Along with pancakes and hot chocolate, the return of Dorie and Josh Greenspan’s CookieBar is one of the few things that makes February bearable. This morning, the renowned cookbook author and her son debuted the second coming of their cookie-shop pop-up, which will run through this Friday.
As they did last year, the Greenspans have set up a table right inside the entrance to the Mizu salon on Park Avenue between 59th and 60th streets. Also like last year, they’re doing brisk business: At 10:30 this morning, mother and son were busy chatting with customers, many of whom were repeats from last year. One enthusiastic young woman came in, announced she had $60, and proceeded to spend every last cent of it. We came away with a slightly more restrained bounty, having bought one each of the coconut-lime and espresso-chocolate sablés, the pear-pineapple and strawberry raspberry jammers, World Peace, Chocolate Chunker, and blondie.
The sablés were exactly as we remembered, which is to say crispy, buttery, and blissful. The titular ingredients in both varieties cut deftly through the rich butter: The coconut and lime lent a refreshing snap, while the espresso and chocolate delivered a jolt that could jump-start a bus.
The two chocolate cookies, World Peace and Chocolate Chunker, likewise are a boon to the sleep-deprived: Both are basically deceptively small delivery vehicles for extremely potent amounts of Valrhona chocolate. The former is slightly more subdued, just rich, velvety chocolate embellished with fleur de sel. The latter is a no-holds-barred crazy-quilt of four kinds of chocolate, salted cashews, and dried cherries — for those who like their cookies chunky and cakey, this is your Xanadu. It may provide you with all that you desire in life, even as it ruins you.
This year, the Greenspans premiered a new line of jammers, which are sablés topped with a healthy smear of Sarabeth’s jam and then garnished with streusel. Like the regular sablés, they are all buttery, crunchy splendor, though the pear-pineapple version gets an invigorating tweak from the lemon zest concealed in the sablé dough. The addition of the jams and streusel results in a cookie that is both delicious and could double as a palm-sized breakfast pastry — it calls out for a cup of coffee and a newspaper.
Out of all of the cookies we tried, the strawberry-raspberry jammer was our favorite, followed closely by another we didn’t see last year, the blondie. While blondies always seem to play wallflower to the brownie’s prom queen, this one makes a convincing case for why it deserves more of the spotlight. Instead of relying on a surplus of chocolate to seduce potential suitors, it uses a complex alchemy of brown sugar, vanilla, pecans, chocolate chunks, and, if we tasted correctly, a bit of shredded coconut. Coupled with a soft crumb and chewy edges, it was a knockout.
Although CookieBar is all too brief a treat, there are hopeful signs that it may soon find a more permanent home online: According to Josh Greenspan, a CookieBar website is in the works, and if all goes well, the Greenspans hope to use it to sell their cookies to a wider customer base. Until they do, we’ll be guarding the stash sitting on our desk with our life.
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