Levain Bakery: The Best Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie on the Planet

Date February 5, 2008

Yes, I went that far; the planet and maybe the universe. Look at that mountain of chocolaty cookie euphoria. Have you ever seen something so knee-buckling-ly delicious? I realize that was a mouthful but so are Levain Bakery’s Cookies, easily weighing in at almost half a pound each, SERIOUSLY, half a pound of buttery, crumbly decadence.

Read on for a look at more of the mouth-watering, spine-melting insides…

There’s not much NYC Food Guy can say about these cookies that you can’t all ready see for yourself:

I always marvel at a cookie whose surface belies its insides. Crisp, and crumbly becomes chewy and transcendent with every bite. That’s how it is with Levain. You can sense the adventure your taste buds are about to undertake as you hold one of these cookies, lightly inhaling that magical scent, transporting you back to age five, watching and waiting with dire anticipation for Mom’s cookies to appear from the oven, golden brown and delicious.

For those wary of walnuts, forget your fears.

Unless you fear is allergy based. Otherwise, the walnuts have a small but important presence, adding a subtle flavor which balances out the sweetness of the chocolate volcano lurking within.

Levain is easy to miss. It’s down a small flight of stairs on the north side of 74th St. about 20 feet off of Amsterdam Avenue.

Levain offers 3 other varieties of cookie:

  • Oatmeal Raisin with a hint of cinnamon and full of oatmeal and plump raisins. May well be the best Oatmeal Raisin cookie NYC Food Guy has ever had.
  • A Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookie which is more like death by chocolate than Levain’s self-proclaimed “chocolate lover’s dream”. These are made with dark chocolate cocoa and semi-sweet chips and are so buttery and rich, I recommend small bites spaced apart in a timely manner. Seriously.
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies, called “the perfect combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter chips.” Believe it or not, I haven’t tried this one. It’s hard for me to not get the Chocolate Chip Walnut. Based on the track record though, how could you go wrong?

Levain also serves an array of breads, rolls, and other baked goods. I’ve spied some seriously gooey sticky buns with a disappointing lack of white frosting and some brioche dessert bread sticks in cinnamon or chocolate, both of which ended up being somewhat lackluster.

You really cannot go wrong with the cookies. So stick to what NYC Food Guy knows best: Delicious. Heed the word and head to Levain.


38 Responses to “Levain Bakery: The Best Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie on the Planet”

  1. magic said:

    “You can sense the adventure your taste buds are about to undertake as you hold one of these cookies, lightly inhaling that magical scent..”

    how lightly should i inhale the magical scent? i’m confused.

  2. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Well Magic,

    I guess thats for you to decide. Why don’t you go over to Levain and check it out for yourself. Try varying the depth of your inhalation and let us know what works best.

    Consider the notion that one does not have to inhale too deeply when they’re in a bakery to get a sense of the deliciousness they’re about to encounter. Keep that thought in mind while reading and I think you’ll get a clearer picture. Or like I said, just go to Levain and see why my praise is so high.

    NYC Food Guy

  3. DDR said:

    To paraphrase Joe Esposito, Levain is truly “the best around.”
    Ask them to warm your cookie in the oven for 20 seconds if it needs it. That can make all the difference.

  4. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Long time no speak. That’s a hell of a recommendation, I don’t even know if I can handle that. These cookies are so damn good all ready. I’m going to have to ask for it next time. I don’t know how they make them so well. Hours later they’re still melty and chewy and just overall amazing.

    Have you had anything that compares?

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. DDR said:

    The first time I asked them to warm it they put it in the oven and took it out before I had even taken a breath. I asked “why so stingy with the heat, man?” apparently the oven has harnessed the fiery power of ninety-nine suns. 20 seconds or so is all it needs. Anything more would burn the thing and harden the center’s soft mushy goodness.

    Have I had anything that compares? There is no such animal.

    Now if only people would pronounce the bakery’s name correctly, then you’d REALLY have something.

  6. betazen said:

    Went here after I saw the Bobby Flay Throwdown.

    Not only the best cookies I’ve ever had but the biggest as well! They looked more like little crumbly pies at first sight. When I went they were still warm and the chocolate in all the cookies I had were melted!

  7. The NYC Food Guy said:


    What happened on with Bobby Flay?

    Yea these bad boys are monsters, nearly half a pound. Best cookie ever. I can’t wait to get them after having them go back in the oven.

  8. betazen said:

    Bobby Flay lost to Levain Bakery! He had a really flat sad cookie in comparison though.

  9. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Good for Levain. That’s pretty cool. F Bobby Flay, he’s a tool.

  10. shaun said:

    i need the recipe for those cookies. i live in ohio. i’m not sure when i will be able to visit the store to buy any.

  11. shaun said:

    i wish there was a store around me to buy those cookies. i went to bed after watching the bobby flay throw down last night and woke up thinking about those cookies. i cant stop looking at them on the internet. i might have to break down and get some shipped to me.

  12. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Yes, you need to have these cookies shipped to you. Heat them up for a tiny bit before you eat them and you are in for an unbeliveable experience.

  13. Levain Bakery’s Cookies Are Simply The Best « NYC Food Guy said:

    […] Simply The Best Levain Bakery’s cookies ($3.75 each) are simply the best. I’ve said it before and after eating at least 2 every week for the past month, I’m saying it again. […]

  14. Dr. Dyspepsia said:

    I think Bobby Flay loses way more throwdowns than he wins. Unlike Iron Chef, who almost never loses – including Bobbly Flay.

    Bobby went against Tony Luke on Philly cheese steaks, and lost definitively.

    And Mesa Grill was a huge disappointment, too.


  15. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Bobby Flay is pompous and annoying. I’m not a fan. I do respect the concept of his Throwdown show though because it showcases smaller restaurants that might not get the publicity bigger guys do. Respect to Flay’s people for getting the right opponents for him and not padding it so he wins.

    I haven’t been to any of his restaurants but I did just hear from a friend that Bar Americain was overpriced and small-portioned. When did you go to Mesa Grill and what did you get?

  16. Dr. Dyspepsia said:

    Mesa was YEARS ago. Overpriced, bad service, food ok, but not great, wouldn’t go back without a good reason. Can’t remember what we had.

  17. Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie « NYC Food Guy said:

    […] here for Levain’s best cookie and here for the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter […]

  18. Harriet’s Kitchen: Big Bacon Cheeseburger & Fries for $10.02 « NYC Food Guy said:

    […] Upper West Side. You can now enjoy the best burger I’ve had in a long time and then go eat the best chocolate chip cookie on the planet at Levain […]

  19. Rob said:

    Wow, I was introduced to these amazing cookies from a friend of mine who sells them espresso, which is also amazing! He said you will never eat another Mrs. Fields cookie again! So we waited until they came out of the oven and I was hooked!

    I live in Manhattan Bch Ca now and I go back for the holidays to NYC and I eat a dozen cookies during my stay. My favorite is the traditional choc chip with walnuts. You have it with cold milk and you feel like a little kid again! I travel all around the US and if you come to NYC you MUST make this a part of your trip! See you Christmas!

  20. The NYC Food Guy said:


    I couldn’t agree more. Warm cookie, ice cold milk = homemade deliciousness. Check out Jacques Torres for chocolate chip cookies when you get back. Its a block away from Levain, on Amsterdam near 73rd street.

  21. Sweet Freak said:

    These are like crack. I know they’re amazing. I remember them being the best. But just one look at your photos, and I am amazed again at how perfect and gorgeous they are. I need one, now.

  22. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Sweet Freak,
    They really are perfect and gorgeous, the last few people I’ve spoken to have not had the same to say unfortunately. I, on the other hand, will promote them to anyone who will listen

  23. Noemi Granados said:

    Please email me the recipe for walnut chocolate chip cookies. I saw your cookies on the Bobby Flay throw down and would love to have at least a recipe close to the one I saw on t.v. I know you can’t give me your personal recipe, but at least one close to the one you sell in your bakery. Thank you for your response. Noemi

  24. Marilyn Stearns said:

    I would love this recipe please. Thanks a million

  25. Linda P said:

    Your walnut chocolate chip cookies look phenomenal. May I please have a receipe close to the one I saw on TV? Thank you very much. I can’t wait to make them.

  26. idiots said:

    you’re not getting the recipe to these cookies so stop asking!!

  27. Steinthal said:

    dude, food guy. how bout black & white cookies? been craving a B&W lately and could use some guidance… since we’re on the same page with Levain and Jacques Torres which came in #1 and #2 in our Infatuation “Cookies Across The City” Tour: http://www.immaculateinfatuation.com/features/read/1 I figured you’d be a good place to start. let me know!


  28. levain bakery, the best chocolate chip cookies in new york | cherrypatter- spot-on ideas for food, shops and things to do in new york said:

    […] today, i’m just documenting what many think is the best chocolate chip cookie in new york city from levain bakery.  this cookie weighs a ton so it is really not a treat for one, or maybe one if […]

  29. stephanie said:

    can you please email the recipe for these cookies too far to visit and want to try at home

  30. JJ said:

    Saw the Throwdown show with Bobby Flay; my mouth was watering and next time to NYC I’m there. I live out in Utah and also compete in triathlons (just the sprints for now). I know you’re bugged constantly in regards to sharing recipes, but if you are able to share some sort of recipe for those amazingly huge chocolate chip walnut gooey delight cookies that would be AMAZING!! Thank you very much!

  31. kal-el said:

    the recipe please!!

  32. evelyn said:

    seriously food guy what the hell — give us the damn RECIPE ALREADY!!!! WE WANT COOKIE!!

  33. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Hello all,
    Thanks for everyone for stopping by and saying hello. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I don’t make these cookies, I just eat them. I have no recipe or even a concept for the recipe. All I know is the balls of batter that Levain bakes into each cookie is HUGE, we’re talking softball sized. That ensures they’ll pretty much be nice and gooey in the middle. Other than that, they’re really traditional cookies with a “just like Mom’s” flavor (at least the choc. chip walnut is) so build off that.

    Keep me in the loop though if you try to make them, I’d love to post your trials and tribulations on the site.


  34. cookie lover said:

    I am OBSESSED with chocolate chip cookies and thus have been on the hunt for NYC’s best choc. chip cookie for the past 5 years. I’ve ended my search after trying Cookie Couture’s “Chip Off Your Shoulder” choc. chip cookie. The company has been making these cookies for over 15 years but just recently created a website to order them online. (www.giftscouture.com). They are perfectly chocolately-with walnuts and coconut floating within- and have a not-too-soft inside with just-the-right-amount of crisp outside. My description can’t do this cookie justice. If you love a good choc. chip cookie, order these. I promise you will want to try anyone’s else’s ever again.

  35. Bridget said:

    Here are some “copycat” recipes, posted on Levain’s website.

  36. patty said:

    saw bobby flay throwdown on tv and would love similar recipe for choc chip and walnut cookies they looked wonderful! thanks

  37. NYC Best Chocolate Chip Cookies: Friday Levain Bakery Fix | NYC Food Guy said:

    […] chip walnut cookie on the planet? Haven’t tried it yet and want to know more? Read about it here, here, here, here, and here (it’s so good I’ve written about it five […]

  38. gvafoodie said:

    Levain’s cookies are the best I’ve ever had. The last time I was in New York, I had the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip and the Chocolate Chip Walnut, and there are simply no words to describe just how good they are. Yum!

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