Media Credit: Lindsay Paulen | Senior Staff Photographer
Levain Bakery’s cookies balance sweetness and flavor – but they’ll only be available for another month.
For nearly 25 years, Levain Bakery has been a New York City staple that’s known for its massive 6-ounce cookies. But now you can find the famous cookies just minutes from campus.
Located at 3131 M St. NW in Georgetown, the D.C. shop is the bakery’s first venture outside of New York. The cookies’ cult following in New York followed to the District, drawing blocks-long lines at the Georgetown opening Wednesday.
Along with cookies, Levain Bakery offers classic baked goods like baguettes ($3), blueberry muffins ($2.95) and walnut sticky buns ($4.50).
You can also sip on several espresso drinks like lattes ($3.50), mochas ($4.25) or macchiatos ($2.75). If you’re not a fan of caffeine, you can opt for a hot chocolate ($4) made with Valrhona chocolate, a luxury chocolate from France.
The cookies ($4) are the main event, coming in five flavors – chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, dark chocolate peanut butter chip and two chip chocolate chip. Levain Bakery offers a gluten-free version of its chocolate chip walnut cookie. And to celebrate the opening of its D.C. location, you can try a limited-edition café con leche cookie.
The newest flavor is only available at the Georgetown location and was developed in collaboration with D.C. pastry chef Paola Velez. The chef is a co-founder of Bakers Against Racism – which raised nearly $1,900,000 throughout the summer for several social justice organizations – and the pastry chef at Maydan, a Middle Eastern restaurant in D.C.
For the month that it’s available, proceeds from the café con leche cookie will be donated to Horton’s Kids, a D.C. organization that aims to help children from under-resourced communities in D.C. graduate from high school and prepare for college.
I’ve already tried the other flavors in New York, so I knew I had to get the café con leche cookie. The giant cookie, which was practically the size of my palm, is made with the bakery’s signature dark chocolate cookie dough along with espresso and cinnamon.
Cookies are typically served fresh throughout the day, creating a gooey and warm interiors. I held onto my cookie for a bit before eating it, warming it up in the oven at 350 degrees for the same gooey texture.
The cookie’s Valrhona chocolate and dulce chips oozed out from being warmed up, bringing out the soft and melty flavors Levain Bakery is so well known for. Despite the gooey inside, the cookie maintained a somewhat crisp exterior, allowing me to drip them into a cold glass of milk.
Even though the cookie features chocolate dough and two types of chocolate, I somehow didn’t find it overwhelmingly sweet. The crunchy cashews and hints of espresso and cinnamon balanced the cookie’s sweetness more successfully than I expected. Plus, the sprinkle of sea salt atop was a welcome salty surprise that curbed the more sugary aspects of the cookie.
Levain Bakery’s new café con leche cookie is worth the hype and warrants a trip – or even two – to Georgetown before it leaves the menu next month.