NYC Bakery Tour Part 1

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This past weekend, I took my team to NYC for a team-building getaway, centered around none other than… baked goods. What better way to have fun together than to parade through the streets of NYC, tasting our way from bakery to bakery?! Somehow, we fit 5 bakeries into only 24 hours and that includes sleeping and going out to dinner to ABC Kitchen.

A little background info. I hired Stephanie in the beginning of this year to help me with social media. Hilari joined the team in the summertime for additional social media support and random small projects. The two help me manage my business so I can have more free time being… you know, an actual human person. 🙂 Luckily they enjoy baking as much as I do, so this NYC trip was a win-win-win situation for the whole gang.

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Our first stop was Levain Bakery in the Upper Westside. There is typically a long line, but luckily we only had to wait 25 minutes or so– and that was on a sunny Saturday afternoon! We were all pleasantly surprised. And hungry. The bakery itself is so teeny! Which proves that great things can come from even the smallest of places. It was go go go once we got inside. You better know what you want and order fast! We ordered 1 of each of their signature cookies while the gals got a few extra to take home. The signature cookies include:

  • Chocolate Chip
  • Oatmeal Raisin
  • Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip

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I’m sure you’ve heard of Levain. They’re famous; an internet and real life sensation. They’re known for their softball-size super thick cookies and you can find many copycat recipes online. I’ve read that not many compare! Either way, this was my first time EVER trying one. The cookies are super crisp on the edges, which I loved. Warm and very underbaked in the centers; it was hard to hold them without them falling apart! Naturally, my favorite was the oatmeal raisin. That one wasn’t as gooey inside… and we ate it all so I didn’t snap a picture. Oops!

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Off to City Cakes! An adorable bakery in Chelsea. They were decorating wedding cakes when we walked in and as we decided what to get, a bride + groom came in to place an order for their wedding. So cute!

Funnily enough, City Cakes is a custom cake bakery but they are also known for their half pound cookies. Yes, half pound cookies. We walked out with 3 lbs of cookies total! It was tricky to make a decision, but we ended up buying:

  • Rich Chocolate Chip
  • Triple Chocolate Spice
  • Hearty Oatmeal Raisin (shocking)
  • Signature Sugardoodle (like a snickerdoodle!)
  • Red Velvet Cream Cheese Stuffed Cookie
  • Ginger Spice

And a pumpkin spice cupcake to go!

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The chocolate chip cookie was outstanding and probably one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. The center tasted like cookie dough, but wasn’t at all gooey. I don’t know how they do it! The oatmeal raisin was fabulous with both regular and golden raisins and the ginger spice was perfectly spiced. Basically, Christmas in round form. And I loved the white chocolate chunks in the triple chocolate spice! The cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookie could probably be the only item this bakery sells and they’d still be wildly successful. I’m not kidding. Whenever you go to NYC, that cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookie is all you’ll need. It tasted like an actual piece of red velvet cake… but the cookie was so dense. Not cakey at all. How do they do this!!

And now a photoshoot of City Cakes cookies because we were all obsessed.

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We needed a walking break after all that sugar, but not long after we ventured to Milk Bar. Surely you’ve heard of it?! The owner, Christina Tosi, is an award-winning pastry chef who invented their signature items like the Crack Pie and Compost Cookies. Milk Bar opened a new store-front location in Nolita and we were pumped to go check it out!

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I was losing light at this point, so I couldn’t shoot many pictures. We tried the crack pie, b’day truffles (my favorite of them all), and candy bar pie. We also got a little tin full of ingredients to make their famous compost cookies at home. I’ll give them a try and report back to you! The candy bar pie was full of texture. It has everything from chocolate and salty caramel to peanut butter nougat (!!!) and crunchy pretzels.

You have to try it!

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We woke up early Sunday morning to head to Brooklyn. Can you believe this was my first time ever in Brooklyn? I’d never been there before and one morning surely isn’t enough. Must come back ASAP. We went to The Bagel Store, the home of the original rainbow bagel. You’ve seen this phenomenon right?

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I know that looks like a lot, and it is, but the plain rainbow bagel is actually pretty cool. Above is the rainbow supreme, which is a child’s… and unicorn’s… dream come true! Funfetti cream cheese, extra sprinkles, edible fairy glitter, cotton candy. It’s just so much FUN! The bagel creator, aka bagel artist, is Scot Rossillo. He and Francine welcomed us in with open arms and were so excited to feed us as much as we could stomach. I had a bacon egg and cheese bagel sandwich, which is their best seller for breakfast. We each tasted the rainbow supreme you see above. And yes, it’s so good! They create custom colored bagels for all sorts of events and were excited to possibly do a collaboration with Sally’s Baking Addiction. So much fun!

They have dozens upon dozens of bagel flavors. We tried their pumpkin pie cream cheese and next time, I’m giving their cragels a try. Croissant bagels! What I loved most about this place is that it felt like you were right at home. Scot and Francine knew the customers by name, knew their orders, opened the doors, gave out stickers to little ones… it was just such a fun morning being around the excitement.

Also, I got the black and white cookie pictured above from The Bagel Store! They come in from another bakery… and I will find out which one ASAP and update this blog post so you know. It was unbelievable. I brought one home with me too.

And um, please don’t mind my PINK socks. I got a blister from all the walking the day before and had to wear socks with those boots. And of course I didn’t pack white or black socks… I packed hot pink socks.

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Last stop… back to Manhattan for CookieDŌ! This was a must-stop, recommended by many many readers. It’s all the rage! Kristen, the owner, opened her shop just for us. CookieDŌ is basically that… safe-to-eat cookie dough. You can buy it in personal tubs (umm OMG) that are perfect for sharing. She’s expanded the menu to fit dozens of flavors. Everything in the shop was polka dotted, sprinkled, and/or pink. I immediately felt at home.

Some questions we had:

How is it safe to eat? They use pasteurized egg substitute and heat-treated flour.

Can you bake it into cookies? If, for some reason, someone doesn’t want cookie dough!?! YES! The baked cookies are incredible too!

What about gluten free or vegan? Both options available!

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Kristen says they get orders upon orders for holidays and events and they continue to work on new flavor developments. We tasted the signature chocolate chip, salty & sweet (with salted caramel and dark chocolate!), confetti, pumpkin spice, gimme s’more, and chocolate chocolate. My favorite was the salty & sweet. I took home several mini tubs of the sugar cookie flavor too.

We hope to collaborate in the future. Because, well, duh!

Cookie DO NYC

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We each left with about 5 bags of baked goods and are still on a sugar high. But it was all so worth it! The gals and I are already brainstorming when we can visit again (that will be part 2!) because there were so many bakeries we didn’t get to visit. And I need another cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookie in my life ASAP.

Q: What are you favorite bakeries in NYC?

128 Comments

  1. I was following your adventures on Instagram and Twitter all weekend and was SO jealous!! I went to NYC last year for work and I became obsessed with the Milk Bar confetti cookie (the birthday cake truffles were also amazing!!).  It’s a good thing I don’t live there because I’d live solely on those cookies and weigh 4728482 pounds. 🙂 

    I wanted to get to Levain but ran out of time…if you or any of your readers know of a copycat recipe that’s good, please let me know! I’ve been wanting to try one. 

    1. Katrina Kurth says:

      A friend of mine sent me this copycat recipe, below. I loved them! Some of my friends complained that the cookies were too tall, but after reading this I realize that was the point!
      http://bromabakery.com/2015/01/copycat-levain-bakery-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

      1. Tall is what makes them LEVAIN! Literally softball size; they’re enormous! Sarah at Broma Bakery has incredible recipes, so I can’t wait to check these out. 

  2. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    sounds like the best team-building trip ever! and everyone talks about the chocolate chip from levain, but oatmeal raisin is my fave too (:

    would recommend doughnut plant next time you’re there; their creme brulee doughnut is amazing!

    1. Oatmeal raisin RULES at Levain!

  3. I’m a big fan and customer of CookieDO!

    1. Love it there.

  4. Charlotte @ What Charlotte Baked says:

    I went to NYC a year or so ago, and when I got home I found out about CookieDo 🙁 I wish I could have gone there!

    There’s always next time I guess…

    Your trip looked awesome Sally – I spent the weekend following your adventures on instagram ❤

    1. You’ve gotta go back! It is incredible. So so so so sooooo many fun flavors!

  5. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    I’m drooling over those cookies! And omg, funfetti cream cheese?! Your trip to New York sounds like so much fun. I love trips that are centered around food. Actually, pretty much all my trips are centered around food unless it’s a wedding. lol. I haven’t been to New York in years and can’t wait to go back. These bakeries are all bookmarked!

    1. I want to go on more bakery tours like this in other cities!

  6. Oh my god these all look sooo good!!

    x Annabelle
    travelsandtea.com

    1. And they were 🙂

  7. The first picture reminds me of the Seinfeld episode featuring the black & white cookie. Please tell me you’ve seen it! NYC seems gorgeous & I’ve heard fall is spectacular there. Did you know Christina Tosi is one of the judges on Master Chef? Honestly Sally, you could open up a bakery. #quality

    1. HAHAHA yes, I’ve seen it. Classic 😉

      I just read about Christina Tosi being a judge– so cool! And I’d love to open a bakery someday.

  8. Nila @ The Tough Cookie says:

    Hey Sally, I really enjoyed reading this post. Wish I could go to NY myself and try all those goodies. That crack pie looks so good! And btw, your site looks amazing! Love the new design 😀

    1. Thanks Nila!

  9. As a New Yorker I can’t even bring myself to tell you (and your audience!) my favorite bakery for fear that I’d encounter a long line next time I need some goodies myself — #selfpreservation is key! You did hit some good ones! It was a lovely weekend here. 🙂

    1. HAHA you do you! I wouldn’t reveal that secret either. 😉

  10. Patrica @Sweet and Strong says:

    I loved following your adventures on Instagram.  I love exploring little bakeries but have never visited any in NYC.  But I am loving those cookie dough balls and would make a trip just for that!

    1. Yes, CookieDO is definitely worth the visit, but if you can’t make it they do ship 😉

  11. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    Oh my GOSH I am drooling everywhere. That’s why I love that my brother lives in Manhattan, so many great places to go. 😉 You MUST go to City Bakery, especially in February for their hot chocolate festival! They have a different flavor for every single day and their marshmallows are GIANT. Their baked goods are alright too I guess. 😉

    1. A hot chocolate festival? Seriously?! So cool.

  12. Michelle @ Brown Butter and Biscuits says:

    Oh my gosh I’ve always wanted to go to Levain Bakery! And I’ve never heard of the other ones you visited but they look amazing too!! Especially those half-pound cookies 😉 Next time you’ve got to try Schmackary’s Cookies–they have a cookie dough cookie that’s to die for!!! Thanks for the great pics and information! I’ll definitely be looking back at this next time I go to NYC!

    1. Another reader just suggested Schmackary’s! I need to go back.

  13. Dawn - Girl Heart Food says:

    OMG!!! Just look at all those treats!! What?! Would love to visit all those places. And that Milk Crack Pie? I would have to run a bazillion miles in preparation for all the good eats I would have, lol 😀 But, I’m sure it would all be worth it!

    1. Soooo worth it.

  14. Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture says:

    Oh my god, those Levain cookies! To die for. Please do a copycat 🙂

    1. They were so rich!

  15. Lola Bellouere says:

    We are planning a trip to NYC soon so now I know exactly where I need to go. Thanks 🙂

    1. YAY! And have fun 🙂

  16. Jacqueline Sin says:

    Oh my GOODNESS! I visited NYC during the Summer, had SO MUCH food and desserts, and I can’t wait to be back next Summer! I am definitely putting this list on my itinerary hehe – I mean… those City Cakes cookies :O ♡

    Jacqueline | Sail Away to Neverland ♡

    1. The best cookies I’ve ever had!

  17. Magnolia Bakery because Sex and the City. The cupcakes really are that good. AND if you take the Sex and the City tour, you get a free cupcake 🙂 and a cosmo.

    1. omg so much fun!!

  18. Jamie | Hola Croqueta says:

    I swear, this is my dream vaykay. I love NYC in the Fall to begin with but add cookies and it’s GAME OVER! I was following your Snaps/IG for updates. Looks like you guys had a delicious time!

    1. I suggest leaving FL and making the trip 🙂

  19. Stella @ Stellicious Life says:

    Yay, I was eagerly waiting for this post after all the teasing photos on IG 😉

    I LOVE your hot pink socks, so much more fun than boring old white socks 😉 I love brightly coloured and patterned socks, I don’t think I have more than 3 or 4 plain one-coloured socks, the one I have on today is gray and it has little bright pink, navy and white Christmas ornaments, candy canes, reindeers, Christmas trees and penguins on it 😀 Because one can’t start getting in the holiday spirit too early ;-p

  20. Omg Sally I’m so jealous of all that taste testing! I’ve never been to New York but always wanted go for the food alone. That red velvet whoopie pie is a beautiful monstrosity. Are you going to try recreating any of these baked goods at home? If anyone can do it, it’d probably be you! I can’t believe the sizes of those cookies

  21. My comment got cut off! I can’t believe the sizes of those cookies; they’re beautiful monstrosities and I feel the need to try every one 😉 New York always looks so pretty in the early fall. 

    1. It was beautiful. Both the city and the cookies. Ha!

  22. We are going in December and I hope to hit up Levain. We also love Jacque Torres as he has some pretty amazing chocolate chip cookies AND hot chocolate. His chocolate discs are wonderful to use in chocolate chip cookies!

    1. I’ve heard about it! I need to go next time. Have fun when you go!

  23. Hi Sally, are you cookied out yet?!! 🙂 Of course not, its you! It looks like you had an amazing time.

    2 ?’s

    1) Did you guys want to try to original cronut, or did you just run out of time
    2) That red-velvet cookie looks to die-for. Is there anyway you can somehow recreate the recipe for us to try pls?

    1. We ran out of time for cronuts! I’ve never had one and am interested to try next time. 🙂 And I don’t think I could recreate that cream cheese stuffed red velvet cookie perfection. I’m dreaming of it though!

  24. Gone with a whim says:

    Your pictures got me booking tickets to NYC sooo fast :O

    1. I hope so!

  25. Kristin Pollett says:

    My mouth is literally watering! I am dying to try a Rainbow Bagel! And CookieDO needs to be in my life pronto! I’m thinking about ordering some online! MMMM MMMM GOOD!

    1. Do it! Worth the shipping costs.

  26. I work 4 very short blocks away from Cookie Do, and it’s so dangerously delicious that I have to avoid walking by there all the time! It’s just so good!

    I’ve also been to Levain, City Cakes, and Milk Bar. I can’t wait to check out ABC Kitchen!

    1. I’d go back to NYC just for ABC kitchen! We tasted a ton including 3 small appetizers, 3 entrees, 2 sides, 2 desserts… everything (even their bread!) was phenomenal.

  27. Christi @ Love From The Oven says:

    Gorgeous photos, Sally! Those Levain cookies look dreamy. On second thought, ALL of the pics do!

    1. So dreamy! Thanks my friend xoxo

  28. But, where to buy the best Black and white cookie in NYC?

    1. Hi Sarah! I got the black and white cookie from the bagel store and am finding out where they are originally from (the bagel store did not bake them). Will report back once I know! It was divine.

  29. NYC Tour sounds like fun. I used to live on Long Island. Some time I will have to back and do that tour. By the way…at which place did you buy the half moon cookies and do they ship? You didn’t mention it. Thanks…Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa! I got the black and white cookie from the bagel store and am finding out where they are originally from (the bagel store did not bake them). Will report back once I know!

      1. Thank you. Please ask them if they ship! Lisa

  30. Loved this post! What a great trip. I love Dominique Ansel Bakery. Skip the long line for the Cronut (good, but not earth-shattering, IMHO) and get the Kouign Aman. It’s a very homely looking little pastry, but it will knock your sox off! Also, Bouchon Bakery is excellent. They have a home-made Nutter Butter, and also “Faux-reos” that are fabulous!

    1. Thank you for the suggestions, Joan! I felt silly for not stopping in to get a cronut. I’ve never had one!

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