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[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

Editor's note: Here to answer your questions is senior managing editor, former SENY editor, and frequent author of our NYC restaurant reviews Carey Jones. We'll take a few of your questions each week and give you the New York restaurant advice you're looking for. Email carey@seriouseats.com with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!

Baked Goods for a Gift

Hiya critic, An out-of-town friend has been incredibly generous in inviting my husband and I to stay for a long weekend. I'd love to bring her some kind of edible baked goods from New York, but I'm having trouble thinking about where to go. What do you recommend? I don't want pastries or anything that would get stale quickly. I'm thinking cookies.

Best Overall: Ladurée

Ladurée. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

The most important consideration for any gift, of course, is the lucky gift-ee. Is she the kind of person who would squeal over six vividly hued Ladurée macarons? (They're very giftable, if very pricey.) Or the kind who would prefer the towering, gut-busting cookie monsters at Levain? (If you suspect she snacks her way through half the cookie dough every time she's baking, these are the cookies you want.)

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[Photographs: Niko Triantafillou]

If she's the kind to appreciate tradition, who occasionally sighs "You're so lucky to live in the city," perhaps rugelach from Russ & Daughters or newcomer Breads Bakery. Or Black & White cookies from Nussbaum & Wu, or the venerable William Greenberg Desserts. A little more up on today's trends? Perhaps compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar.

Bouchon Bakery's treats are beautifully done and presented elegantly, whether the Oreo-like TKOs, fudgy chocolate bouchons, or always-charming seasonal confections. Looking for something a little more down to earth? Amy's Bread does every kind of classic American baking well, with classics such as peanut butter and oatmeal raisin, and the more innovative lime cornmeal and oatmeal-coconut-chocolate-pecan "Kitchen Sink."

And I've never failed with a few sleeves of buttery, super-crunchy cookies from Tate's Bake Shop, available at specialty groceries and even higher-end bodegas all over the city.

Ask Us!

Email carey@seriouseats.com with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question. All questions will be read, though unfortunately not all can be answered.

About the author: Carey Jones is the former managing editor of Serious Eats. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones).

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