When it comes to cookies, Levain is second to none, and if you haven’t yet tried their famous Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie, you’ve been missing out big time. Everything is baked on-site every day, so when you enter one of the Levain shops, you’ll be greeted by the enticing smell of delicious, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies.
Levain started out mid-’90s as a humble storefront on the Upper Westside, founded by two friends, Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald, both competitive swimmers and triathletes. One day, as they trained rigorously for a triathlon, Pam and Connie sought an energy boost that was both tasty and nutritious. Their solution: the creation of the ultimate chocolate chip walnut cookie.
What makes the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies at Levain so special?
While most cookies (at least until recently, when everybody started copying Levain) are big and rather flat, the cookies at Levain are thick and chunky. They almost look like chocolate scones, but they are crispy on the outside and chewy and gooey on the inside, just like you want your cookie to be.
At Levain, the cookies are handmade, and the bakers put their heart and soul into each batch, carefully shaping the dough, folding in the chocolate chips and walnuts, and watching over them as they bake to perfection. The original Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie is everybody’s favorite, and it’s hard to find a reason why it shouldn’t be yours too. It’s not too sweet, and the combination of rich, dark chocolate chips and the satisfying, soft crunch of walnuts in one bite is hard not to love.
In addition to the signature Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie, Levain offers a variety of flavors and seasonal items. The cookies are rather rich and filling, so I’ve never managed to finish more than one at a time. My usual strategy is therefore to get one of the seasonal cookies you’re curious about for immediate consumption, and one of the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies to bring back home.
The photos in this post is from the Upper East Side location, but there are several other branches throughout the city.