Sourdough Starter

Levain Bakery

Arguably the best cookies in New York City.

Whenever someone comes to visit me or when I have brunch on the Upper West Side, Levain Bakery is a regular stop on the way back home.

But how did Levain get its name?

According to its bloglevain is “a French term for a natural leavening agent traditionally consisting of flour, water and wild yeasts. Perhaps better known in the USA as a sourdough starter.”


Levain Bakery is a lovely bright blue storefront on the Upper West Side, just off Amsterdam on 74th. And if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might miss it.

But maybe the warm smell of freshly-baked cookies will lead you there, in the event that your eyes fail you.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie | $4

Levain is well known for their sweet-but-not-too-sweet cookie-like scones (or scone-like cookies?) with a crunchy, crispy outside and ooey-gooey inside.

However, as delicious as that ooey-gooey center is, some people are worried that the insides aren’t fully cooked.

Levain’s blog post on how to eat their cookies dispels any of these fears. They write, “No fears, our cookies are fully baked, but until they are completely cool, they are not fully set and, therefore, still gooey in the middle.  If you allow your cookie to cool you will avoid that totally mushy inside but maintain that delicious, almost but not quite, cookie dough-ish texture.”

Salmonella fears calmed, let’s move onto your cookie options.

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie | $4

There are four varieties of these yummy cookies: Chocolate Chip Walnut, Oatmeal Raisin, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip. They offer coffee and milk to pair with the cookies and there are also other varieties of baked goods for purchase.

But let’s be honest, the real reason we come is because of the cookies. Let’s focus on the cookies.

Make sure to go early if you want something warm and fresh (and if you want to skip the line!). If you go at the end of the day, they may have already run out of your favorite flavor.

In terms of price, these cookies run for $4 apiece, but when they’re larger than a baseball and have the amount of dough to make 3-4 regular-sized cookies, you’re getting a great deal.

Doesn’t this make you want to eat a Levain cookie right now?


So, if you’re ever on the Upper West Side, make sure to visit Levain Bakery. You will not be disappointed. Best $4 ever spent.

What was the best cookie you ever had in New York? Share below:


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