I'm kind of an unoffical spokesperson for Levain Bakery.  If you're friends with me, I've probably made you come with me to Levain or tagged you in a picture of them online, doing my duty to spread the gospel of these giant, heavenly cookies.  (If anyone from Levain is reading this, I'll accept free cookies as my reward for proselytizing everyone I know.)  

Sometimes the stars align and you're already on the Upper West Side or at least by Lincoln Center when the craving hits and you're able to make your way to the original 74th St location.  Other times it's harder to procure a cookie.  Maybe you're still on campus.  Or maybe you hate standing on line (I think this applies to everyone who isn't crazy like me and willing to wait on line for a cookie) and aren't in the mood to have the workers at the waxing salon next door yell at you for standing anywhere near their stoop.  

Luckily, Levain had the foresight to build a second location on Frederick Douglass in Harlem, which is easily accessible to Fordham Rose Hill students.  I have never, ever waited on a line whenever I've went to the Harlem location, even though they sell the exact same cookies and other baked goods.

If you're craving a giant cookie on a weekday, you can take the B train down to 116th Street.  If it's a weekend or the B is taking forever, take the D train to 125th St and just walk the extra few blocks (think of the cookie you'll soon be cradling if you need some motivation to walk.)

Okay, you may be like "this girl is crazy who wants to pay $4.25 for a cookie?"  but you have to understand just how enormous these cookies are, and how their size helps make them even more addictive.  They have a craggy golden exterior, which gives way to a gooey and molten center, rich with melted Valrhona chocolate.  I'm cookie dough-averse, but don't find these cookies to be too doughy.  There are four flavors: chocolate chip walnut, chocolate peanut butter chip, oatmeal raisin, and chocolate chocolate chip.  I have tried all four but the oatmeal raisin for obvious reasons; raisins belong nowhere near a cookie, even from this temple to butter and sugar.  Chocolate chip walnut and chocolate peanut butter chip are my two favorites, just because even I find the chocolate chocolate chip to be too rich.  

cake, cookie, biscuits, chocolate
Emma Fingleton

Unlike some bakeries which offer display cases crammed with dozens of different pastries, many of which are mediocre or plainly bad, Levain only serves a small variety of cookies and breads, allowing them to make each one perfect.  Cookies are baked fresh throughout the day to deal with the high turnover, ensuring the ultimate cookie experience of eating straight from the oven.  Levain offers more than just amazing cookies.  Their banana chocolate chip and seasonal pumpkin breads have the perfect texture and well-balanced flavor: not too sweet and you can actually taste the banana or pumpkin.  The name of the bakery is French for "leavening" so of course their bread is excellent too

Levain deserves all the hype it receives; next time you're craving a sugar high, run, don't walk (well, only if you can run the hilly blocks to the subway) to Levain. Please pick me up a cookie, too.  (And keep an eye out for the new UWS location opening this spring!!)