This review is a bit of a departure from my usual content… but I couldn’t resist.
During my brief New York stint, I was fortunate to live just a few blocks away from the famous Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side. Their scone-sized cookies are delicious, perfectly crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside.
In their online shop, you can buy a dozen freshly baked cookies for $58 + shipping. In order to stay fresh, they use overnight shipping – which can cost a pretty penny ranging from $19 – $49 for a cross-continental delivery.
However, last summer they launched their frozen version nationwide with Whole Foods, at a much more palatable $10 price point. In the name of science (or insanity?), I ordered both to compare.
Could the $10 frozen version be close enough to the real deal to satiate our occasional Levain craving?
Of course, there are some notable differences between the two. For this comparison, I’m looking at the Chocolate Walnut Cookie, my favorite of their flavors. I popped both into the toaster oven to compare at peak gooey tastiness – for the frozen one, 8 minutes at 350F did the trick.
Size: The original Levain cookies are a hefty 6oz, almost three times the size of the 2oz frozen ones. As much as I do love the fresh, giant cookies, I rarely finish them in one go. I actually quite like the bite-sized frozen ones, a perfect size for a quick snack or dessert.
Texture: The frozen ones have a more… uniform texture and a bit less chocolate & walnut. I don’t think this detracts from the overall flavor, but they don’t taste quite as homemade as the original ones.
Flavor: Similar to texture, I found that there was less depth in flavor variety in the frozen versions. However, they are very very close – and absolutely an acceptable alternative to the fresh ones.
Overall, my wallet is happy (and perhaps my waistline wary).