Oprah’s favorite chocolate chip cookie

Rye, New York

I’m on a mission to taste the best of the best. I’ve recently knocked pad thai and hotdogs off the list — although not in the same sitting. This afternoon, it was on to dessert, which could mean only one thing: chocolate chip cookies at Levain Bakery.

The New York Times said that Levain may have “the largest, most divine chocolate chip cookies in Manhattan.” Zagat declared them number 1 in their “cookies” category this year. At last count, over 230 people had offered up rave review on Yelp. And even Oprah has paid a visit.

We followed our noses to West 74th, as the intoxicating smell of freshly baked cookies wafted down the street. If it weren’t for the crowd gathered outside, it would be easy to walk right by Levain — which sits in a tiny subterranean space down a flight of stairs. Inside, a team of bakers man their Kitchen-Aids, pull sheets out of the oven and work frenetically to replace the tasty treats as fast as they’re being eaten up.

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The signature chocolate chip walnut cookie was $3.75. But it was a monster — more like a scone — and basically the equivalent of three normal sized cookies. Still warm, it was gooey, crunchy and rich; the middle was a little undercooked. In other words, just perfect.

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Lesson: Never doubt Oprah when it comes to baked goods.

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