.

    Soutine Bakery on W 70th between Broadway and Columbus (closer to Columbus)

    Then on to Silver Moon Bakery at Broadway and 105th.

    Add the new Grandaisy Bakery on 72nd off of Amsterdam for a slice of potatoe/rosemary pizza. And I think Absolute Bagels on B’way around 106 are the best bagels on the UWS.

  5. Randi says

    As a NYer I can attest to the fact that the Pretzel croissant is the second greatest thing in the world, next to a Levain’s cookie!

  6. Kristin says

    So far, out of all the CCC recipes I’ve tried, the Epicurious one is my favorite. It’s definitely my go-to recipe!

  7. Karen says

    That sounds like a PERFECT itinerary. I can’t make it to NY anytime soon, but I can dream! Meanwhile, I’ll just keep baking whatever cookies you concoct in your kitchen.

  8. says

    Thanks for the tour guide — this is exactly what I wanted to have in advance. I will definitely be printing it out for my upcoming trip to NYC. How fun!

  9. says

    I’m so glad to hear this is helpful. I’m going to break it into shorter paragraphs and add bold print where needed.

    One thing I forgot to mention was that it is imperative you buy a subway “Fun Pass”. I think they are $7.50 a day.

    Katrina, the more walking the better. It makes you hungrier for the cookies. But the subway pass can take you from Battery Park City to UWS in no time.

    Sue, let me know what you think of the cookies. Sometimes I brown the butter, but I didn’t do that last night when I made the dough.

    Joanna, that is very cool! At one point, I was researching cooking schools in New York and the Natural Gourmet Institute was the only one with classes I REALLY wanted to take. Well, not counting the wine classes at French Culinary Institute. Good luck with that!

    Lisa, eating your way through the Big Apple can be a frustrating proposition. Everywhere you turn, there’s something new. I think it’s best to tackle it in small bites. The people I know who live in New York have to pace themselves too.

    Randi, your tour is the perfect addendum to my tour. That is, for people wanting to head further north toward the upper hundreds. Thanks for pasting! Niko at Dessert Buzz recommended the Silver Moon Bakery.

    Kristin, I’m happy to hear you agree. Most people like that recipe, but a few have complained about flat cookies. I’m not sure what those people are doing but I suspect they aren’t chilling the dough.

    Karen, just make the Gourmet cookies for now.

    Lisa, Natalie and Lindsay, I didn’t realize you guys were heading to NYC too. Have fun! Someone told me the hotel room rates are going to drop quite a bit after Christmas. Also, February is Hot Chocolate Festival. City Bakery has something about that on their website.

    Veggiegirl, City Bakery had Vegan cookies! They looked pretty good.

    Emiline, in college I was a Texas Capitol tour guide, so I have experience! I will do the voiceovers, but you’ll have to drive the bus.

    Carrie, maybe you could do a Chicago version? It would have to start in Highland Park with Carol’s.

    And finally — NYC Randi, thanks for validating my thoughts on that pretzel croissant. I loved it and I’m not even a huge fan of croissants

  10. Rina says

    Just hit print, THANK YOU so much for taking the time to write this out!! I am so excited to try this. I promise to work on an SF version for those who plan to visit soon.

  11. says

    I feel like you have designed my very own personal cookie tour itinerary. A big thank you to you! I’m heading to the city this weekend, if it doesn’t rain. I was going to hit Kitchen Arts & Letters while I was there. Perhaps, I’ll stop for dessert before I go. If it’s too far away, I’ll just continue with your tour. Thanks for sharing…

  12. says

    Oh Anna this is so great! I’ll sure print it out! This will be a great help. I’ll email you my nutricionist bill after this tour, lol!
    Hey Anna, I think we should move to NY and dedicate to do cookie and cupcake tours. What do you think?
    Meet you at the door of Bakercup Bakeshop for the cupcake tour someday?

  13. says

    I am originally from NY and when I hear about all these bakeries it makes me miss the city even more! Sounds like you had a great time!

  14. says

    I’ve always heard things about Cookie Madness, and how big of a deal it is. And now I know 🙂 Your recipes and posts are super fun, and I think I could have a good time hanging out here 🙂

  15. HeartofGlass says

    I live in New Jersey, so I can do the cookie tour soon! And very cheaply, and even bring back perishable desserts.

    But I blush to ask this question, for fear of revealing my lack of cookie sophistication–I am a fan of the soft, not the crunchy, so of all the chip-o-mania you experienced, which cookie was the softest?

  16. says

    a friend pointed me to your Site. i’m a cookie monster and am excited to have discovered all your great recipes. i’m a local new yorker and keep a blog on restaurants. give the two thumbs up to each of your mentions. bouchon bakery is delish – and not even for just its sweets – they make a mean grilled cheese as well! my mom and i plan on making xmas cookies this year so i’ll be consulting madness often;)

  17. tina says

    I absolutely love Levain’s double chocolate cookie. Next time your in the city you need to try a chocolate covered banana graham/butter cookie from Something Sweet(1st ave and 11th st). Oh so good!!!

  18. says

    Rina, a San Francisco version would be great!

    Louise, I’m going to have to Google Kitchen Arts & Letters. I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds like something I need to know about ;).

    Rita, yes! That’s a great idea. Not the nutritionist bill, but the business. I still need a job.

    Jess, I’m playing around a little more with that recipe, so stay tuned.

    Debbie, I can see how you’d miss NY, but don’t you have Rowena’s? I think if I lived near Rowena’s I’d be there every day. Her pound cakes are the best.

    Adam, your blog looks fun too. I liked reading about protein bars! I’m trying to cut down on them for some of the reasons you mentioned.

    Heart of Glass, there’s nothing wrong with liking soft cookies. We could include some soft cookies on the tour. Also, I don’t know where you are in Jersey but if you are near Plainsborough email me and let me know.

    Mona, I hope I can help you with Christmas cookies.

    Tina, I’ll add an East Village cookie tour and include that bakery.

    Andrew, the photography on your site is amazing. Thanks for stopping by.

  19. Robbie says

    My husband flew home today to CA with chocolate chip cookies from Levain, Jacques Torres and Buttercup – the best souvenir a mom could want! He brought me Levain last year and I adored it, but I must say I think JT has stolen my heart. Question for you Anna, I’d like to freeze 3 Levains that were purchased Friday (it’s now Sat night). How would you recommend wrapping them? Will they be any good in a month? Thanks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *