If you suspect I have a mild obsession/fascination with Levain Bakery cookies, you’re probably correct. I can’t explain it either because I had 2 Levain Bakery cookies (eaten over a 4-day period) more than 5 years ago and while I enjoyed them, I didn’t have this driving interest in recreating them back then like I do now. Truth be told, I can’t even remember what they tasted like, only that they were thick, chubby, hearty cookies that weren’t for the faint of heart.
Since my chocolate chip cookie recipe testing phase when I stumbled on the Levain Bakery copycat recipes, I’ve now been actively seeking out more copycat recipes. I don’t know that I’m really trying to get as genuinely close to a Levain Bakery cookie taste so much as a Levain Bakery behemoth-sized cookie that literally gives you a lot to chew on. Because, again, I can’t remember what they tasted like. It’s on my bucket list to refresh my memory next time I go to New York City but until then, copycat recipes will have to tide me over.
And this is a good one! I pulled out my bag of tricks and did the things that make me love how the cookies turned out: I used chocolate chunks from Trader Joe’s Pound Plus milk chocolate bar (don’t be stingy with the chocolate), I substituted 1/4 raw cane sugar for 1/4 of the granulated sugar to give the cookies a bit of sweet crunch, made the dough balls into big, thick discs, froze them, baked them just until the edges were golden brown and the middles were just barely not raw anymore (never fully bake cookies or they can be dry).
While all good chocolate chip cookies are delicious when they’re still lukewarm, the edges have crisped up, the middles are gooey and the chocolate chunks are still melty, I also liked these cookies because I ate one at room temperature and they were still good: chewy and moist with that caramelized brown sugar flavor. It may not be Levain Bakery exactly but it was an amazingly delicious cookie nonetheless and probably the best of the copycat recipes I've tried so far.
Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip CookiesAdapted from Smells Like Home
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt1 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into tablespoons3/4 cup + 4 teaspoons (6 ounces) dark brown sugar1/4 cup granulated sugar1/4 cup raw cane sugar or Turbinado sugar2 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract2 cups chocolate chunks, roughly chopped
1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes. Mix in the eggs and vanilla at medium-low speed until incorporated.
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Add chocolate chunks.
4. Portion the dough into golf-ball-size dough balls and flatten slightly into thick discs. Cover and chill or freeze for several hours or overnight.
5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly space frozen dough discs about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges are golden brown and middles are no longer raw. Do not overbake. Let rest on baking sheets for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
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