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.
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.