I love most things baked and doughy – cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, and all their warm-baked brethren. Not all cookies are born equal in my eyes; I have a weakness for the soft ones that melt and become gooey when warmed up, as well as the chewy ones, with little bits of berry or raisins or nuts to add that sweet crunchy spunk in the mix. And if they’re soft in the centre and chewy on the rim, the best of both worlds, then I become that incoherent, unstoppable, mouth-stuffing cookie maniac that no one wants to be related to. As for the hard crispy ones, I’m not such a fan – I find that they lack that luscious experience of sinking your teeth into a soft-baked mix, with the dough slowly melting and exuding its buttery juices in your mouth, and instead have a less glamorous crunch-chew-swallow routine that you’re forced to undergo with a harder crispier cookie.
My first cookie experience at the West Village bakery Milk and Cookies, where I stopped by after lunch to taste bits of different cookies from their tasting tray (thumbs up for free samples!), was definitely glamorous. The most memorable sample I tasted was very similar to a german chocolate cake – milk chocolate chips and toasted coconut sprinkled up top, irresistibly integrated into a buttery-soft cookie dough. Must have been one of their daily specials since I couldn’t find the same cookie listed on their regular menu online.
My friend also picked up an assorted cookie packet as gift for someone she was planning to meet after. Best gift ever in my opinion.
Now this is where the story turns sour. I returned, as promised, to Milk and Cookies on a weeknight – and, they were...gasp!...shut! The horror. The disappointment. The pleading look in my eyes as I telepathically begged the guy cleaning up behind the counter to reopen the shop for me. How can any place called Milk and Cookies, aka one of The Most Common Midnight Snacks in the U.S.**, shut at 10pm?
(**sources: while not particularly credible on their own, together they form a pretty compelling case for milk and cookies as a common midnight snack: Chacha.com (I know that a random bulletin board post sounds anything but legitimate, but it’s true!), Hunch.com, Wiki Answers and frankly, my own impression of American culture through movies I watched growing up.)
Bottom line – this was totally off-putting. I couldn’t get milk and cookies from a bakery by the same name at precisely the time I’d crave it the most.
I didn’t give up though. I had to give this another shot. This time, I tried their second Milk and Cookies branch, located next to the Kiehl’s store, on 13th and 3rd, conveniently close to Sunburst Espresso Bar where I was blogging on Sunday night. 9.10pm – enough time to rush over for a multi-cookie sampling. So I ran over to 13th, my anticipation building up...I’d try the plain chocolate one for sure, and the oatmeal one, and then maybe a few of the less routine, more exotic ones, probably on their daily specials list.
Wait, where’s the store? I see Kiehl’s, but no Milk and Cookies. Hmmm. Wha? Ooooh. Argh. Milk and Cookies is inside the Kiehl’s store, not next to it. That’s the most ludicrous thing I’ve heard of (right up there on my list after selling odorous, but flavor-bustingly awesome, Vietnamese banh mi behind a jewellery store in Chinatown) – why would someone sell milk and cookies in a beauty products store? Especially if that store is going to shut at 6pm on a Sunday, prime time for a late night cookie snack to ward off the Sunday night blues?
Most people would have got frustrated and quit by now. But not I. I will return – the chase for a Milk and Cookies cookie has now become a challenge. Whether or not it's even that good, I just have to get it because it's so darned hard to get when I want it most.
This story is not even close to done. I'll be back with an update once I've finally laid my hands on a Milk and Cookies' cookie and analyzed it to death, all to happen before I take that flight back to Dubai. But for now, Philly, Seattle and Michigan await...
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