Cookies. Let's discuss cookies.
I take my baked goods very seriously, and while I sit squarely in the camp that believes that there is no such thing as a bad pastry, clearly some bites are more worth the calories than others.
After a particularly stressful day at work on Monday, I was faced with choosing from among three mitigating options: shopping, drinking, or mass sugar consumption. I opted for the latter (I'm sure wallet and liver are quite grateful) and headed to Levain Bakery, a tiny, quiet spot nestled below street level on 74th and Amsterdam and renowned for their legendary cookies. Levain cookies are frequently written up and featured on television not only because they are delectable, but because the recipes are a closely guarded secret and each cookie weighs in at a whopping 6 oz, or 3/8th of a pound! They more closely resemble scones in size than traditional cookies.
Levain cookies come in four varieties: Chocolate Chip with Walnuts, Oatmeal Raisin, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, and my personal favorite, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip. They always bake up crispy on the outside and ooey gooey in the center and miraculously, the chips stay melty long after they are out of the oven. Heaven. Expect the indulgence to cost you $4 a piece.
Runner Up: Zaleti from Not Just Rugelach, located in Green Markets around the city. These appear similar to biscotti, are cornmeal-based and dotted with raisins and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They're very different, very good, and it's very easy to eat the whole bag (or two bags, as they are sold 2 bags for $5).
Honorable Mention: Vosges Caramel Toffee Cookies definitely deserve a shout. Chocolate Chip cookies with caramel toffee pieces inside? Delicious, but expect to pay for it. $5.50 each (not to mention a few hours at the gym). You must like butter to like this cookie, by the way.
Also worth noting are the Kitchen Sink cookies from Amy's Bread in Hell's Kitchen. Inumerable tasty morsels baked inside a soft and delicious batter.