Thursday, December 18, 2008

Zaro's Bakery : New York

Woohoo, more cookies! This time, cookies from Zaro's Bakery. Specifically their location in Penn Station.

(If you're curious, these last few entries are cookie experiences spaced multiple weeks apart - I just haven't had the time to post about them and I thought it'd be fun to do back-to-back cookie reviews)

Chocolate Chip Cookie
This must have be the weirdest and least appetizing chocolate chip cookie that I've yet to see. It seriously looks as if a little boy made this cookie to resemble a porcupine. It's pale cookie batter color doesn't help either - it looks like it's been seriously underbaked.

At the bakery, my gf tried to persuade me to not buy it. "How could it possibly taste good?" she asked. And I must say, I hesistated for some time. I thought of my Penn Bookstore cookie experience, where the unappetizing first impression of the cookie matched the terrible experience eating it.

But for some reason, I ended up giving this place the benefit of the doubt and I'm glad I did, because this was a truly intriguing cookie, best described as sustainable. I'll come back to this in a bit.

The actual cookie was like a short cake: dry, almost like a dried out Chinese pineapple cake short bread. ...actually a better description would be that it's more like a large hamantash (Wikipedia) with chocolate chips on top instead of the fruit filling, which is logical given that Zaro's sells other Jewish breads and pastries.

Certainly, it was far from the standard chocolate chip cookie, but the more I ate it, the more I appreciated it for what it was. Initially, it was underwhelming in its lack of sugar. Because of the unbalanced cookie:chocolate ratio, the flavor of the cookie batter dominated the taste of the chocolate chips. The cookie itself was very neutral in taste and certainly did not have much sugar. To top things off, the cookie had an intriguingly dry, crumbly texture that also focused your attention away from the chocolate.

However, I did find that eating this cookie like the purportedly proper method to eat nigiri sushi (Sushi Etiquette) did wonders: that is, upside down. This allowed me to get more of the chocolate chip sweetness and have the more neutral cookie flavor to accompany afterwards.

Getting back to the sustainable description I mentioned earlier, a number of chocolate chip cookie bakers, in their attempt to placate their customers, lean towards an overly sweet cookie, which leads to an initial pleasing taste, but a horrible crash from your sugar-high afterwards. (Take Corner Bakery's chocolate chip cookie for example) But this cookie was the opposite, I could eat a number of these cookies and still be okay to go. You can think of it as a sustainable snack and I really really respect that.

So while I wouldn't say this would appease my chocolate chip cookie craving by any stretch of the imagination, this could very well be a decent everyday type of snack. (That is, if I lived in NY)

Score: 9.0/10.0

Oatmeal Raisin
Zaro's oatmeal raisin cookie was a standard oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. This appeared to be a bit problematic in that Zaro's seems to focus on Jewish pastries. I'm not clear on the origins of an oatmeal raisin cookie, but it certainly seemed like this was a little out of their reach.

There was some inconsistency from bite to bite. Overall, the cookie has a dry oat taste to it. However, some bites tasted more like granola trail mix, while others worked a better, with a slighty toasted sugar taste, like the smell of freshly baked suagar cones.

All in all, this was not a bad cookie, but it was not really anything better than average.

Score: 7.0/10.0

Zaro's Bread Basket
Multiple Locations
New York, NY
($cookies, $Dessert, $NYC)

1 comment:

  1. I trek into the city most weekends to visit friends and the couple of times I've had desserts at Zaro's Bakery, I was not impressed in the least. The first item I had was the Peanut Butter brownie which was not the freshest item there. It was ok bordering on being stale. The second time I went to Zaro's I grabbed cupcake. OMG it was the worst cupcake I've ever tasted! My first bite, it had absorbed the flavors of refrigerator funk. The icing, I thought was buttercreme, but really tasted like lard with a taste of sugar. I threw my cupcake away after just one bite. I personally will not be going to Zaro's again as I find the food was disgusting. I rate it 2/10. To be clear this was at the Grand Central Station.