It’s National Chocolate-Chip Cookie Day! NYC’s Five Best Morsels

Of America’s culinary contributions – the apple pie, the juicy cheeseburger, the mac & cheese – perhaps its finest is The Chocolate-Chip Cookie. At its best, its gooey in the middle, warm with crisp edges, and a minefield of rich chocolate-chip chunks. And at its worst, it’s simply dough and chocolate – and my, is that wonderful. But today is National Chocolate-Chip Cookie Day, when these doughy, little saucer-shaped desserts are celebrated for the joy they bring to us and the world. Here’s where to find NYC’s Five Best Chocolate-Chip Cookies.

Paradis To-Go: the gooey, crispy, and chocolatey-chip morsels are such a hit at this dainty café off Union Square, that the spot offers Chocolate-Chip Cookie punchcards. Get yours.

Levain Bakery:  the guaranteed line round-the-corner says it all about this beloved Upper West Side bakery. And the shocker: they don’t even offer a chocolate-cookie chip. The closest is their chocolate-chip walnut (see photo) – but that doesn’t stop purists and cookie monsters from salivating outside their doors daily.

Jacques Torres: crispy, thin-as-a-pancake, and loaded with long, slender chunks of fudgy chocolate-chips, this high-end chocolate shop’s cookie is simply masterful. 

Birdbath Bakery: this East Village green bakery brings new meaning to "sustainability" with its frisbee-sized, stackable cookies that sustain you for 3+ hours.

Salt of the Earth Bakery: salty, sweet, and absolutely delicious is this online company’s "Choco-Rama" chocolate-chip cookie, flanked with a buttery, oatmeal base, artisan E. Guittard chips, and sea salt crystals. Scoop up the morsels at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Fairway, Balducci’s, and more

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The Top Passover Desserts In NYC

Passover is a passed-over holiday. Next to the glossy, commercial, egg-filled Easter, it definitely gets the shaft. And that’s a shame too, because a holiday celebrating the deliverance of Jewish people from slavery in Egypt really deserves its own aisle in Duane Reade. Nonetheless, some extra-special shops in NYC are taking pride in the holiday in the sweetest way possible by baking up fresh morsels of deliciousness. Chocolate is involved. Here are our favorite Passover desserts:

Russ & Daughters: This iconic LES specialty shop, open since 1914, is the go-to for the old-fashioned Passover classics : chocolate-dipped macaroons, fruit slices, flourless chocolate cake, and chocolate-covered jelly rings.

Tribeca Treats: Their chocolate buttercrunch matzo famously flies off the shelf, so order ASAP.

Jacques Torres: For creative matzo covered in the city’s top chocolate, head here. The dark chocolate-covered matzo comes in plain, peanut butter, and their signature “Wicked” spicy coating.

Sugar and Plumm: Passover cookies are the star of the show at this whimsical UWS dessert spot, with pasti di mandorla cookies and chocolate kiss-satchio cookies alongside chocolate matzo buttercrunch.

Patisserie by Francois Payard: Can’t choose? This French bakery offers a 48-piece assortment of almond petit fours, along with meringue kisses, and flourless chocolate walnut cookies.

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Photo: davidlebovitz.com

The 12 Things You Must Do In NYC On 12/12/12

Whether you think today is magically auspicious or a reminder that the clock’s quickly-a-tickin’ to Dec. 21st doomsday, the greatest takeaway is this: we must seize the day. So get out there and make today your best. Make it amazing. It just might be your last…

1. Breakfast at Clinton St. Baking Company: since it’s a weekday, the line is shorter than ever, bringing you that much closer to ordering their signature blueberry pancakes and sugar-cured bacon, and being lifted to the celestial heaven that is fluffy pancakes.

2. Put on a sweater and puffy jacket, rent a bike from the Waterfront Bike Shop, and ride across the Brooklyn Bridge and into DUMBO’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is no better view of this sparkling gem of a city than on that 129-year-old bridge and from that grassy park.

3. Sweeten the day with the city’s best cupcakes at Sweet Revenge. Today’s specialty offering is the eggnog cupcake with spiced cream cheese frosting, though the major must-get is their signature namesake treat: the Sweet Revenge with peanut butter cake, ganache center, and peanut butter fudge frosting.

4. Drink the day away at Chelsea Brewing Company and frolic drunkenly along the Hudson River. End your tipsy journey with mouthfuls of the giant peanut butter and blackberry jam doughnut and carrot cake doughnut at Chelsea’s Doughnut Plant.

5. Visit West Garden Spa for an “afternoon delight” if ya know what I mean, guys.

6. Rent that helicopter and soar across NYC like a bird. A 15-minute ride above the Statue of Liberty is just $169, which is what you’d pay anyway for dinner-and-drinks-for-two at West Village haven of deliciousness: Perilla.

7. Go ice skating in the heart of Central Park at Wollman Skating Rink, and wrap your hands around a steaming, frothy cup of hot chocolate from nearby  Jacques Torres at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

8. Have a tea party with all of your best friends at English cottage-inspired Tea & Sympathy, and go nuts over their scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam, kettles of vanilla mint tea, welsh rarebit, and chicken pot pie.

9. Watch the city melt into dark at sunset from the Top of the Rock observation deck.

10. When 5pm hits, head straight to cocktail favorite Mother’s Ruin for their spicy Brazilian coconut cocktail and devour their bready, cheesy, greasy, beautiful grilled cheese.

11. Finally talk to that adorable person you always see on the subway. Flirt, ask them out, make a move.

12. Because no one wants to go back to their apartment (and roommate), end the night in luxury at the Bowery Hotel

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Chocolate, Chocolate Everywhere At The Salon Du Chocolat

This weekend marks the 15th Annual New York Chocolate Show, otherwise known as Salon du Chocolat, which features confectioners, pastry chefs, and food artists from around the world.

Starting tomorrow, November 9, and through November 11, you can hit up The Metropolitan Pavilion in the Flatiron District and see demonstrations by chocolatier Fritz Knipschlldt on how to make chocolate truffles at home, and Zac Young from David Burke Kitchen shows guests how to make a white chocolate crème brulee with bourbon and pumpkin.

Aside from the 35 demos, there are also displays and sample stations. Even though Hurricane Sandy hindered some of the vendors, 45 companies and individuals still made it, including Gnosis Chocolate from Queens, John & Kira’s Chocolate from Philadelphia, Truffly Made from California, and Chocolate Shop Wine from Washington.

If you can’t go this weekend, or prefer your chocolate one bite at time, New York is a great place to indulge. True, there is always aGodiva shop somewhere or Max Brenner’s cacao empire to go to, but plenty of smaller shops also have amazing chocolate goods. Take Jacques Torres, their Wicked Hot Chocolate is spicy, sweet, and so rich, one cup is enough. Not to knock their truffles, those are definitely worth it too.

Kee Ling Tong has truffles in the bag too, and since 2002 she has run Kee’s Chocolates in SoHo. Each truffle is handmade in small batches, and when she runs out of the Earl Grey or passion fruit flavors, it could be a few days before there are more.

For incredibly high-end confections, Maison du Chocolate, MarieBelle New York, and Vosges Haut-Chocolat are the places to go. The latter boosts their Black Pearl truffle and the famous Mo’s Bacon Bar. If bacon is your thing, you can literally pig out on the Pig Candy, whole pieces of bacon dipped in chocolate, atRonnie Sue’s in the Essex Market.

Hunting for some artisanal chocolate made from single-origin beans? Where else would you go but to Brooklyn, and from there the Mast Brothers brick and mortar shop in Williamsburg. There they sell handcrafted bars named after their source. No matter what kind of chocolate suits you, there is something for everyone both at the New York Chocolate Show and on the streets of the city. And, if all else fails, you can always satisfy your sweet tooth at Dylan’s Candy Bar where they have not only retro confections, but every kind of candy you didn’t know you wanted.

Gift to Self: ‘Calories’ Popcorn Jar by Jonathan Adler

This may be a great gift to self for the New Year, perhaps a nice deterrent to any post-holiday sugar indulgences. Designer Jonathan Adler created this adorable “Calories” jar ($38) to fill with your favorite treats. The fact that it comes stocked with Jacques Torres caramel chocolate popcorn will only make you stronger—resist!

Shop the “Calories” popcorn jar here.