Read about the first part of this saga here...
So to make up for my last thwarted attempt at visiting Milk and Cookies during working hours, I ended up returning to their Kiehl’s store branch in NYC once I got back from Seattle and Michigan. I was cutting it close...with my flight to Dubai leaving in a few hours, I still had a few unchecked items on my shopping list, and I could feel ominous tummy rumblings (was it the cold wrap I ate last night?) signaling the onset of something ugly and painful, most likely to hit as soon as I was up in the air and totally helpless (Source: Murphy's Law). Still, it's bad karma to leave without fulfilling a bakery visit that you'd already somewhat started (even if it wasn't your fault that they'd been shut the last two times you tried to go there)...so I landed up, taking a deep breath and willing the fresh baked smells to silence the scolding (motherly-sounding) voice in my brain asking me to go home and give my tummy a break before my 16-hour trip back to Dubai.
I tasted five of their cookies, of which the Mint Chocolate Chip and the Sugar cookie were right out of their tasting tray. I wasn’t impressed - the two samples tasted somewhat crumbly and stale, which may well have been a result of the cookie crumbles being left out on the tray for too long. Having also tried the German chocolate-inspired cookie at the original West Village store, I was mentally primed for a more adventurous cookie sampling rather than the routine Mint Chocolate Chip or Sugar versions. The thrill of the chase, the ultimate cookie of desire, was starting to look a little less thrilling at this point.
Still, I stuck with my original plan for a multi-cookie sampling and took home the 3 cookie pack for $5.75, with the usual suspects included (also because I didn’t see any exotic daily specials displayed on the fresh cookie rack) – Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin and Double Chocolate.
For close to $2.00 a cookie, and by my soft/dense/luscious cookie standards, I was quite disappointed. The basic Chocolate Chip had the quality of a cake that was just too airy and crumbly to have a memorable mouth feel. Hate to admit it, but I prefer the 49 ¢ chocolate chip cookies from Subway (yes, you have it right – Subway, the sandwich chain. They’ve definitely got some consistent magic going on in their cookies, which I’ve happily snacked on even half way across the world in Dubai)
The Oatmeal Raisin and Double Chocolate fared better, but again, nothing that felt worth the price I was paying for each cookie. (Random snippet: Each cookie was more than 2 times the price of a single 75-¢ cookie from the famous Magnolia Bakery, though I’ve never tried the cookies there.)
Because my concept of the perfect cookie is quite narrow and soft-cookie biased, I also got three other highly-knowledgeable-about-tasty-food people to conduct a tasting in order to give Milk and Cookies a fair chance at redemption: my ex-NYC roommate Mary, her sister and her mom. Mary thought they were okaaay, her sister loved them, and her mom thought they were a bit too sweet. So on average, these cookies didn’t get a standing ovation from our 4-person judging panel.
All that said, Mary still vouches for cookies at the original West Village location, which may just be fresher and yummier than their branch in the Kiehl’s store. (The Kiehl’s store location also has a special ‘creamy’ made-for-Kiehls-only cake that seems inspired by some beauty lotion or gel – frankly, I find the thought of branding a cookie mix with a beauty cream concept totally nauseating.)
Given the thoughtless bakery hours and the inconsistent cookies experience at the Kiehl’s store, Milk and Cookies is sadly a no-go on my next trip to the city.
Milk & Cookies Bakery
19 Commerce Street, New York, NY 10014 & 109 3rd Ave, New York NY 10003
Phone: +1 (212) 243-1640, +1 (212) 228 2891