The Cookie from Culture

“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” (Nora Ephron)

My very first Levain cookie on my very first trip to New York.
June 2010

I’m passionate about good chocolate chip cookies. Thankfully I live in a city where all different kinds of people are trying all different ways to make the best, and I get to act as one-woman tasting committee. Levain was, is, and always will be my favorite cookie in New York, but I’m always looking for a handsome runner-up. Jacques Torres has held that spot for many months until a recent trip to midtown changed my mind…

May I introduce, the Culture Cookie. Packed with soft dark chocolate chips (no walnuts), this impressive confection is the closest counterpart to Levain I’ve come across. With a crisper, smoother exterior than Levain’s, it’s seemingly baked a few minutes longer, giving it a darker, more formidable outer shell, which, when broken, yields a tender, gently oozing core. The whole thing is just a little more “done”.

Its size is similar to Levain’s as well– I’d wager roughly 3/4 the size and girth, which is appropriate considering its $3 price point (to Levain’s $4). My favorite feature of this satisfying sweet, however, is also the most subtle. After taking your first bite and tasting the deep, buttery brown crust, the dark chocolate, and the sweet, tender interior, a barely perceptible salty high note grazes the center of your tongue, setting the whole thing to hum. All in all, a real treat.

Yesterday I snacked on one while sitting on a rocking chair in Bryant Park, and could not have imagined a more perfect companion. My favorite cookie south of 42nd St.

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*The last three paragraphs of this blog were originally written for my dear friend Allison, who should definitely come visit again soon so we can eat cookies.

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