Dominique Ansel Bakery
Ever since the birth of the cronut, Dominique Ansel has become the go-to guy when it comes to inventing new, unique pastries that not only make our mouths water, but make headlines around the city and the world. This cronut craze could be the worst and best thing that's happened to this bakery. It's the worst because the lines are out the door and the trendiness has overshadowed Ansel's true talent as a pastry chef. It's the best thing because it gave Ansel an incentive to create more crazy, sugary concoctions such as his frozen s'more, magic soufflé and the newest of all, the cookie shot.
Because the bakery rose to fame so quickly last summer, I honestly never wanted to go because I thought it was just a hype. However, I did want to try the frozen s'more, but waiting in a long line to get a $7 dessert didn't seem too appealing. Now, a year later, the cookie shot came out and once again, I thought it was just a hype. I mean what would make a cookie in the shape of a shot glass different from a flat chocolate chip cookie dipped in milk? Apparently a lot of things, but I wouldn't know until I tried it.
SO I ENDED UP DOUBLE FISTING A FROZEN S'MORE AND A COOKIE SHOT!
...BUT WHICH ONE WAS BETTER?
The frozen s'more is a marshmallow filled with a vanilla ice cream that is wrapped in a chocolate feuilletine (crispy wafer), and served on a smoked willow branch. It's blow torched to a golden brown upon order and ready to eat.
Eating the frozen s'more is an interesting experience. The variety of textures, temperatures and flavors all come together in one bite.
The marshmallow is smoky (thanks to the blow torch and the aroma of the willow wood), and once you bite in, the sweet ice cream and light chocolate, crunchy wafer all mix in together with the chewy, smoky marshmallow to make this a very flavorful experience. It's quite a genius concoction, yet it was not as mind-blowing as I thought it would be.
However, what surprised me the most was how mind-blowing the cookie shot was! When the cookie shot became a thing, I honestly thought it was silly. It looked like a small, hard cookie filled with milk, and I don't like small, hard cookies. But, I figured since I was at Dominique Ansel Bakery to try the s'more, I might as well go for the shot too. And I take back my judgment.
The $3 cookie shot was big (probably the size of a large cookie just made into a shot glass) warm, buttery, soft and filled with a Valrhona chocolate lining. The milk, which is organic and cold-infused with vanilla beans for 24 hours, was rich and sweet as it soaked up some of the chocolate lining.
And once you drink all the milk, the chocolate lining is still there to stay and the cookie is soft and moist!
I was kind of blown away by this cookie shot and would eat it again and again and again and again if I could.
Yes, Dominique Ansel is all about the trend these days, but I think his talent is in fact worth the attention. The cronut should not overshadow the rest of his work. My gluten-free friend even tried his flourless chocolate pecan cookie and said it was amazing and tasted like a "gooey, mushy brownie." I didn't dare ask for a taste because I felt guilty having a bite of her one dessert as I was shoving two in my face, but I'll take her word for it.
In addition to the creative, newsworthy desserts he makes, Ansel's bakery also offers a variety of very interesting and beautifully presented pastries along with savory dishes such as avocado toast (also really trendy right now but whatever), sandwiches, quiches, a "perfect little egg sandwich," soups and salads. The lesson here is that you can't judge a bakery by its cronut.