I didn’t get a chance to try the Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies when I went to New York, so I made some at home myself!
There are many things you come to realize the older you grow; among them, things about friendship. Friendship is a lot less complicated as a teenager, when you get to see your friends nearly everyday and all you really worry about are grades, crushes, and projects. It’s only when you move on to your own paths in life that you see who remain true and who disappear into the ether. You may be wondering why I’m going on about friendship all of a sudden, but it’s what I find myself relating to these Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies.
There are desserts you share, and then there are desserts that just feel perfect to share with your oldest friends. To me, this copycat version Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies are that. When I had my first taste of these cookies, I immediately thought they would be perfect to serve on a fine afternoon at home, when you’ve invited a friend you haven’t seen in a while for a long catch-up session. There’s something about these cookies that evoke an old-fashioned feeling, while at the same time grounding you to the present.
I think that’s why I love food so much. There are those recipes and dishes that give you this profound feeling at a specific moment, and it sticks with you even when the last crumb is gone. It’s funny because what I should be telling you is whether these cookies are a dead ringer for the famous Levain cookies from New York. Well I have been to New York but I wasn’t able to visit Levain Bakery, so short answer: I have no idea. But these cookies are pretty good in their own right. You can ask everyone who got to try these when I decided to give half the batch away.
I think the charm of Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies is how despite being large, very well-constructed cookies on the outside, once you bite into one, you get an almost cookie dough-like interior. It gives a whole new meaning to the chewy chocolate chip cookie. Being a fan of that myself, I was pretty pleased to munch on these cookies. I found this recipe on a blog called The Pancake Princess, and let me tell you, I admire how they go out of their way to test recipes over there. This did not disappoint.
Admittedly, I don’t feel that these are the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever made, but the thing is, they have made me very interested to test out more recipes that create this kind of cookie. I went through other copycat recipes of the Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies and I already have two alternate versions lined up. You might have noticed the ‘Version 1.0’ indication on the title of this post, and that only means I’ll be putting on my mad scientist baker girl hat on soon. It’s an exciting time for my chocolate chip cookie-loving heart!
The interesting bit about these cookies is how they are baked at a higher temperature than normal. It’s why the outside becomes cooked and set more quickly but the center remains cookie dough soft. The recommended baking tray is a light colored one, because dark colored baking trays tend to burn the bottoms of cookies too fast. (I know this from experience too.)
I decided to portion my cookies in my normal way using my normal cookie scooper, which means smaller mounds than the original recipe indicates. I think the scoop is equivalent to 2 tablespoons versus the 75 gram portions recommended in the original recipe.
As you can see, my cookies aren’t as tall and chunky as the photos you may see online. (Doesn’t make them any less delicious!) For a more true-to-Levain version of these cookies, you will need to scoop larger balls of dough for baking. On my next tries, I’ll make sure to get this part right!
PS. I really have to make a mental note to remember to line up at Levain Bakery the next time I fly to New York and try the original cookies. I think the first time I went, I was so excited to explore Manhattan I kind of forgot about unimportant stuff like eating and sleeping lol. Gosh I miss New York. I want to explore Brooklyn next time.
Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies Copycat 1.0
- 1 cup high-quality unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups cake flour
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups high-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped*
- 1. Preheat oven to 410°F (210°C). Line at about three light-colored baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 2. In large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together cold butter, brown sugar, and sugar until creamy, about 4 minutes. (You can do this by hand but it will be very tiring.)
- 3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
- 4. Switch to a spatula at this point. Fold in the cake and all-purpose flours, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
- 5. Scoop dough into 75-gram chunky mounds and place on the prepared cookie sheet, preferably baking 5 cookies at a time.
- 6. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Let cookies rest for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. You can also eat them soft and warm around this time. The chocolate inside will be melty.