319 responses

  1. Diane
    May 1, 2006

    I’m kind of surprised the dark chocolate cookies don’t look more chocolatey, with all that cocoa powder. They do look scrumptious, though.

  2. Jodi
    May 17, 2006

    In all my years of frequenting Levain Bakery, I’ve never seen either of the two cookies you supply recipes for here!

    The dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookies are the darkest, most sumptuous, outrageously chocolate cookies I’ve ever had, and choc(k) full of the peanut butter chip-chunks.

    Permission to swoon, please.

  3. Jessica
    May 17, 2006

    Hi Jodi, I have a feeling that the Levain bakers formulated the recipes specifically for that magazine article. But you could probably substitute the nuts/coconut for peanut butter chips to make the chocolate peanut butter chip cookie.

  4. kersten
    June 7, 2006

    I ran across your site a few days ago.
    I want to thank you for the dark chocolate cookie recipe.
    It is amazing.

  5. skrockodile
    July 9, 2006

    Has anyone tried using this recipe at home? I am surprised that there’s not more baking powder / baking soda to given the height of the cookies — or that they are not baked in a ring mold. Am curious if this at home recipe yields the same bakery results . . .

  6. Jessica
    July 11, 2006

    Hi Shon, I’ve never tried this recipe, so I can’t vouch for it. But you’re right, 1 tsp baking soda for 4 1/2 cups flour doesn’t seem like a lot. I don’t think they’d need a mold if it’s a stiff batter. It looks like Kersten tried the recipe with some success.

  7. steve
    September 2, 2006

    hi
    i tried making the dark chocolate chip cookie and let me tell you this looked nothing like the levain cookie (and i am no stranger to their bakery). i then tried refridgerating the dough (and later freezing it) before baking to see if that would help hold its shape – but no such luck. am i just an awful baker or does this recipe yield nothing like the levain cookies i know? please let me know. and if anyone has any other recipes that approximate a real levain cookie – please let me know. ive been trying for years to get close and havent quite found one that gets close….
    thanks
    steve

  8. Jessica
    September 3, 2006

    Hi Steve, I haven’t tried the recipe, so I don’t know what’s going on. To reduce spread, you want to beat the butter as little as possible (beating=air bubbles=collapse). Also, most chocolate chip cookie recipes are baked in a 375F oven. The higher temp sets the batter faster. Also, do not grease the baking sheet; excess fat creates spread.

  9. Orang
    September 8, 2006

    Man am I an idiot. I read the reccipe and threw them together. Put them in the oven and scroll down the page to read these comments.

    ARgh.

    Well, wish me luck.

  10. Jessica
    September 8, 2006

    Hey Orang, how’d they turn out? I’m thinking about doing a trial run myself.

  11. steve
    September 25, 2006

    jessica,
    did you ever get around to making a trial run? i’m curious to know if anyone else has gotten close to the real thing with these recipes.

  12. marcy goldman
    October 13, 2006

    Hello, love your blog –
    I have a recipe that is big, bold, chewy, etc. for Chocolate Chip Cookies this month at my own site. Chocolate chip cookies launched by career (or vice versa) as a professional baker and cookbook author. Years later, I am still tweaking this amazing recipe. So drop by www.betterbaking.com, October 2006 Cookie Issue and you can read more about Marcy’s Legendary Chocolate Chip Cookies.
    My only frustration is….I wish I had some Plugra butter to make them with….
    Happy baking!
    Marcy Goldman

  13. Jessica
    November 10, 2006

    Marcy,
    Wow, thanks for stopping by. I’ve bookmarked some of your recipes (like the lawsuit muffins). Hopefully, I can get around to your legendary cookie recipe too!

    Steve,
    Nope, haven’t tried the recipe yet. When I do, I’ll post about it. It looks like everyone’s anxious to see if it really works!

  14. Jessica “Su Good Eats”
    July 1, 2007

    For anyone who’s interested, someone tried the recipe and said they’re very good! She’s never had the real Levain cookies though.

  15. Fran Freyman
    July 18, 2007

    Hi there,

    After stumbling across Levain Bakery last month and trying the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie, my husband and I declared it the best cookie ever consumed! So I tried the Dark Chocolate Chip cookie recipe here, which worked BEAUTFIFULLY and was FANTASTIC, but I’m still in search for the Chocolate Chip Walnute cookie recipe. Does anyone know where to find that one?

  16. Jessica “Su Good Eats”
    July 21, 2007

    Fran, thanks for reporting your results! One of these days, I’ll make them too. To make walnut chocolate chip cookies, try using the ginger-chocolate chip recipe above,omit the spices and add a cup of walnuts.

  17. ANNETTE
    February 11, 2008

    Does anyone have the Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe? I’m still trying to find it.

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
      February 12, 2008

      Annette, Did you check the comment above? Try making the ginger Valrhona cookies, but omit the spices.

  18. Tarah
    February 13, 2008

    I made these cookies today, and mine came out more chocolate than anything. They’re not light tan like your; They’re more like a chocolate cookie. But they were still amazing :]

  19. pink bowl baker
    February 13, 2008

    I LOVE your blog. I began a search looking for the perfect ‘big as your fist’ chocolate chip cookie. I stumbled here on happenstance, thank goodness! Disappointed that I didn’t find the Levain chocolate chip cookie which I had read so much about, I did decide that I had to at least try the Dark Chocolate Coconut recipe that you offered up. I drug my feet a bit because I didn’t have any truly wonderfully expensive cocoa powder. All I had was Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa and worried that it might not be good enough quality. Now I’ll ALWAYS use it because the cookies are perfect. I used the weights to measure the ingredients and followed the instruction closely with the exception of adding two teaspoons of vanilla with a teaspoon of instant coffee granules dissolved in it. This chocolate cookie recipe is the best invention since the Kitchen Aid stand mixer! The cookies are so good that I temporarily forgot that I still don’t have the best ever, big as a fist, buttery, chunky, not flat, chocolate chip cookie recipe. This, in a chocolate chip version is my hearts desire. How can we get our hands on that recipe?

  20. pink bowl baker
    February 13, 2008

    I too, have seen the above suggestion to make the Valrhona cookies and omit the spices but that leaves in question (for me at least) the molasses flavor, very little brown sugar, and the use of mostly white sugar. I may just go for it tomorrow anyway, with the thought in mind that the molasses could cover the flavor for the brown sugar, but what about texture? I guess someone has to be the first!

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
      February 13, 2008

      Pink bowl and Annette,
      To make regular chocolate chip cookies, you should leave the molasses in the Ginger Valrhona recipe. One cup of brown sugar is actually one cup of white sugar plus a couple tablespoons of molasses. If you follow the recipe and leave in the cup of white sugar and 1/3 cup of molasses, you’re basically making a rich brown sugar, which will make the cookie richer and more moist. In fact, I always make my own brown sugar on the fly because it’s cheaper, I don’t have to worry about it drying out, and I have a bunch of molasses for other recipes (like gingerbread).

      You guys are all brave for trying out the recipe before me. I’m still scared of a half-pound cookie. I can make dozens of little cookies, but one big cookie doesn’t have portion control built in.

  21. pink bowl baker
    February 13, 2008

    hehe… well, to be completely honest, I have a tiny nibble then pass it off to my guys, hubs and son, full grown and able to eat the whole thing! I wouldn’t be able to walk if I ate all of my own cooking! Thanks for the tips, tomorrow I will make this and report back! Today I tried, as I said, the Levain wonderful dark chocolate coconut, plus Alton Brown’s giant chocolate chip ‘chewy’ from his collection of three, flat, chewy, and puffy, AND the Cooks Illustrated version, very similar, but with, I think, better results than Alton’s. Alton’s are too greasy, the Cooks Illustrated version is much nicer, but with a great chewy center and butterscotchy flavored crisp yet light edge. I’m pretty much done for the day, and I think I have worn out the stomachs of my ‘testers’ too!

  22. ANNETTE
    February 14, 2008

    WOW, BROWN SUGAR… I never knew that about white sugar and molasses, guess I’ve been living under a “big cookie”. I’m gonna try the Ginger Valrhona cookies. If anyone tries them before me, let me know how they came out and any suggestions!!

  23. ANNETTE
    February 14, 2008

    WHOOPS, I forgot to say I’m going to try the Ginger Valrhona cookies minus the spices and adding chocolate chips…oh gosh, I’m going back under the “big cookie”.

  24. pink bowl baker
    February 14, 2008

    Okey Dokey then! I have found my ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe!! YES! Thanks Jessica, you were SO right! The Valrhona cookie recipe minus the spices worked PERFECTLY! The white sugar plus molasses did indeed give them an even deeper butterscotch flavor than all brown sugar ever could have. Yay! These were not flat cookies. Not as tall as the dark chocolate coconut recipe, but oh so good! I decided that the reason for the extra height of the chocolate cookies had more to do with the added texture of the coconut and nuts, so, after baking 1/2 of the chocoloate chip cookie dough, I tossed in a good handful each of large shaved unsweetened coconut flakes and walnuts to test. Sure enough, the Valrhona recipe converted to chocolate chip, with the addition of nuts and coconut, is a mile high cookie anyone would bragging about. If you are looking for mammoth chocolate chip cookie that is light, not dense and heavy, buttery, chewy, crisp on the very edges, soft in the center and cooked to the perfect doneness, try Jessica’s suggestion, it worked great. Thanks Jessica, you are my hero!

  25. pink bowl baker
    February 14, 2008

    Okey Dokey then! I have found my ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe!! YES! Thanks Jessica, you were SO right! The Valrhona cookie recipe minus the spices worked PERFECTLY! The white sugar plus molasses did indeed give them an even deeper butterscotch flavor than all brown sugar ever could have. Yay! These were not flat cookies. Not as tall as the dark chocolate coconut recipe, but oh so good! I decided that the reason for the extra height of the chocolate cookies had more to do with the added texture of the coconut and nuts, so, after baking 1/2 of the chocolate chip cookie dough, I tossed in a good handful each of large shaved unsweetened coconut flakes and walnuts to test. Sure enough, the Valrhona recipe converted to chocolate chip, with the addition of nuts and coconut, is a mile high cookie anyone would bragging about. If you are looking for mammoth chocolate chip cookie that is light, not dense and heavy, buttery, chewy, crisp on the very edges, soft in the center and cooked to the perfect doneness, try Jessica’s suggestion, it worked great. Thanks Jessica, you are my hero!

  26. Diana T
    February 18, 2008

    OMG. Can you say D LISH? I just finished making a batch of the Ginger Valrhona® Cookies without the spices. I have never personally had any Lavain Bakery, but I can’t imagine them being any better than the cookies I just made. They are perfect. I did use unbleached flour, but that was the only difference. I made them smaller.(portion control) I baked them for about 13 minutes @350
    My family doesn’t like nuts in their cookies, so I left them out. My daughter suggested putting cherries, or cranberries in them. Has anyone run across their oatmeal recipe?

    Diana

  27. ANNETTE
    February 19, 2008

    I’m not sure if I like the molasses taste that the cookies have. Did those of you who made the cookie have the molasses taste come through in them?

    They certainly we not flat, in fact when they came out of the oven I had to flatten them down a bit, they were almost as round as an orange. Maybe I did something wrong.

  28. pink bowl baker
    February 19, 2008

    No, I can’t say I noticed any molasses taste. Just a richer brown sugar butterscotch-y taste. I actually will try this molasses substitution for brown sugar in more recipes for the extra moistness it brought to the cookies. I am not sure what would have caused your cookies to come out nearly as round as oranges, I strive for ‘mile high’ cookies that use butter and aren’t made with vegetable shortening! While mine were not flat, they were not as round as you describe. All in all, I’d say this is by far the best recipe I have found that ‘fits’ ultimate my chocolate chip ideal.

  29. ANNETTE
    February 19, 2008

    I’m definately gonna try it again. Perhaps I was having an “off” day!! The molasses did give the cookie a kind of bitter(ish) taste. They didn’t taste sweet either. Ok, back to the drawing board to try this recipe again. (They did LOOK great!!)

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
      February 19, 2008

      Annette and Nanette,
      You didn’t use BLACKSTRAP or “robust” molasses, did you? It’s the most concentrated molasses, so it’s very medicinal (although it’s high in calcium, too). I use regular unsulphured molasses, which is lighter in color. If you only have blackstrap, you can cut it 50/50 with honey.

      I thought the recipe was missing vanilla, and then I saw Throwdown, where the bakers made it a point not to add any. It all makes sense now.

  30. Nanette
    February 19, 2008

    Annette

    I agree with you – I found the molasses flavor too much. My husband really liked them though. They had a show on the Food Network where Bobby Flay did a throwdown with Levain Bakery. It showed them mixing the cookies and they used white and brown sugar but no molasses. Of course they did not share measurements. They made a point of saying they did not use vanilla because they did not feel it added anything.

  31. pink bowl baker
    February 20, 2008

    Drat! I missed the airing again tonight! I wanted to see it again, and pay more attention this time! I did notice that on Foodnetwork website, that the in photo of Bobby’s cookies, they are pancakes. Definitely not what I am looking for!

  32. Sarah
    February 20, 2008

    Hi, I’m new to this blog, but very grateful for it since it provides a couple of Levain recipes! I just watched Throwdown and noticed that the ladies did not use any molasses in their recipe for the chocolate chip and I’m not quite sure I understood what Jessica had said about making my own brown sugar.. is there anyway to make the chocolate chip cookie without the molasses being used in the Ginger cookie? can I substitute with more brown sugar perhaps? Thoughts please! Thanks a ton and thank you for sharing the Levain recipes that you found with us!

  33. Lisa
    February 20, 2008

    I made the Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies, but substituted 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips and 2 cups of peanut butter chips for the coconut and walnuts and it was exactly like Levain’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies! However, 4 oz per cookie makes 12, not 6 like on Throwdown, and it should bake at either 375 for 12-15, or 350 for 18-20, depending on how ‘doughy’ you like the interior (on Throwdown they baked their cookies at 350 for 20, so I adjusted according to that). Now I need to tackle the Walnut Chocolate Chip, and will probably use, as you suggested, the Ginger Valrhona minus the spices and molasses, adjusting it for only brown and white sugars, like they showed on Throwdown. Thanks for posting those recipes!!

  34. pink bowl baker
    February 20, 2008

    I was really happy with the cookies I got, using the Ginger Valrhona® Cookies recipe, as Jessica suggested, using the molasses sugar mixed with white, and leaving out the spices. But, not happy to leave well enough alone, my next try is going to be using the amount of white sugar as called for in the Ginger cookie, and a cup and a half of brown sugar, eliminating the molasses completely. If that doesn’t work out quite right, then I will try using all brown sugar. I missed the part of the show when the sugar/sugars went into the mixer bowl, so I didnt get to see that they used all brown or a mixture of both, darn. I also made a note from the throw down show that the judge did say that the chocolate chip cookie was “very, very sweet”, which leads me to maybe it was all brown sugar? Also my quickly jotted notes say that they measured their cookie dough at 6 ounces of dough for each cookie and that it baked at 350 for “about 20 minutes”. What a girl wont do to get someone else’s prize winning recipe! They kept commenting that Bobby Flay’s recipe and method seemed complicated. That means that they do have a very basic method and recipe. But they’re not sharing!

  35. Sarah
    February 20, 2008

    Hi Pink Bowl, you’re right about the 350 degrees for 20 mins and I believe I saw them throw white and brown sugar into the mixing bowl. I assumed it was too sweet because of all the chocolate, but I guess for 4 1/2 cups of flour that amount of chocolate seems right. Please let me know how the cookies turn out when you eliminate the molasses! I think I have that Throwdown recorded if you wanted to know anything else that was on the show that night..

  36. riddleme
    February 20, 2008

    How funny. My wife and I are now obsessed to find the perfect recipe. We noticed how the one said “leavening” and let that just it hang in the air. What? No more details? Hey, maybe there is a secret to these mountains of a cookie. And Bobby’s cookies looked sad. Kinda like ours turn out…

  37. ANNETTE
    February 20, 2008

    I would love to know how they come out using more brown sugar and possibly eliminating molasses. When I made them, they weren’t very sweet at all. I’m pretty sure they used both white and brown sugars. Didn’t I hear them say that white sugar is what makes the cookie crispy, or was I having a cookie dream??
    I may try the 50/50 molasses and honey, to cut back on the molasses taste. GET BAKING LADIES!! I love reading all your comments.

  38. Claudia DiNapoli
    February 20, 2008

    I think I know the secret to the Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie.
    It’s the flour. Alton on Good Eats says that cake flour (rather than regular flour)
    produces a cake like thick chewy cookie.

    At least once a year Alton repeats the episode on cookies describing the three different cookie types…..The Thin (All Purpose Flour), The Puffy ( Cake Flour) and The Chewy (Bread Flour.

    The ratio of sugar is different for each one. You can find this episode at Food Network, Good Eats and then the title of the episode is “Three Chips for Sister Marsha”. I still believe that this epissode is the best information that Alton has every given to his fans.

    The leving agents are a little different but not enough to make such a great difference.

    I think the flour type to ratio of sugar is the answer to the question of the Levain Cookie.

  39. Lisa
    February 21, 2008

    I watched the Throwdown ep again (saved on my DVR), and you can plainly see there are equal amounts of brown and white sugar, so I definitely think it’s 1 cup of each. Also, without molasses, baking soda is not needed, so use baking powder instead. Recipes that use baking soda for leavening always have an acid somewhere, and molasses is acidic, although you’d never know it. Most chocolate chip cookies that use baking soda, turn out somewhat flat, so it’s probably not in their Choco-Chip Walnut recipe. In conclusion, I’d use only baking powder (1/2 to 1 tsp..double acting, of course..which I used for the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip), plus equal amounts of brown and white sugar. Then again, first I have to try it and see if it turns out like their Choco-Chip Walnut cookies!

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
      February 23, 2008

      Claudia,
      For your reference, here’s the transcript to Alton Brown’s chocolate chip cookie episode. Bread flour, not cake flour, makes chewy cookies. Personally, I’m not a fan of his chewy CCC. I thought the dough was tough and tasted too protein-y.

      Lisa,
      You’re right that you need baking soda when you have an acid. Brown sugar (which has molasses in it) is acidic, as is chocolate. The classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe only has baking soda, so I wouldn’t have thought to use baking powder. But if it works for you…

      Jennifer and Sophie,
      I know the recipe says to cream butter and sugar until fluffy, but that’s not how I make my cookies. I use room temperature butter and beat only until combined. Whenever you cream butter and sugar, you create air. When the dough bakes, it will deflate and spread.

      Pink Bowl Baker,
      I added a plugin so you can edit your comments now.

  40. Lisa
    February 21, 2008

    Oops..I almost forgot. To Claudia, who mentioned cake flour as their possible secret to big, puffy cookies, I used AP flour plus 1 tsp of baking powder, along with the salt, for the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip cookie, and they were huge, puffy, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside (I baked them a little longer because I don’t like the somewhat raw dough middle), just like the ones they sell. I’ll post a link to a photo of one I made, when I upload it.

  41. Sofie
    February 21, 2008

    I tried the recipe with 1 cup walnut halves added, 1 cup brown, 1 cup white sugar, no molasses, 1 tsp baking powder. It definitely was a thick cookie, it didn’t flatten much. I also used cold cubed butter like it looked like they did on Throwdown, I don’t know if that made any difference in the flattening factor? Thanks so much for the recipes, these were delicious, my daughter said they were the best she’s ever had. Think I’ll try with Valrhona® and some special butter next time, I just used what I had on hand.

  42. Karla
    February 21, 2008

    Sofie, you said you used 1 tsp baking powder, did you replace the 1 tsp baking soda with that, or did you use both? I’d like to try your version since it seems to make sense. Thanks.

  43. pink bowl baker
    February 21, 2008

    Yay Sophie!!! I have been really holding myself back on tring again. I’m afraid that with all that I baked for Valentines day, that my freezer is stuffed with the dark chocolate coconut Walnut recipe (delish as is), and of course my attempt to convert the Verhona recipe into chocolate chip but keeping the molasses in, AND for comparisons sake, I had try Alton Browns ‘chewy’ style (the worst of my test cookies) and ended it all with Cook’s Illustrated version of ‘the perfect’ chocolate chip cookie. Better than Alton’s but not as good as my first stab with converted Levain recipe. I stuffed gigantic cookies in every pocket that came to my house on Valentines day, but we’re still bursting at the seams with cookies. I’m hoping to have them cleared out by next week. Altons’s and Cook’s will just go in the trash… they are NOT worth wasting your ingredients.

  44. Jennifer
    February 21, 2008

    Help! Did I do something wrong? I followed Sofie’s suggestions of using cold butter and equal amounts of white and brown sugar. The only thing I did differently was cut the recipe in half, since it was my first time trying these. By the time I had added 2 c. flour, my mixture was crumbly (like the consistency of pie crust before adding the water). I stopped, formed some balls, and baked them. They were just OK; they didn’t change the shape I’d molded them into. With the remaining batter (if you can call it that), I added an additional egg white; this produced more of a cookie dough batter, and I baked the remaining cookies, which turned out pretty well.

  45. Lisa
    February 22, 2008

    Jennifer,

    Did you cream the butter with both sugars until it was completely combined and fluffy? Chunks of butter left in the dough could be the reason the dough was crumbly and like a pie dough.

  46. ANNETTE
    February 22, 2008

    Jennifer, that’s exactly how mine turned out with the recipe USING MOLASSES (minus spices). Not only did the cookies have a kind of bitter molasses taste, but the dough was also crumbly. It took me a while to form them into balls, and then that’s how they baked. When I took them out of the oven I presses each one down slightly. They did have a pie-crust dry taste and form. WIERD

  47. pink bowl baker
    February 22, 2008

    Hmm, I have not tried the modified recipe using all sugar and no molasses yet. I have to say, when I used molasses, the cookies were anything but crumbly and my dough was creamy and looked just like any other chocolate chip cookie dough. I did not use cold butter, in fact, I softened mine up on the counter to room temp, then creamed it really well, as the infamous ‘cookie episode’ mentioned. The weren’t little mountains at all. The only thing I didn’t do that they did… was make them as huge. I used a standard 1/4 cup sized ice cream scoop, heaped it up, and and used my kitchen scale, weighing them in at 4 ounces each. I used three cups of jumbo sized chocolate chips, we like Ghiradelli 60%, nothing gourmet. I baked them for 14 minutes. They were still quite large. Eliminating the molasses (wet) and replacing it with sugar (dry) has been a worry for me, (I have taken to worrying over a cookie recipe folks, yes, I have!) it only makes sense that you’re going to change the texture of the dough and final end product. Personally, we loved the cookies with Molasses(the Ginger Valrhona’s, reconstructed into chocolate chip). My only reason for wanting to change the recipe is that I can’t stand that they never released their chocolate chip recipe, and its an innate stubborn part of my personality to take that as personal challenge!

  48. pink bowl baker
    February 22, 2008

    Hmm, I have not tried the modified recipe using all sugar and no molasses yet. I have to say, when I used the molasses and white sugar combination, with the small amount of brown sugar too, the cookies were anything but crumbly, and my dough was creamy and looked just like any other chocolate chip cookie dough. I did not use cold butter, though, and in fact, softened mine on the counter top room temp, then creamed it really well, as the infamous ‘cookie episode’ mentioned. I also always warm my eggs to room temp when I bake. My results weren’t little dry mountains at all. They were fairly puffy, but not tall. When I took a small portion of the chocolate chip only dough and added a handful of walnut halves and a big handful of unsweetened large coconut flakes, they were taller only because of the added volume. Both were a huge hit here. The only thing I didn’t do that they did… was make them as huge. I used a standard 1/4 cup sized ice cream scoop, heaped it up, and and used my kitchen scale, weighing them in at 4 ounces each. I used three cups of jumbo sized chocolate chips, we like Ghiradelli 60%, nothing gourmet. I baked them for 14 minutes. They were still quite large. Eliminating the molasses (wet) and replacing it with sugar (dry) has been a worry for me, (I have taken to worrying over a cookie recipe folks, yes, I have!) it only makes sense that you’re going to change the texture of the dough and final end product. Personally, we loved the cookies with Molasses(the Ginger Valrhona’s, reconstructed into chocolate chip). My only reason for wanting to change the recipe is that I can’t stand that they never released their chocolate chip recipe, and its an innate stubborn part of my personality to take that as personal challenge!

  49. pink bowl baker
    February 22, 2008

    Sorry, I dont know why I keep getting double postings. I am new to this blog thing and must be doing something wrong. Guess you can’t hit the ‘stop’ button and make corrections, it just adds both. I wish there an edit button that I could use to ‘fix’ my mistakes or add on later once its up and I see an error or left out a word (I notoriously do that.) In any case, I am sorry for the double posts!

  50. Jennifer
    February 22, 2008

    Thanks for the suggestions. I did completely cream the butter into the sugar until there were no little bits. The cookies tasted alright yesterday, now today they are dry and floury-tasting. Sigh. Maybe I’ll try again with molasses, though as mentioned, we know that’s not how the Levain bakery makes them… Maybe I’ll just have to come up with my own award-winning recipe – ha!

  51. Lisa
    February 22, 2008

    I truly believe 4 1/2 cups of flour is too much for the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie. For the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip cookies, which I made using the Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookie recipe (subbing 2 cups of peanut butter chips for the coconut and walnuts), there was only 2 1/2 cups of flour, plus 1/2 cup of cocoa, equaling 3 cups of dry, which was perfect, and yielded me cookies just like Levain’s. That said, the butter and egg amounts are the same, so I think the molasses in the Ginger cookie is why there’s more flour. To sum it up, I’m going to use the ‘base’ recipe (again) for the Dark Chocolate Cookie, but reformulate it this way..Ingredients

    8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
    Pinch of Kosher salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    6 1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup, although I might add a little more)
    3 ounces (1 cup) large walnut pieces

    If anyone tries this before I get to it, please post the results :)

  52. pink bowl baker
    February 22, 2008

    I agree it sounds like a huge amount of flour. But when I made the ginger verhona cookie using the molasses it worked perfectly. The idea was the some testers didnt care much for the molasses flavor that came though. If you are taking away all that liquid from the molasses and adding more dry ingredients, you just can’t get a good cookie dough. We personally liked the cookies just fine using the ginger recipe, with molasses, but omitting the spices. It made a wonderful chocolate chip cookie in this families opinion! Its true that I simply can’t leave well enough alone though, and will sometime next week be trying it again, Lisa’s way. It only makes sense to me that if you are going cut back so drastically on the wet, that you to remove some of the flour. I believe, Lisa, that you are absolutely right. I’d run right out to the kitchen right the second but we are getting ready to take off the weekend. I don’t think I’ll have time until at least Wed. or Thursday. I love a great challenge! and I am determined that this will post only once!

  53. MamaMac
    February 22, 2008

    My father is diabetic and always trying to “cheat”. He loves chocolate chip cookies and will resort to making them himself when my mother out of concern for his health refuses to make them. For that reason I have been trying for the last few years to formulate a cookies that would be reasonable for his picky taste buds and though I can’t say better for him, I can more reasonable for his case. After I saw this recipe I knew I had to “try it and tweak it” for my dad. The results were to say the least…..SUPREME!!!!
    I used the Valrhona base recipe minus the spices of course, and tweaked it a little to reduce the refined sugars and carbohydrates…a no no for dear dad. Here is the break down of my recipe.

    8oz. unsalted butter
    6oz (2/3c granulated DATE sugar)
    (I just ground up some old dehydrated dates that I had in my pantry into the texture of sand with my food processor) NOTE: you can buy date sugar in health food stores also.
    1/4cup minus 1/2 TBSP Splenda Brand Brown Sugar for Baking.
    Ener-G egg substitute enough for 2 eggs (follow instructions on box)
    4oz (1/3c. unsulphured) molasses
    3 1/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour
    1 1/4 c. almond meal (sometimes called almond flour)
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    12 oz Semi Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate Chunked
    1c. Toasted Pecan Halves
    1/2 coarsely chopped and toasted almonds

    I baked them for 20 minutes at 350F. My neighbor came over to ask me what smelled so delicious. The cookies were very good warm. But it was the next day when the richness of the dates and nuts had time to mingle that the flavor EXPLODED into goey, chunky, crunchy, chewy goodness. Not low fat by any means…but a cookie that has added nutrition, fewer carbs, and the textures to satisfy any critic. A treat I can feel good about giving to my father from time to time.

    I think I will try also to replace some of the all purpose flour with 25% soy flour next time along with the almond meal to see how it turns out. It could also make a wonderful vegan recipe if the butter was substituted with soy margarine. I think it would work very well for any of you have vegan friends out there.

  54. Elaine
    February 22, 2008

    I discovered your blog while searching for the Levain chocolate chip recipe!! I am excited to read all your comments.. I am just back from the grocery store and have purchased everything I needed to make both types of cookies.. trying to decided which choc. chip recipe to try.. I also want to make the Dark Chocolate coconut ones.. oh. decisions, decisions.. I am interested to see all your results..

  55. Lisa
    February 23, 2008

    Jessica, Oopsies, you’re right, Brown sugar IS molasses added to white sugar. Talk about brain freeze here..not to mention I’ve made it myself when out of brown sugar (knocking self on head..lol). That said, I would probably add 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda, to my ‘reformulated’ recipe..or 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda. Definitely something I’ll need to fiddle with. If I didn’t have a cold/flu, I’d have done it already! Just too stuffy and tired! Thanks for the correction, Jessica. :)

  56. Lisa
    February 23, 2008

    pink bowl baker,

    See my gaff above, that Jessica corrected. It does need a little baking soda, but definitely needs baking powder along with it, or else you probably won’t get the ‘Levain’ big, puffy mountain of a cookie, as most choco-chip cookies I’ve tried that use ‘just’ baking soda, never achieve that height.

  57. Lisa
    February 23, 2008

    OK, all..I think this is their recipe, or at least very close to it. I could not tell the difference in taste or looks when compared to the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies I’ve had Levain. I felt a little better last night, so I decided to give it a shot. I took some photos of the finished cookies, which I’ll upload when I get to my BF’s, as my scanner is busted.

    8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups AP flour
    3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 to 1/2 tsp baking soda
    12 ounces (2 cups) good quality semisweet chocolate chips (I used half semisweet and half milk chocolate)
    1 cup walnuts (I used macadamia since I was out of walnuts)

    Here’s the things with the flour..I went by feel of the dough. If you can work with it with your hands, and it doesn’t stick, or sticks very little, that’s what you want (you can see the consistency of the dough on Throwdown, and they were able to use their hands to portion it out, without making a mess). It will still be moist enough (sort of like tubed cookie dough when it’s cool). You really have to test it with your fingers to know, as you add flour. A little over 3 1/4 cups is all I needed.

    Also, to get 12 cookies out of this recipe, a little over 4 oz per cookie dough, will give you that…6 oz won’t. Remember, they’re working with huge batches, so the measurements are different. Obviously this is very scaled down. As for baking them, I baked the first batch at 350 for about 23 minutes, as I don’t like the inside too raw, but if you like Levain’s stick to 16-20 minutes, depending on your preference.

    The second batch I baked at 375 for 18, and they puffed up even more than the first batch. Also of note, if you like them really sweet, use 1 cup of each sugar, but going on what Malgieri said, and my experience with them, I cut the sugars down to 3/4 cup each. In any event..PLEASE try this recipe..as I truly think we’ve got it.

  58. Elaine
    February 23, 2008

    I am trying it now.. will post how it turns out.. I have another question though.

    On the dark chocolate cookies.. the measurements say 1/2 cup cocoa powder, but also 2 ounces.. which is only 1/4 cup..how much do you use?
    Thanks.. loving this blog..

    Elaine..

  59. Lisa
    February 23, 2008

    Elaine,

    I used 1/2 cup of cocoa, and they turned out perfect. I’m assuming they were going by the dip and sweep method instead of the scoop and level method maybe?

    Good Luck with the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie recipe! I hope it turns out as well for you as itr did for me :)

  60. ANNETTE
    February 23, 2008

    HOLY COW…who’s on first?? I love this blog, it’s so much fun. OK, I’m going to bake using Lisa’s recipe now. I’ll get back to you all.

  61. Elaine
    February 23, 2008

    OK.. I made them!! the chocolate chip ones are divine.. the dark chocolate are in the oven now.. I do think you need to let them cool before digging in!! My teen age son ate one while it was still pretty warm and after he had finished the WHOLE thing, but only after, he said, “Mom I think they need to bake a little longer” but they were good!! they have been done for about 25 minutes and I broke one open and it is just perfect inside.. the ONLY change I would make, and this is just personal preference.. is that next time I will add some vanilla.. I think it will just give them a little oomph!
    I have to admit when I first took them out and they looked so beautiful, I was hoping that they would not fall.. and they didn’t.. I love to cook, and bake but my blog isn’t about that.. BUT I am going to post a pic of these beauties on there along with a link to your blog..
    If anyone is interested.. I make an amazing oatmeal cookie with chocolate covered raisins..and the recipe isn’t secret!! Thanks again for this wonderful blog!!

  62. Elaine
    February 23, 2008

    Here is my recipe for the oatmeal cookies.. they are pretty darn good

    1 cup shortening (I use crisco sticks)
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    3 cups quick oats (Yep, quick oats!)
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    2 cups chocolate covered raisins

    Cream shortning and sugars.. add eggs and vanilla. add dry ingedients, add oats. stir in raisins and nuts.. drop by spoonful onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.. these are so crispy and good.. Enjoy

  63. Lisa
    February 23, 2008

    OK..I uploaded my photos of both the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip and Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie to Flickr. They’re kind of out of order, but keep clicking on the small photos to the right of the main one, and you should see them all. There may be a bread or two mixed in, but ignore those..LOL

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lismi171/2286713200/

    BTW, Elaine, those Oatmeal cookies sound scrumptious. I just copied and pasted it into my recipe file. I’ll be trying those next! However, I just may sub butter for all or half the shortening. I worship Butter..LOL

  64. Julia Parrino
    February 23, 2008

    I lovew this blog!! I’ve tried 9 different ccc recipes in the past 2 weeks trying to duplicate a cookie my daughter bought from a girl at her work, with no luck. It’s great knowing there are other compulsive bakers out there like myself!! And now I’ll be trying the recipe someone just printed here. Wish me luck.

  65. Joi
    February 23, 2008

    WOW, I just watched (DVR) the Levain Bakery Throwdown, and got online to find the recipe. I wrote the ingredients down while watching, but wanted a bit more info! I can’t believe my luck to find this great site. My husband just left for supplies, and I can’t wait to bake these. If they turn out as I hope, I will post photos on Flickr, and post here how they turn out!
    Thanks to everyone on this site!

  66. Rose
    February 23, 2008

    Dear Lisa, I just happened upon this site, after watching the “Throw Down”. I’m very interested in making your recipe for the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies, loved your pictures by the way, the cookies were beautiful and the bread looked great too! Anyway, the Chocolate Coconut Cookie recipe calls for 6-1/2 ounces of semi-sweet chips. When I read your substitutions, you said you used 1 cup semi-sweet, then 2 cups peanut butter chips … instead of the coconut/walnuts. Was the 1 cup of semi-sweet in addition to the amount in the recipe, or did your substitutions cover all the chips you used? Sorry if this is a confusing question, but I would really like to have cookies that looked like yours. Thanks for helping me.

  67. Elaine
    February 23, 2008

    Lisa,
    I too love butter, but believe me, these cookies just aren’t the same with butter. They aren’t as crispy and light.. but try and let me know how they work for you. Lisa, do you have a blog.. I just looked at your photos.. mine are on my blog.. I would love the ciabbata recipe..

  68. Molly
    February 23, 2008

    This is just fantastic….a group dedicated to figuring out the winning recipe on throwdown! I am always interested in the other recipe…not Bobby’s. I am going to try these cookies tomorrow. Has anyone made them without the nuts? I will report back tomorrow. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  69. ANNETTE
    February 23, 2008

    I loved Lisa’s recipe for CC cookies. I did add vanilla half way through the baking, I think they really need the extra little flavoring. I only used 3 cups of flour and that was certainly enough. The last batch I made I added oatmeal to, and they also tasted wonderful.

    And by the way, flipping through the channels this afternoon I happened upon the Throwdown show with the CC cookies on it!! What a coincidence!!

  70. Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
    February 23, 2008

    Lisa, awesome! Your pics fooled me.

    Elaine, I agree with Lisa about the shortening. I cringe at the thought of it. I have to go with butter here.

    All, if you want another monster cookie, you have to try Jacques Torres’ mudslide cookies. I bought one from his store today and boy, they’re worth making at home. The outside is crisp without being dry, and the inside is soft.

  71. Meg
    February 23, 2008

    I used Lisa’s recipe. These were the prettiest chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made–best tasting, too. I only used 3 cups of flour. I found that they became somewhat dry after sitting out for only about 20 minutes. Maybe add another egg? I’m not sure what they need. But, overall, a really great cookie!

  72. Stacy
    February 23, 2008

    I have been in bed with a flu-ish kid all day. We watched the throwdown this afternoon and she was obsessed! I had to make these cookies for the child that has not eaten a thing in 3 days. I, a novice baker, followed Lisa’s recipe but used 1 package of the chocolate & peanut butter swirl chips and no nuts. They turned out beautiful! As for the taste…I am post-flu and still cannot taste but the boyfriend says they a “freakin’ awesome!” Thanks so much for the posts!

  73. Lisa
    February 24, 2008

    Rose, I used exactly three cups chips total. 1 cup semisweet, plus 2 cups peanut butter chips, and eliminated the walnuts and coconut. Everything else in the recipe is the same other than that change.

    Elaine, I don’t currently have a blog, but I may start one up in the near future. As for the Ciabatta recipe, where can I send it to you? Though your blog? *Which I’m going to check out after typing this* That said, I’m going to try your Oatmeal cookies both ways. The only reason I’m trying it with butter too.. is because..well, I just can’t fathom the thought of a cookie without butter. However, I’ll let you know how both batches turn out. :)

    Finally, Thank you, Jessica! As for those Mudslide cookies..WOW. That’s almost a flourless chocolate cookie. I can’t even imagine how amazing it is. When it comes to worshiping, you can also add Jacques Torres to that list. The man is a chocolate-pastry demigod!

  74. Lisa
    February 24, 2008

    Rose, I forgot to mention, I also changed the baking powder amount to 3/4 to 1 tsp (I didn’t fill up the tsp fully). Please note that when trying the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie recipe. :)

  75. Rose
    February 24, 2008

    Dear Lisa: Thank you for the information. Loved all of your pictures. You are very talented. Thanks again.

  76. Lisa
    February 24, 2008

    Thank you so much for the compliment, Rose, and you’re very welcome.

    Having said that, I changed the url for my Levain copycat cookie photos, so they can be viewed in order.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lismi171/2286713286/in/set-72157603902362867/

    I added another interior photo of the Chocolate Chip Walnut, since it had more of a ‘Levain’ doughy center.

  77. Sharon
    February 24, 2008

    WOW Lisa thanks for sharing!! I am getting ready to prepare your CC cookies recipe but wanted to know if the butter in your recipe was COLD or room-temperature???

    Glad you are feeling better. Thanks again!

  78. Joi
    February 24, 2008

    Ok, I made the Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (I’m allergic to walnuts), and they turned out fabulous! They were a huge hit at a dinner party! I used 3-1/2 cups flour and baked for about 25 mins and they were still chewy inside (I’m high altitude). Now, I have a question for the Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies (my personal fave!) – since I haven’t seen a photo of what they should look like, I am wondering if I need to tweak the baking powder, as mine did not really fill out to the same shape as the cc ones? Any thoughts? The flavor was amazing, and they were actually preferred to the cc ones, as everyone thought the cc ones were a bit too sweet (I may reduce the amt of choco chips to 1/3 next time)

    Now for my next question – talking about Jacques Torres being a chocolate pastry demi-god – has anyone ever had the supreme pleasure of laying eyes on Johnny Iuzzini?? He’s amazing, not to mention, incredibly hot! He was on Paula’s Party 2 weeks in a row with great chocolate recipes! He can be found here: http://www.johnnyiuzzini.com/

    Here’s my Flickr link to the cookies: http://www.flickr.com/photos/straatens/2288219347/in/set-72157603974487250/

  79. Elaine
    February 24, 2008

    Lisa,
    Feel badly using this blog to communicate!! my email is [email protected]
    Thanks, want to try that bread!!
    I presume you have tried the famous “No Knead Bread” If not there is a link to it on my blog. it has to be the very best bread.. and so easy..

    let me know what you think of the cookies with the butter in them.. but do give them a try with the crisco.. you will be amazed. I think it is the only cookie I make with shortening.. you can even use the butter flavored one..

  80. Bob
    February 24, 2008

    Lisa,

    Today I followed your receipe for the Levain CCC’s that you posted on 02-23 at 9:07. WOW! They were incrEDIBLE! My wife describes them as a meal onto themselves. Kudos for the trial-and-errors in getting this receipe.

    Since I’m not anywhere near your caliber of bakery mastery (smile), I do have a question: Within a few minutes of finishing a cookie, my wife and I noticed a “chalky” after-taste. I used 3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp of baking soda.

    Suggestions for reducing the “chalky” taste? Unnecessary baking soda? Too much baking powder?

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for this receipe and your help :)

  81. Nina
    February 24, 2008

    Everyone talks about their blogs but I don’t know how to get to them to see the recipes you are talking about.

  82. Lisa
    February 24, 2008

    Sharon,
    You’re very welcome! Regarding the butter, I always start with cold, and cream it that way with the sugars until it’s light and fluffy. I feel this helps the cookie hold it’s structure, as room temp or warm butter sometimes results in some or a lot of spreading while baking.

    Bob,
    Thanks so much for the cookie compliments! I’m glad you loved the cookies. As for the chalky after taste, it probably is the baking powder. I would suggest using less, like 1/2 tsp. I didn’t fill the teaspoon fully myself, so in a sense, I was simply estimating and going by trial and error. Even though baking is an exact science, when you’re trying to figure out someone else’s recipe, you need to play around until you get the results you want. BTW, did you use double acting baking powder? I’m assuming so since that’s mostly what’s available.

    That said, Jessica, if you’re around, do you think it’s the baking powder that’s causing the chalky after taste? My cookies had no chalky after taste at all, and I probably used about 3/4 tsp of baking powder.

    Elaine, I sent you an email with the recipe, and just got your reply, which I’ll respond to when I get home from dinner out :)

  83. Lisa
    February 24, 2008

    Oops..forgot to add something in response to Meg’s post.. (Is there an edit option here? Some of my posts are laden with typos!)..

    Meg,
    It’s the same thing with Levain’s cookies. They’re best fresh out of the oven, but have a tendency to dry out a little when sitting out. Just store them in an airtight container, and they’ll remain moist.

  84. Meg
    February 25, 2008

    Lisa,
    I stored the cookies with slices of bread last night. (Does anyone else do that to keep cookies moist?) This morning they not at all dry. Thanks for the recipe! Definitely the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made!

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
      February 25, 2008

      Meg, I revive cookies with bread, too! It must be commercial bread with all those chemicals. :-)

      Lisa, you can edit/delete your own posts, as long as you’re at the same computer where you first posted. Too much baking powder makes things taste like lye, but not necessarily chalky in my experience.

      Elaine and Lisa, I too have made the no-knead bread. It’s my go-to recipe because I can be so lazy with it! I’ve made no-knead 100% whole wheat and chocolate variations.

      Joi, wow your cookies look great! Johnny Iuzzini is very talented. I saw him do a dessert demo, and he’s so fast. It’s like he’s on a permanent sugar buzz. His desserts aren’t my style, but I posted pictures and recipes if you’re interested.

  85. Lisa
    February 25, 2008

    Meg,

    I’ve never had any cookies dry out within 20 minutes after baking and eating some, when left out, including the recent Levain copycats. Usually, leaving them out several hours to overnight would/could do that, so I’m a little perplexed as to why yours dried out in only 20 minutes. Even if the outside of it dries out, the interior still remains moist. I always put them in an airtight container once they’ve cooled and we’ve eaten our share for the day/night.

    Regardless, I’m so glad the old bread slice trick made your cookies chewy and moist again. :)

  86. Bob
    February 25, 2008

    Lisa,

    Thank-you for the reply. Yes, I used double-acting baking powder. Like you mentioned, this is the most common type. Is there another “type” that I should try to find?

    On a side note, I didn’t experience any drying effect. To “rejuvenate” the cookie back to the freshly-baked-out-of-the-even, I microwaved mine for 15 seconds. Of course this could probably risk the cookie drying out, but it didn’t. The cookie was moist, warm, and gooey all over again (yum!).

  87. Sharon
    February 25, 2008

    Lisa,

    Thanks for the helpful information, I will use cold butter and adjust the baking powder down to 3/4t!

    I am really looking forward to baking these CC cookies as my treat for surviving a 5 day detox!!! =)

    Yum!

  88. Phyllis
    February 26, 2008

    Lisa,

    I made the chocolate chip walnut cookies today.
    I made a few mistakes…
    and I did a few things right.
    Biggest mistake—I did not use parchment paper, because I never use it, and things normally turn out very well for me. But, next time, I will use it, because my cookies burnt a tiny bit on the bottom. A tiny, tiny bit.
    I used 3 cups of unbleached flour, and next time I might cut back a little bit. The dough was easy to handle, but I dont think I needed quite that much flour.
    I truly believe that 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven is too long. Especially since we are using butter, which we all know burns more easily than, say, shortening would. I am keeping the butter in my recipe. But I plan to bake them for a shorter time. Even my second batch, 325 for 16 minutes was too brown on the bottom for my liking. Therefore, I think I will have to buy the parchment paper. No getting around it. I did not use the walnuts. Nor any nuts. I only used 2 cups of chocolate chips because I don’t care for more than that in my cookies. But when I get my basic recipe down, I will up this amount for my friends who are chocoholics. In conclusion, my cookies were very very good, but not gushy in the center…I kept them in the oven too long, and it was too hot…so be careful, especially if you are using unbleached flour. I intend to keep using the unbleached flour, because it has more nutrition. But I will have to bear this in mind, that it may require me to bake my cookies a little more briefly=fewer minutes, shorter time….or lower temp, which I think 325 is too low, however we do bake cakes at that temp….but we want our cookies to rise fast and stay risen, which reminds me….Lisa, I believe that baking powder is the main secret here….you are right, in my opinion. I used one third t. of baking soda and one teaspoon of baking powder. The soda gives the cookies a jump start rising….and the baking powder insures a nice tall cookie that will not fall down later. Think of the baking powder as insurance. It is a very miraculous ingredient, and in my opinion it has everything to do with the cookie being right. Above all else, try the baking powder. I believe it to be THE SECRET.

  89. Lisa
    February 26, 2008

    Bob,

    Since Jessica mentioned that baking powder wouldn’t cause a chalky after taste, we can probably eliminate that as a reason. Now we have to go through some of the ingredients, as in..what kind and/or btand of flour did you use and how much? What brand of chocolate chips/chunks? Walnuts..had you recently purchased them, or had you had them a while? Where did you store them, and were they already opened? Maybe you could try toasting the walnuts prior to adding them to the cookies? Maybe you could increase/decrease the baking soda by itself or along with the baking powder, to find that perfect formula for your cookies? There’s so many facets that could play a role here, but that’s part the fun of baking — trying to figure out what went wrong and remedying it through the process of elimination and/or change.

    Sharon,
    I really hope your cookies turn out great! So (in jest), was this 5 day detox a ‘sugar’ detox by any chance? I need several of those a month..LOL

    Joi,
    My Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter chip cookies turned out just like the CC Walnut cookies in size and height. This is another case of..ok, what went wrong and how can we remedy it? See my reply to Bob above. Regardless, your cookies still look ‘Levain’ fantastic!

    Also, I have to agree that Johnny Iuzzini is a cutie and extremely talented, BUT, I also have to agree with Jessica that his desserts aren’t my style either. I’ve eaten at Jean-Georges, and although his desserts are extremely well put together, beaitiful, and an amalgamation of amazing contrasting flavors and textures on the palate, I see and taste/eat them as an ‘experience, not as a way to completely satisfy my sporadic sweet tooth (Hey, I play around with unique desserts a lot, using flavors one would never associate with a dessert – eg: beets, black/red/white/pink pepper, even black olives! etc..) Case in point, we had to pick up a couple of Snickers bars on the way home on those nights..lol

  90. Lisa
    February 26, 2008

    OK..i see I made more of my signature typos again, but I can’t find the edit option, even though I’ve logged in from the same computer just about every time I’ve posted here. Do I need glasses, or am I just missing something? LOL

  91. Joi
    February 26, 2008

    Jessica and Lisa,
    Thanks, the cookies did look beautiful, and we’re still eating them 3 days later, and not dryness – I’ve stored mine in a glass cake dome? I’m going to try again on the Dark Chocolate ones and tweak the bpowder. I’m also going to attempt an oatmeal cc, as that is my very fave cookie!

    I am envious Lisa and Jessica that you’ve actually tasted Johnny’s desserts! While I will agree that he is definitely outside the ‘dessert box’, I would probably LOVE his stuff as I’m not really into ‘sweet/rich’ desserts, but more, salty/bitter tastes! I could probably eat a 85% dark chocolate bar rolled in kosher salt! BUT, what he made on Paula’s Party was a Devil’s food cake round in a ramekin with chocolate(salted) pudding on top, and then took organic rose petals, brushed them with egg whites, dipped in superfine sugar, and dried in a dead oven – then crumbled the ‘rose petal chips’ over the top of pudding/cake mixture! I can’t wait to try the rose trick! I think I just like watching him because he’s so passionate (and a little cheeky) when he works!

  92. Lisa
    February 26, 2008

    Joi,

    So glad they came out great and you’re still enjoying them.

    As for Johnny’s desserts, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like ultra sweet (unless I’m PMSing lol), and I do like going off the beaten path when it comes to desserts (I almost want to add Fleur de sel to the top of anything chocolate), but I felt his stuff was more of an adventure in tasting than a dessert for me. Don’t get me wrong, they tasted good or ‘interesting’, but when you’re craving an ‘elaborate’ basic dessert at an upscale restaurant, this definitely is elaborate, but isn’t basic!

    Finally, I think it’s cute how he flirts with Paula. Dang, he looks deep into her eyes and whispers sweet nothings, then smacks her right on the lips. You could actually see her blush! lol

  93. Joi
    February 26, 2008

    One of my goals for 2008 is to get to NYC to enjoy one of his desserts! Although, I’m not a fan of French food, which I’m guessing Jean-Georges is?? I want to have the ‘Johnny Iuzzini experience’ at least once!

    Yes, I love how he flirts with her too! Hell, I’M blushing just watching him!

    I think my next cookie adventure (after oatmeal cc) will be granola! There is a restaurant here in SLC that sells huge granola cookies that are sooo good!

  94. Bob
    February 26, 2008

    Lisa,

    To answer your questions in the order presented:

    Flour: 4 cups of AP Meijer brand (perhaps a more ‘reputable’ brand?)

    Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips: 1 C Semi-sweet morsels and 1 C milk-chocolate

    Walnuts: 1 month old already opened package stored in our pantry

    I’m thinking about reducing the flour because the dough tasted very “floury.” I know you mentioned that the dough should not be sticky, and it definitely wasn’t sticky; so I don’t think reducing it to 2 ¾ C will hurt.

    I used ¼ tsp of baking soda, so reduce it to 1/8 tsp(?) What is the purpose of the baking soda?

    I’m leaning more toward just reducing the flour and then seeing what happens. If it’s still “chalky” I’ll tinker with the baking soda.

    Thanks for helping :)

  95. Lisa
    February 26, 2008

    Bob..the 4 cups of flour might be it. If you noticed one of my comments up above, I mentioned that when converting the Ginger Valrhona recipe to the CC Walnut, you had to reduce the flour, as one of the ingredients you’re eliminating is the molasses (wet). For me, as my recipe shows, 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups was about as far as I would go…even taking it down to 3 cups if the dough felt right (The Levain dough is not super sticky — you can work with it and portion it with your hands, but it still feels like cookie dough (my analogy was how cookie dough from a tube feels when it’s cold).

    Try using less flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp baking soda, and let me know if that chalky taste disappears. If not, we’ll just keep chipping away until we fix it. :)

    OH, BTW..store your walnuts (or any nut for that matter) in a tightly sealed container or zip lock bag in the freezer or refrigerator (they’ll last longer in the freezer), as nuts go rancid very quickly at room temp.

  96. ANNETTE
    February 26, 2008

    You definately have to reduce the flour in the cc cookie recipe. I used 3 cups and that was perfect. NOW…I laugh when I think that we use unsalted butter, but add salt to the recipe. Go figure. :)

  97. Joi
    February 26, 2008

    I have a question – now that I’ve made the CC cookies the original way, I need to try it w/o egg YOLKS – has anyone tried just using egg whites? I have an 8 y/o with a allergy to yolks, and she hasn’t been able to try these yummy cookies like her sisters have…

    I would appreciate any comments to this topic!

    Thanks

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
      February 26, 2008

      Joi, egg yolks make doughs rich, so if you only use egg whites, try adding a teaspoon of butter for every yolk you omit. I love granola too! I’m addicted to Costco’s “trail mix,” which is really just granola cookie chunks. If you like not-so-sweet desserts, I highly recommend the 90% chocolate bar by Vintage Plantations. It’s not sweet (obviously) but not bitter either. While I eat it out of hand, it would probably be very good in a chocolate chip cookie. You would probably like Sam Mason, too. In terms of avant garde chefs, I like him more than Johnny Iuzzini. I witnessed Sam’s dessert demo, too. He’s probably the only guy that can get away with an armful of tattoos.

      Annette, baking recipes call for unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt. I’ve noticed that different brands of regular butter have different amounts of salt. Also, since cookies are dense, salted butter often has too much salt for them.

      Lisa, I felt the same way about Johnny I. The desserts were too cerebral for me. I just wanted to enjoy them without thinking about the herbs! He makes a really good tart dough though. The edit option should be right below your comment. Maybe your browser doesn’t support it?

  98. TwinkieEsq
    February 26, 2008

    So glad I found this blog! Thanks so much for the chocolate chip cookie recipe. I am going to try it this weekend. I have been researching and testing recipes for weeks to try to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie. One of the best I have had is from a store called Specialty’s in San Francisco.

    I also read somewhere that adding a block of cream cheese to the dough provides really great results and gets you a rich, tall, chewy cookie. Has anyone tried that?

  99. Joi
    February 26, 2008

    Thanks Jessica for the info! I checked out Sam’s website – interesting foods. I’m kind of partial to Johnny’s tat!
    I am used to baking/eating w/o yolks, but I was curious if anyone else had done it. I also don’t use butter, but Earth Balance, as we don’t eat dairy either!
    The Costco granola trail mix – do you mean the clear box of (big, chunky) granola with cranberries in it??! That’s what I used in my cookies!
    I will look for Vintage Plantations chocolate! My husband jokes that I may as well just suck on cacao beans! I probably could. I have to say, I am so glad to have found this blog! Thank You Thank You Thank You!

  100. Joi
    February 26, 2008

    I forgot to ask if anyone has a recipe for homemade Nutella?? I’ve found a couple, but haven’t made them yet. Nutella has milk in it and we avoid dairy (along with egg yolks, bananas…)

    I have a several recipes I am itching to use Nutella in!

  101. Lisa
    February 27, 2008

    PHYLLIS!

    I totally missed your post! I’m so sorry! Getting to some of the problems you had, I think parchment or a silpat is a must for Levain’s mountain size cookies. Nowadays, I never make a cookie with using either. Gone are the days of burnt cookie bottoms because of those two ingenious inventions. Also, I baked my second batch at 375 for 18 (I didn’t want to middle to be almost raw like Levain’s, but if you want that gooey middle, bake it at 375 for 12-16 minutes or 350 for 16-20 minutes, really depending on how ‘gooey or raw’ you like the interior.

    Finally, yes, baking powder is definitely a big part of that big, puffy cookie. You have to be careful with it, though, as you don’t want any (as Jessica mentioned) ‘lye’ after taste. 3/4 tsp is perfect in this recipe, at least for me and some others. People getting different results from one recipe is natural, as a lot of baking depends on weather, location (altitude), and sometimes experience. Sometimes your cookie dough will take/need a little more flour (humid days), sometimes a little less (dry days). Even though baking is an exact science, like I mentioned in a previous post, when trying to emulate someone else’s recipe, some of that goes out the window, and you need to experiment to get it just right. Then, and only then, can you possibly ‘set’ your cookie to one solid formula that should work for most.

    Annette,
    What Jessica said..lol. The reason for unsalted butter is so you have total control over the amount of salt that goes into a recipe.

    Joi,
    4 egg whites equals 2 whole eggs (when using large eggs, which this recipe for calls for). Like Jessica mentioned, you may lose some of the richness, so you may want to up the butter a little, unless that doesn’t matter to you. It is a very rich cookie, and I don’t think subbing egg whites for the whole eggs will make a huge difference, especially with two cups chocolate chips and all that sugar.

    Jessica,
    Wow..we seem to be on the same wave length when it comes to some of these pastry chefs. Sam Mason is amazing. I watched him (on Gourmet Diary of a Foodie) make Banana cocoa raviolis (banana puree that’s first frozen in a long, thin tube..cut into *thick* slices and dipped in chocolate), When brought to room temperature, they ooze luscious banana when split open. They looked lovely and mouth watering, and I’m not a huge fan of banana desserts.

    He also was testing a Mustard Ice Cream and Coffee Soil dessert which looked great. The coffee soil is very easy to make..Flour, cocoa powder, coffee grounds, melted butter, and sugar.. Kind of similar to making a cookie crumb crust, but leaving it in large, medium and small chunks to resemble soil.

    I once mixed whole grain mustard with sugar and vanilla beans, then spread it in thin strips on a silpat and dried it in a low oven (I don’t have a dehydrator) as a cool and unique garnish for some homemade vanilla bean ice cream, so I was excited at the thought of one day tasting his mustard ice cream. Yes, he goes ‘molecular’ and off the beaten path a lot, (like Johnny), but his desserts seem to remain a little more true to their original counterparts as far as flavor goes. I definitely need to try them one day. Not to mention, in keeping with the ‘fan girl’ mode, he’s pretty, damn easy on the eyes.

    Lastly, I’m still on Windows 98SE, so I haven’t been able to update IE, however, I also have Firefox, which still updates for 98SE..and the edit option didn’t show up there either. Oh well, I’ll just make sure to proofread before posting, until I get a new ‘puter and OS.

  102. Lisa
    February 27, 2008

    Dang, I didn’t proofread again, and Phyllis, I meant to use the word ‘without’ when referring to my always using parchment or a silpat for cookies.

    That said..Joi, Jessica has a recipe for homemade nutella on this site! Go here..

    http://www.sugoodsweets.com/blog/2005/12/nutella/

    The original nutella in a jar uses skim milk but most recipes I have seen leave out the dairy and use oil, chocolate, lots of sugar and hazelnuts, which yields a result just like Nutella in the jar.

  103. Joi
    February 27, 2008

    Thanks Lisa! I actually found the recipe on this site, after I posted my ?! I also checked out Sam Mason’s website and saw the choco banan ravioli with coffee soil and mustard ice cream! I love how his site has a link to Johnny’s! I think they’re both pretty damn interesting, and easy on the eyes!

    I am used to cooking w/o yolks (among other things because of various allergies!), but I just wanted to know if anyone had done them w/o yolks, or completely eggless (flax maybe?)? I used to be vegan, so I am familiar with other options (Egg Replacer/flax) for eggs, but now I love using them, except for my poor little Lilah who breaks out in a wicked itchy rash. I have promised her we will make them this weekend so she can eat them! I think I’ll try them as is minus yolks, since many thought they were a bit rich??

    Now, my other question is has anyone ever tried Tom’s Cookie Dough Snickerdoodles?? They come either frozen or refrigerated in an ice-cream like container? My girls love them, but again, they have whole eggs, so only 2 can enjoy them. I have NEVER had any success with snickerdoodles (and I refuse to use shortening, which all the recipes call for), but the Tom’s cookies are soooooo yummy! I may give those a try this weekend w/o yolks since the ingredients are the basics – flour, salt, sugar, eggs, butter, etc.

  104. Lisa
    February 27, 2008

    I’m so glad i found Jessica’s blog, because I’ve been in and out of work, home sick with the flu, and it’s definitely taken away some of the boredom! So, please excuse me for hogging up the comments section!

    Joi,

    There are recipes for Snickerdoodles that use butter. I found one here.. that uses is half butter and half butter flavored shortening.
    http://www.recipeland.com/recipe/48989/

    .AND, one that uses all butter.. http://www.recipezaar.com/97496
    Give it a shot and let us know how they turn out :) There’s millions more recipes for them out there, and I guarantee at least a third of them use all butter.

    As for Sam having a link to Johnny’s site..it makes sense. Two good looking, talented, NYC pastry chefs linking each other. They probably even hang out together. I’d probably beg them to bake and create cool desserts with me, then ‘maybe’ attack..LOL

  105. Phyllis
    February 27, 2008

    Lisa, (and others),

    I think baking soda has a sour/bitter salty taste…..and I can detect it’s flavor much sooner in my baked products than I can detect any aftertaste from baking powder. Baking powder seems more innocent and safe to me. But with baking soda, I always measure it with careful consideration, and on the skimpy side, because it makes my baked items to require less salt, for sure, by 50 percent. Also, I like to use a brand of baking powder that does not have aluminum in it, for health reasons. In short, I believe that we have to be more careful about using the baking soda…because it can sooner leave a salty or bitter aftertaste, much sooner than baking powder would. Some muffin recipes actually call for 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and they are among my favorite recipes. This little comment is in defense of baking powder. Also, those pictures of Levain Bakery cookies look like muffins! the texture is so muffin-like, or cupcake-like that i am tempted to combine some of my recipes…..to see what I can come up with that way. What would happen if I mixed my favorite muffin recipe, with my favorite chocolate chip recipe, for example? Or my favorite scone recipe, with my favorite chocolate chip recipe. Maybe that is how Levain bakery came up with their own recipe? I think I am going to try this next. My cookie experiement today was my worst flop of all. They ended up too flat, in spite of 2 t. of baking powder. I did not use enough flour this time. And I may have used too much sugar, too. And the cookies were too brown, too chewy, too crispy. They need to have a lighter composition…like a muffin, or a scone. My dough is too dense. Levain bakery cookies look as light as cake. Therefore I am wondering if combining 2 such recipes might not work wonderfully.

  106. Lisa
    February 27, 2008

    Phyllis,

    The Levain cookies and my copycat recipe may look like muffin tops because they’re so huge, but in no way, shape or form do they even resemble a muffin in taste, texture, and flavor. They’re crispy on the outside, and chewy or doughy, (depending on how long you bake it, based on personal preference) on the inside. To sum it up, you won’t be confusing these babies with a muffin. It’s the epitome of what people think of when they think of a chocolate chip cookie, just thicker, bumpier, and akin to eating several regular sized chocolate chip cookies. I have no idea how your cookies turned out like muffins. Did you use cake flour? Too much baking powder?

    As for the baking soda, my recipe uses only 1/4 tsp, and there’s no bitter or salty taste after taste..so I think that’s a perfect amount for 12 giant cookies.

  107. Marilyn
    February 27, 2008

    Hi Jessica–thanks for posting these great recipes. I had been looking for Levain’s chocolate chip cookie recipe ever since watching the “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” I tried both the Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies and the recipe Lisa submitted. The Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies were great even though I didn’t use coconut. As for Lisa’s recipe, I had the same response like Bob of a chalky after taste. I plan to reduce both baking powder and baking soda to 1/4 tsp each to see if that removes the after taste. Thanks again for all the posts. It’s funny to see just how many people are out there like me trying to find a great cookie recipe like Levain’s!

  108. Phyllis
    February 27, 2008

    My first cookies had too much flour.
    My second cookies had too little flour.
    I am beginning to believe that any recipe will work, so long as the dough is not too thin, and not too thick. (Plus about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and about one t. of baking powder.) I need to pay more attention to the flour factor. So, that is what I intend to do on my next attempt, soon. Thankyou, everyone, for sharing your gigantic cookie making stories.

  109. Lisa
    February 28, 2008

    Phyllis,

    First off, use your hands. This is a cookie dough you should be feeling as you add the flour and feeling when you turn it out to give it one more mix with your hands *making sure all the flour, chips and nuts are incorporated), and portion it into a little over 4 oz a cookie. You’ll know when/if it’s the right consistency.

    Secondly, My copycat recipe shouldn’t take more than 3 1/2 cups of flour total..at the MOST. Anywhere from 3 to 3 1/2 cups, depending on the weather that day/night, and the altitude where you live.\

    Good l;uck on your next try!

  110. Phyllis
    February 28, 2008

    Lisa, and everyone else,

    I did it! I did it! I did it!. I made the cookies a third time, using Lisa’s recipe.
    They turned out very, very nicely.
    I used the parchment paper…they were still more golden brown on the bottom than on the top, by quite a bit, but definitely not burned, just brown, in a very pleasant way. I used one fourth t. of baking soda, and almost one t. of baking powder. I did test the dough with my hands a lot…and I am certain that I used a scant 3 cups….it was unbleached flour. I started the cookies at 375, and lowered the temp after a while, so the cookies would not become too brown on the bottom…and I baked them more like 13 minutes…. I took them out as soon as the bottom of each cookie showed some golden brown colors…the tops were not as golden as i wanted them to be…but in the end, the cookies were perfect…
    I am very, very pleased. This is the best I can do with this recipe. And I feel delighted that I accomplished my mission. However, if anyone discovers any more secrets, about the Levain Bakery cookie recipes….please post those secrets for all of us to see. The true recipe still looks puffier to me. So, I will always be wondering how close I really am…since I have never tasted one of their cookies, or held one in my hand. But, for now, I am very happy with this recipe. Thanks for all of your copycat help, Lisa. You did great! (Careful in adding that flour, everyone. Not too much. Not too little. Use your hands to feel it. Listen to Lisa’s good advice.) And don’t overbake the cookies, either. I baked at 350 most of the time…with a tiny bit of 375….to puff the cookies up a bit. Be careful not to bake the cookies too long. Be very careful about the amount of flour. I also used less chocolate chips, only 1 1/2 cups. That tasted like plenty to me…but that depends on your own personal preference. If 3 cups of flour makes your cookies too thick and heavy, try a bit less next time…maybe 2 tablespoons less, until your cookies turn out like you want them to be. My first try made cookies that were too hard. I had to use less flour. My second attempt was too flat, so I had to add more flour. My third attempt turned out perfect.
    So, the amount of flour is very very important. Have fun. And thanks to everyone who submitted comments.

  111. Lisa
    February 28, 2008

    Congrats on getting close to the Levain cookie, but if you used my recipe, your cookies ‘should’ be just as puffy and ‘mountain like’ as Levain’s (Did you see my photos *link above* of them at Flickr? Did you see Elaine and Joi’s photos *links also above*?) Did you use a little over 4 oz of dough per cookie? Did you cream your butter cold with the sugars? Maybe you should try a little over 3 to 3 1/4 cups of flour, instead of under 3?

    Regardless, as long as you liked them *flavor-texture wise* as is, aesthetics shouldn’t really matter, unless you ‘really’ want them as big and puffy as Levain’s.

  112. Phyllis
    February 28, 2008

    Lisa, and others,

    how do you portion out your cookies into EVEN 4 oz. of dough?

    how do you get them equally golden all over?

    do you bake them right in the center of the oven? or on a higher level?

    thanks a bunch for your comments

  113. Joi
    February 28, 2008

    Phyllis,
    I use a basic little kitchen scale, and once you do a few, you start to just eyeball how much dough = 4oz!

    I bake in the center of my oven, but others may do it differently?

  114. Phyllis
    February 28, 2008

    Lisa and everyone,

    I just watched the showdown again. I was delighted to see it again, on tv!
    on the food channel, tonight, very unexpectedly.

    They use 6 oz….not 4oz, for each cookie.
    Wow! That would make them even bigger….
    They use whole walnuts.
    The mixer might break them up a bit.
    They describe their cookies as being “less done” on the inside.
    My cookies still do not have the height they need.
    I am going to try a different baking powder next time.
    I have been using Rumford.
    (Because it has no aluminum.)
    What brand of baking powder are all of you people using?
    Thankyou for your comments.

  115. Stephanie
    February 28, 2008

    I have to say a BIG THANK YOU for this recipe. It’s late at night, saw the Throwdown episode and hopped on the lap top to find the recipe for this cookie of all cookies! (Sweet tooth hits strongly at night here) I’ve been reading this blog for an hour now and it’s been fun and I cannot WAIT to try it, if there wasn’t 20 inches of snow I might even trek out tonight!!! Thank you!

  116. Lisa
    February 29, 2008

    Phyllis,

    In order to get 12 cookies from this recipe, you have to use 4 to 4.2 oz per cookie. They designed the Dark Chocolate Coconut and Ginger Valrhona recipes for home baking in Art Culinaire, and those are the recipes I used to convert to the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip and Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie. Remember, they’re working with much larger batches. If you want to use 6 oz per cookies, you’ll probably get only 6-8 cookies, but no reason why you can’t do that :)

    Also, when it comes to baking them, I baked mine longer due to personal taste, as I don’t like the middle almost raw. If you read through the comments above, you’ll see how and why I adjusted it. You can bake yours at 350 for 16-18 minutes (since the cookies are less than 6 oz), to get the borderline raw middle, if you’d like. Remember, it’s a matter of personal taste, and you don’t ‘have’ to try and get their exact cookie if you don’t want to (although this was/is my goal).

    For instance, Levain doesn’t use vanilla extract in their cookies, but some people here added it because they miss the flavor, which is fine. All in all, whatever suits your fancy, is what it’s all about. I’m sure some people eat a Levain Bakery cookie and think “I wish there was vanilla in this”, or “I wish there were less chocolate chips”. However, I’m all for the closest I can get to it, barring baking it a little longer and using less dough per cookie so I get 12 cookies (trust me, they’re just about as huge as Levain’s).

    Lastly, I also use whole, shelled walnuts, and let the dough paddle chop them a little. BUT, I toast my walnuts a little, which is my preference. The point of this is, we can all take this Levain copycat recipe, and adjust it to our personal preferences. :)

  117. Joi
    February 29, 2008

    So, I have another question to all you uber-bakers! Has anyone seen the Throwdown with Carol Faye from the Loveless Cafe?? Biscuits and jam. Bobby actually WON – which shocked the heck out of me, since his biscuits were black pepper topped, with marmalade (ICK). I am curious if anyone has baked his version of the biscuits?? Carol Faye’s were traditional Southern style…
    Oh, and thank you Lisa for the snickerdoodle sites – have you tried any of them??

  118. Phyllis
    February 29, 2008

    Joi,

    Oh yes. I want that recipe too. (Carol Faye’s biscuit recipe.)

  119. connie
    February 29, 2008

    Hi Lisa, I was wondering if you could tell me how to adjust this recipe for very high altitude baking (Mexico City) besides using the 3 1/2 cups flour. Thanks so much, Connie

  120. Elaine
    February 29, 2008

    have made these cookies three times now and the teachers at my sons high school have promised he will be graduating with all A’s (whether he earns them or not,, he will!!_ LOL they loved them..

    this morning I am making sherried tomatoe soup with Lisa’s recipe for focacia.. sounds yummy..

    I also want to try some chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips.. am thinking someone posted that. will have to go back..

    Great posts!!

    Elaine

  121. Katie
    February 29, 2008

    I just made Lisa’s recipe. they are wonderful!
    thank you so much

  122. Lisa
    February 29, 2008

    Here’s the recipe for the Levain copycat Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter chip cookie, which I adapated and adjusted from the Dark chocolate coconut cookie recipe that Jessica posted.

    Important note – I used Dutch-Process cocoa. If you use natural cocoa, add 1/4 tsp of baking soda to the dry ingredients.

    Levain Copycat Dark Chocolate Peanut butter Chip Cookies (**Yields 1 dozen cookies)

    Ingredients
    2 sticks cold unsalted butter
    1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup good quality dark cocoa powder
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 tsp Kosher salt
    3/4 to 1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
    2 cups peanut butter chips

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well-incorporated, then beat in cocoa powder. Mix in flour, salt and baking powder until just combined. Gently fold in remaining ingredients.

    Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions, **about 4 oz each, and place each on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake in the preheated oven 16-20 minutes depending on how gooey and raw’ish you like the middles (I bake mine at 375 for 18 minutes, as I prefer a less raw’ish’ interior), taking care not to overbake.

    Let cool on a rack and store what you don’t immediately eat, in an airtight container. To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds

  123. Lisa
    February 29, 2008

    katie, glad they turned out well for you!

    connie,

    Flour tends to be drier and absorbs more liquid at high altitudes, so I would reduce the flour to 3 cups or a little less. Use your hands to feel the dough as you add it, and you’ll know when it’s right. Also, you may want to reduce the baking powder to 1/2 tsp, and take out 1 T of each sugar, if just reducing the flour doesn’t work out the way you want.

    Another tip is (if the flour reduction alone doesn’t work out)..to compensate for the higher evaporation rate, increase liquid content by 1 to 2 tablespoons at 3,000 feet, more for higher altitudes. So, add half of one more egg, or another Tablespoon or two of butter.

    Finally, cookies and baked good in general, dry out faster at high altitudes, so take care to store them in a very airtight container after you’ve eaten your share for the day/night. :) Report back to us!

  124. Stephanie
    February 29, 2008

    Hi, I just made these and they are AMAZING. They are very tall and chewy on the outside, I DO like the bit of doughiness on the inside, so I cooked mine at 375 for 16 minutes and they are perfect. I ended up using a tich more than 3 cups of flour to reach the perfect cookie dough consitency. I highly recommend a silpat for these and let them cool for a few minutes before transfering them to a cooling rack. When (not if!) I make them again I will reduce the chocolate from 2 cups to maybe 1 cup or a bit more. I LOVE chocolate, but 2 cups is a bit too much for my preference. Also, I did toast my walnuts and did add some vanilla as I really like it. They look so impressive and I absolutely love them. I also think some coconut might just make them even more insanely delicious to my taste. Thanks so much, this is an absolute keeper, I will make them again and again!

  125. Lisa
    February 29, 2008

    Stephanie, that’s what so great about figuring out this recipe. Buy it at Levain, and it is what it is (which is still great) whereas having the recipe, or a recipe close to it, gives you the freedom to adjust it to your own taste(s). I’m in love with these cookies. :)

  126. Phyllis
    February 29, 2008

    Lisa,

    What size silpat would you recommend me to buy?
    Thankyou very much. (I never heard of these before.)

  127. pink bowl baker
    February 29, 2008

    Stephanie, I can promise you that packing in some large coconut flakes only makes them better, I tried it with my first go-round and they were the first to disappear! I used the great big flake coconut, it was unsweetened. Its what I found at the health food store for my granola recipe.

  128. Joi
    February 29, 2008

    I have 2 large (11X17 jelly roll pan size) silpats, as well as 2 smaller (1/2). I LOVE mine. They are not cheap, but well worth the price!

  129. Phyllis
    February 29, 2008

    Stephanie, I agree that 2 cups of chocolate chips is too much chocolate for my taste too. Did you have any trouble with your cookies being a bit too brown on the bottom? Were your cookies nice and golden brown on top? How long did you cream the butter and sugar? Does it have to be whipped? or just mixed? How thoroughly do I have to cream the butter and sugar?

    Lisa, How long/well should I cream the butter and sugar? What brand of baking powder do you prefer in this recipe? Thankyou, ladies, for your comments. (My cookies have not yet been mountainous and tall.) I made them 3 times. I hope that next time they will be tall. Maybe I should use 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder? What do you ladies think of that idea?

  130. connie
    February 29, 2008

    lisa thanks so much i made your original recipe without any changes and they came out great.

  131. Lisa
    March 1, 2008

    Phyllis,

    I have the same size silpats as Joi (Two 12 x 17, two 10 x 15) However, you can always trim them to fit a pan if you want. or just let them drape over smaller pans. Doesn’t change a thing.

    As for creaming the butter, you should cream it until you have a light, fluffy mass, and the sugar should be mostly dissolved. It’s hard to explain, you just know..plus, it takes different times depending on what you’re using to cream the butter and sugars (electric beaters, stand mixer, wooden spoon (great for your arms). Naturally, the stand mixer is the quickest way, plus you get to walk away from it for a few minutes. As for the baking powder I use, right now it’s Clabbergirl double acting. Sometimes I use Calumet. It really depends on what’s on sale and/or available as long it’s a reputable brand. I know you prefer aluminum free baking powder, and I’ve heard the best brand for that is Rumford.

    Also, I would not up the baking powder. Try refrigerating the dough before you bake it — for about 30 minutes to an hour. Maybe your dough gets too warm, Where do you live? OR, maybe you just need to add more flour. I recall you saying you found a little less than 3 cups perfect, although a little more could help the cookies remain thick and puffy with less spreading.

    connie, that’s awesome that your cookies turned out well without any changes! Enjoy!

  132. Stephanie
    March 1, 2008

    I know it’s a bit archaic, but I do not have a stand mixer. I use an electric mixer to cream my butter and sugar. When I first started baking, I never did it right, always stopping too short. Here is exactly what I did, I took the butter (I cannot do super duper cold or my electric mixer just won’t get through it, so I let the chill come off slighlty just enough so I can beat it). When I cream butter and sugar, I would say it takes me about 4 minutes or good solid beating on high, I always go until it starts to pull together or get more solid in it’s consitency, for a while it will be piecey, somewhat how you would want butter to look if you were making biscuits, then all of a sudden it will pull together and act more like a solid and roll around the bowl as a mass, kinda like when you know something is done in the food processor. As for the baking, I would not say I have a great oven, but they still turned out just as described. I have six rack levels in my oven, I set these on the 3rd up from the bottom or dead middle, on a silpat and pan (I have the large jelly roll pan size and do not really know how I lived without this, although it it not too cheap, maybe 20 bucks, it is SO worth it) . I turned the oven to preheat before I even started the batter. When I was stirring in the cho chips and walnuts, I turned the batter out onto the counter (messy!) and got even distribution that way. I formed my cookies into balls, not mushing them down at all, they looked about like a baseball! Again 375 for 16 minutes. I also weighed them in my kitchen scale at a tich over 4 oz each. They were perfectly brown on bottom and top, just slightly. I would also recommend getting fresh baking powder (I had Clabber Girl double acting) as this is really not an item you can store for a long time, it loses its potentcy. They are just south of slighty raw in the ceter, just to my tatse. And now that I eat them the second day and the chocolate is all solidified, I do not mind the two cups, I guess it just seemed SO much when it was all melted, but today I am digging it, perhaps its the wine I drank last night…LOL! I notice no chalky taste at all, and cannot wait to try them with coconut

    I am definitely going to add coconut,

  133. Phyllis
    March 1, 2008

    Thankyou, everyone, for your comments. I find them to be very, very helpful. I made the ccwalnut cookies for the fourth time today. They turned out awesome. My son described them as a hard shell with a gooey middle. We loved them. I had to raise my oven rack up a bit, because I wanted the cookies to brown better on the top. It did work. Also, I went with 375 degrees, and that worked well too. I used a bit more baking powder, but it did not seem to make any difference at all. I am going to go out today and buy some Clabber Girl b. powder, to repace what I have been using (Rumford). I want to see if the brand of baking powder makes any difference… Also, I did not use quite 3 cups of flour. It was short by about 2 Tablespoons. I might add more next time…or I might chill my dough….I want my cookies to rise higher, more like a biscuit in height. How tall are they supposed to be? Do they resemble the height of a biscuit? Are they that puffy? Or am I expecting them to be too light? tall?

  134. Lisa
    March 1, 2008

    Stephanie, your method was perfect. We all used electric beaters for cookies before the advent of the stand mixer, and sometimes I still do, if I already used my stand mixer bowl for something else, and don’t feel like washing it at that moment (I need to get a backup bowl). I think we all learned how to make cookies using electric beaters. Who didn’t have their mom or grandma behind them holding their hand over yours on the handle, so the dough didn’t fly all over the place? lol

    Phyllis,
    Here’s a link to photos of my cookies.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lismi171/2286713286/in/set-72157603902362867/

    Keep clicking through the thumbnails to the right of the large photo to see the set. I would guess they range from about 1/2 inch to 1 inch in height..maybe.

  135. John
    March 1, 2008

    Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut, Defined.

    Like most of you who tried the Ginger Cookie recipe to get to the CC Walnut recipe, I ended up with batter that resembled “playdough”, the baked result was a complete set of hockey pucks. Obviously there was a better way.

    I have now watched the “Throw Down” episode twice, read the comments above and have come to this definition of the Levain. I looked more closely at weight, rather than volume measurements as you’ll see in the recipe. I produced this once this morning, and while I have never sampled a true Levain, it looks identical with a lightly browned crisp shell, moist interior and one of the best CC cookies I have ever tasted…..And yes, a full 6 oz. each at weigh in.

    Defined Levain CC Walnut:

    1 1/2 C. Butter, room temp
    1 1/2 C. Sugar
    3/4 C. Brown Sugar, packed
    4 Large Eggs
    1 tsp. Baking Soda
    1 tsp. Diamond Kosher Salt
    24.75 oz. All Purpose, Unbleached Flour (4 1/2 C. by weight)
    3 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (by volume)
    1 C. Walnut halves (by volume)

    Cream the butter and sugars together just until mixed. Add the eggs, mix until incorprated. Add the baking soda and salt. Add the flour 1 cup at a time ( I made this with a hand mixer, so after the first cup was added, the remaing ingrediants were mixed in by hand). Add the Chocolate Chips and Walnuts and gently knead in.

    * Oven previously heated to 350 and accuratly calibrated.
    * Form dough into 6 oz. balls from your scale.
    * Place on parchment paper lined tray, and press down the tops to flatten slighty.
    * Bake at 350 for 20 Min. Cool on tray 2 Min. Remove to cooling rack for the remainder of the cooking.

    I found that the simpicity of this recipe is in the body (ratio of liquid to dry ingrediants) of the cookie itself. it’s not designed to rise, so no need for baking powder. It’s more of a lump of dough that settles as it bakes. This recipe made fourteen (14) 6 oz. cookies. As for those concerned with the amount of salt, since salt content is determined by weight, this particular brand of Kosher salt is half the weight of regular table salt, so in coversion you are actually only using 1/2 tsp.

    Hope you enjoy them as much as I have…..

  136. Joi
    March 1, 2008

    Ok, today was my ‘egg-white only’ cookies! I also made a few other modifications – I used freshly ground (I ground it for pizza last night) whole wheat flour – 2-1/2 cups + 1 cup AP flour. I only used 1/2 the chocolate chip amount (they were way too sweet the first time!) and 3/4 cups of pecans. They are fabulous – and my egg yolk allergic daughter was very excited she got to enjoy them this time!!

  137. Joi
    March 1, 2008

    I’m wondering if anyone else has any specific music they cook/bake to?? I turned the iPod on this morning to a certain playlist, and my husband said, ‘Must be bakign time!’ This morning it was Gypsy Fusion – Novamenco. Usually in the evenings when it’s a serious meal, I play what I call my ‘Nip/Tuck’ playlist (only because the music was used on several epis of Nip/Tuck) – It’s actually Mulatu Astatqe and Gotan Project in a mixed playlist. I also love Italian opera, Eva Cassidy, Patty Griffin and Joni Mitchell when it’s a not so serious meal!

    Just thought I’d see what others did!

    Oh, and I tweaked the oven temp and time on my yolk free whole wheat cookies – I did 375 for 20, but I think I’ll drop it back to 350 for 23, as they were a little more ‘done’ than I like!

  138. Cindie
    March 1, 2008

    I’m going to try your recipe tonight.
    Thank you so much!!
    Question…did you pack the brown sugar when measuring?

  139. Tiamat
    March 1, 2008

    Phyllis –

    Rumford and Clabber Girl are the SAME company …

    http://www.clabbergirl.com/products-rumford.php

    Rumford is all-phosphate and Clabber Girl is not … Rumford does not contain aluminum …

  140. jen
    March 2, 2008

    it someone very relieving to see people as obsessed with “the perfect cookie” as i am
    can’t wait to try these tonight :)
    thanks for all your experimentation and help

  141. Phyllis
    March 2, 2008

    My husband liked my 3rd batch of ccwalnut cookies better than my 4th batch.
    The 3rd batch was a little more underdone, more to his liking.

    I am going to try a very crazy experiment.
    I am going to join my favorite muffin recipe with Lisa’s cccookie recipe
    to see what happens. I am searching for a lighter version of this cookie. I want my cookies to look more like scones, more risen and light. I am curious to see what the results would be.

  142. Jan
    March 2, 2008

    Oh my god, I thought I was the only at home baker OBSESSED with finding the recipe for the Levain CCC after seeing Bobby Flay’s Throwdown show!! So happy to see that I’m anything but alone… And Lisa, I cant thank you enuff-I just made your suggested copycat recipe-they turned out picture perfect and were delish! I live in Chicago, so have never tried them from the bakery, but can’t imagine them being ANY better than your recipe-thanx again… 2 (chocolate covered) thumbs up to you!

  143. Lisa
    March 3, 2008

    John,

    Did you read through all the comments? Most abandoned the Ginger Valrhona recipe as a formula to try and create Levain’s CC Walnut cookie, as it was not set up, ingredient wise, to convert properly (too much flour without the molasses..leaven adjustments etc).

    I went by 1) Part of the formulas and directions in both recipes Jessica provided, mainly the Dark chocolate Coconut, 2) Watching Throwdown with a keen eye several times (DVR) and 3) Buying and consuming Levain cookies for several years now.

    My Levain copycat recipe did/does not turn out like hockey pucks, and in fact, I could not tell the difference between mine and a Levain CC Walnut, nor could others (same deal..large, puffy cookie..crispy outside, moist and chewy or ‘rawish’ inside..depending on baking time due to personal preference). 6 oz per cookie can be used, but you’d get less cookies out of it. However, the recipe can be doubled so 6 oz per cookie would produce more than a dozen.

    Regardless, I’m looking forward to trying your recipe, as I’m sure it’s an amazing cookie. If it’s just like Levain’s also, then cool, we’ve got two recipes (thus far) that rival/taste and feel like, theirs.

    Joi, no baking music. I usually have the TV on in the background, or I’m on the phone as I bake,..lol

  144. sana
    March 3, 2008

    I tried the final recipe by Lisa for the Choc-chip walnut cookies… emm sooooo good
    They came out big, rose well, stayed well risen, soft inside and crisp on the inside!
    My fiancee thought the taste of the butter was a little too much, the walnust not needed, but he really thinks they are winners!
    I am going to try them next time in a smaller size and without walnuts :) will see what happens..

    Thanks everyone.. this is my first time to bake cookies and they came out goood

  145. Tonia
    March 3, 2008

    I tried the ginger cookie sans spices to make choc chip cookies and they came out great. The molasses flavor is not detectible at all but it does give the cookie a deeper, richer flavor. The size and texture came out great, just like the “Levain copycat” recipe.

  146. PHYLLIS
    March 4, 2008

    My experiment did not work.
    (Combining Lisa’s recipe, with a muffin recipe. But a gal has to try a little creativity, of her own, sometimes.) I guess I have looked at that picture too many times. The ccwalnut cookie—-under su good sweets. To me, that cookie looks lighter and taller, and not dough-y, in the middle. Why does it look that way? more risen????

    Anyway, I have made the cookies 6 times now….
    most recently I forgot to use a full 3 cups of flour
    so my cookies turned out too flat AGAIN.

    Sent them to a meeting
    and they were warm
    and eaten up very fast…
    and greatly appreciated.
    One person said it was so huge
    that he felt like he ate a brick.
    But no one forced him to eat it.
    It was warm and irresistible.

    Next time I will be most careful to add a full 3 cups
    of flour. (Or more.)

    Thankyou so much for your final recipe, Lisa.
    I feel that I can trust it, to be very Levain Bakery-like.
    Having never tasted them for myself, at the bakery.

    I especially liked your comment
    that you and your friend(s)
    could not tell any difference
    between your copy cat cookies
    and the real Levain cookies….
    That reassures me that your wonderful copy cat recipe is very, very close.
    And I am glad you are so smart.
    Thanks a bunch for sharing your recipe with me too.

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
      March 9, 2008

      Phyllis, too bad your cookie-muffin recipe didn’t work, but it sounded like a great idea. My favorite part about muffins is the top.

      Lisa, yeah, I saw Sam Mason on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie. Way to go on dehydrating mustard! I tried his chocolate soil, and it’s just a fancy name for Oreo cookie crumbs. You have to see his online cooking show, Dinner With the Band, on On Networks. This site has tons of cooking shows that are way better than the Food Network. A while ago, I clipped his recipe for candied olive cobbler but haven’t had a chance to try it.

      Lisa and Mary, sometimes I disagree with Cook’s Illustrated ratings. When they rated chocolate, they really liked Callebaut but didn’t like Valrhona. I think Callebaut is bland and flat.

      Joi, yes, I too am hooked on Costco’s granola trail mix. I tried to make my own by using Peter Reinhart’s energy cookie recipe, but it was a huge disaster. Part of it was my fault. I didn’t have honey, so I made apple cider molasses and added to the dough when it was still hot. The cookies turned out like elastic.

      Elaine, this isn’t a traditional molasses cookie, but the Chez Panisse gingersnaps are really chewy.

  147. Lisa
    March 4, 2008

    You’re very, very welcome, Phyllis. Glad you finally got close to the cookie you desired. :)

  148. PHYLLIS
    March 4, 2008

    Lisa (and others)

    Do you have any trouble getting 3 cups of flour incorporated into Lisa’s recipe?
    My dough never seems that “thirsty” for the flour.
    But, in the end, my dough has been making cookies that are typically too flat.
    Still good, but not mountainous, as I want them to be.
    So, my question is this—-How do you get the dough to take so much flour?
    My other recipes call for less flour…2.5 cups, maybe. Why does Lisa’s cookie call for so much flour? Almost a whole cup more than my other recipes? Any ideas on this? Especially if I turn the dough out and try to knead it, it does not seem to want to take the rest of the flour. So, I quit, thinking the dough has enough, but it never does. Because the cookies don’t turn out mountainous. So, why do we knead the cookies? It sort of confuses me.

  149. John
    March 4, 2008

    Lisa,

    Yes, I did realize that the Ginger Cookie recipe that Jessica so thoughtfully provided to get this rolling didn’t work out due to proportions, at least in my experience.

    My goal was to try and duplicate their ( Levains) recipe. Enough flour to reach 12-6 oz. wet cookies at 350 for 20 Min. So instead of taking away flour to match the wet ingredients of the original recipe above, I decided to increase the wet ingredients to match the large amount of flour. I didn’t try to double your recipe as I have found that sometimes simply doubleing a recipe doesn’t work out so well ( again it’s a proportions thing). Have you tried doubleing it yet?

    I am anticipating trying your recipe, just as soon as we have the current mountain of cookies consumed here.

  150. Lisa
    March 4, 2008

    Phyllis,

    Do you live in a high altitude area? If not, what kind/brand of flour are you using?

    John,

    Regarding this “”So instead of taking away flour to match the wet ingredients of the original recipe above, I decided to increase the wet ingredients to match the large amount of flour””

    Smart cookie, although I truly believe you do need some baking powder. However, I haven’t tried your recipe yet, so that’s just an assumption for now. Also, yes, I have doubled it with no problems at all, even going as far as making 18 6 oz cookies baked at 350 for 23 minutes (I prefer a less raw middle).

    That said, it could take you months to finish the mountains of ‘mountainous’ cookies you made..lol

  151. PHYLLIS
    March 4, 2008

    Lisa, I do not live in a high altitude area. I always use unbleached flour. Maybe I should add the flour all at once. I saved part of the 3 cups for kneading process at the end, on the counter top. But when I was kneading I was afraid to add it all, because the dough seemed to be quite firm. Do you actually knead your dough? If so, I imagine the purpose of the kneading is to evenly distribute the walnuts and chocolate chips, and no more kneading is necessary, other than that. Do you use flour when you are kneading the cookie dough? How much? Is it in addition to, or part of your 3.25 to 3.50 cups? What kind of flour do you use?

  152. Jan
    March 5, 2008

    I made this recipe, and they turned out perfectly-heres what I did. I creamed tbe (cold) butter (2 sticks cut in half Tblspoon chunks) with both sugars-white and brown (3/4 cup eachl) in a mixer. Added 2 eggs, 3/4 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and mixed well. Then I slowly added 2 1/2 cups of AP flour in the mixer. I hand mixed in the last half cup of flour. Then I added the walnuts (1 cup) and (2 cups) of choc chips and mixed by hand in the mixing bowl. This yielded 11- 5 ounce cookies, which I formed into balls by hand, and baked on parchment paper at 375 for 17 minutes. These cookies did not spread out and get flat, they kept nearly the same shape as when I placed them on the cookies sheets. They were golden brown on top, and soft on the inside! This is Lisa’s recipe- they were picture perfect and delish!!

  153. Tiamat
    March 5, 2008

    Phyllis –

    Lisa’s recipe doesn’t say anything about kneading the dough … When you knead a dough, you’re activating the gluten in the flour which will make it more like bread or chewy (& not in a good way) …

    I think what Lisa meant was if you’re using your hands to measure out the amount of dough (like the Levain girls did on “Throwdown”) … as opposed to using a cookie / ice cream scoop … That way, you can actually feel the wetness/stiffness of the dough …

  154. Tiamat
    March 5, 2008

    There’s a recipe for Tollhouse Cookies in my 1961 Betty Crocker cookbook …

    It claims to be the original recipe …

    It’s NOT the same as the recipe that’s on the back of the bag … Same ingredients, just different amounts …

    Oddly enough … It says IF you want a cookie that’s soft & puffy, to add more flour …

  155. Lisa
    March 5, 2008

    Jan, that’s great that they turned out so well for you! Don’t forget to store them in an airtight container (with a piece of bread if you want), after you’ve eaten your share for the day, to keep them soft and fresh. The Levain Bakery cookies (and most homebaked cookies in general) start to harden after several hours of being left out, to a day or so too, so whenever we buy cookies from them, we put them in containers too, if we didn’t finish them all first. :P You can also give them a 5 to 10 second nuke in the microwave to get the ‘gooey’ back to the way it was right out of the oven.

    Phyllis,

    “”I do not live in a high altitude area. I always use unbleached flour. Maybe I should add the flour all at once. I saved part of the 3 cups for kneading process at the end, on the counter top.””

    EXACTLY what Tiamet said. You don’t hold back flour to ‘knead’ into the dough. Just dump it all in with the leaven and salt — or add it slowly while mixing with the stand mixer or beaters, until it has the right consistency and is uniform.

    Again, FEEL the dough to make sure it’s the right cookie dough texture. It’s hard to explain, but you just know- I compare it to the texture of cold cookie dough in a tube. THEN, dump it out onto a clean counter, board, or sheet, and just give it a couple light squeezes to make sure the chips and nuts are evenly incorporated. NO KNEADING!! I think that could be your problem.

  156. Stephanie
    March 5, 2008

    Yes, when the word “knead” is being used perhaps a better description would be gently fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts with your hands on the counter top. I have made these twice now using this method since I have a hand mixer and not a stand mixer. If I tried to use the mixer to blend in choc chips and walnuts, I’d blow out the motor! so hand folding in was the way to go for me. I added 3 cups of flour both times and went one cup at time, mixing until just incorporated.

  157. PHYLLIS
    March 5, 2008

    Stephanie (and others),

    Is it messy when you fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts with your hands on the counter top? Do you dust the counter top with a tiny bit of flour, and your hands too? When you empty the dough from your bowl, are there any dry, crumbly parts of dough? Do you just squeeze these parts in to the dough too?
    I like to clean the bowl out quite well. Do you?

    Lisa (and others),

    How much flour do you actually use? Is it the same amount every time?
    I forced 3 cups of flour into my dough today…
    I told the dough that it had NO CHOICE.
    The dough did not want so much flour.
    It coughed and sputtered and was very stubborn, and sad, and unhappy, and thick.
    The cookies were very nice, still not mountainous. Next time I will have to be even more insistent with my dough…it will not be very happy with me. Doesn’t your dough ever act stubborn about swallowing so much flour all at once—the only way to do this DOES seem to be all at once. I feel mean forcing so much flour in to my dough. It seems rather much. But if it means mountainous cookies, I will try even harder next time. Thankyou, everyone, for your recipes and your helpful comments. I sort of wonder how the ladies at Levain Bakery ever invented this recipe, since I have had so much trouble making them right—even with Lisa’s wonderful copycat recipe to guide me along. I am still amazed how much flour goes in to these cookies (and not easily.) I have a kitchen aid mixer, so this should be an easy task. But the concept is new to me, using so much flour. It makes me think that the ginger cookies would, indeed, require that larger amount of flour, since they have the molasses in them. Is anyone else surprised by how much flour is required to get a mountainous cookie? It does work. But I still find it surprising that my cookies require so much flour. Thanks a bunch for your comments, everyone.

  158. Lisa
    March 5, 2008

    Phyllis,

    3 cups of flour isn’t too much when added to 1 cup of butter and two eggs. Are you using the scoop and sweep method (this is where you scoop the cup into the flour bin or bag, then sweep off the excess at the top with a long, flat implement, such as a spatula or a knife) or the spoon and sweep method (where you lightly spoon the flour into the cup and then sweep off the excess at the top with a long, flat implement)? Believe it or not, it makes a difference, especially when weighed. I use the spoon and sweep method.

    That said, for the life of me, I can’t figure out what’s happening here. Your dough should take the flour easily, and remain moist, uniform and not that sticky at all (no flour needed to use your hands to mix or portion it out).

  159. Lisa
    March 5, 2008

    Phyllis,

    BTW..i forgot to mention, (since the edit function doesn’t work for me), I use up to 3 1/2 cups of flour. I never use just 3 cups, and it’s perfect. No dry, crumbly bits. What kind of mixer are you using? Are you creaming the butter and sugars until it’s light, fluffy and uniform? Adding the eggs one at a time until each one is incorporated?

  160. pink bowl baker
    March 5, 2008

    Phyllis, this is a mystery to me also, as I had no problem incorporating the three cups of flour. Have you looked at the photos here again? The cookies are not sky scrapers, just nice a nice fairly tall handful. Mine were pretty much a perfect match to those in the photograph. I have been reading and following and just can’t for the life of me figure this conundrum out…… I want to make another batch, because its FUN! Unfortunately, with all the batches I made my freezer is still chock full. I started with Alton Browns ‘chewy’ version.. flat as pancakes and still can’t pass em off on on anyone! Next I went to the Cooks Illustrated recipe.. not quite there yet but an improvement over Alton’s, Then on to the Levain’s dark chocolate coconuts, (wonderful) and the Valrhona ginger…converted to chocolate chip (also loved ‘em,with the molasses) then Lisa’s version (perfect) I guess just need to put them on my back porch for my little squirrel friend so I can get busy and start again!

  161. PHYLLIS
    March 5, 2008

    I have been adding the 2 eggs at the same time.
    Is that a big mistake?
    Why or why not?

    I measure the flour lightly
    by one third cups
    until I have 3 cups, level….
    not packed
    and not heaping.

    Luckily, my husband has a ton of friends and acqaintances
    so it has been very easy to give cookies away
    and people are most happy about receiving them.
    That makes it all the more fun to practice…
    and I am improving….thanks to all of your many suggestions…

    I still am wondering how creamy is
    creamed?
    How light is fluffy?
    but, no matter….I will keep trying…
    and in the meantime I do believe Lisa’s recipe to be fantastic.
    I just need to master some technique related skills.
    Thankyou for each and every one of your suggestions.
    Have fun with your cookies…
    (I do go back and re-read your comments, everyone. They are helpful.)

  162. MarySC
    March 5, 2008

    I also found this site searching for Levain copy-cats after seeing the Throwdown, and have really enjoyed all the discussion. Now I’m ready to throw my two cents in!!

    I made Lisa’s recipe exactly, doing it all in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I used 3 cups of flour; the dough felt perfect to me at that amount. The recipe made 12 4 ounce cookies.

    Just for fun, I made half the dough without vanilla and half with. (I was very surprised by the comments from Levain bakers about vanilla not being needed since I use it in virtually all my baked goods.) I (and several other taste-testers) thought the cookies with vanilla were better. There was a definite difference– the cookies had a more complex flavor.

    AND I baked half the cookies on a plain cookie sheet with a Silpat and half on a non-stick insulated cookie sheet. While both pans came out fine, the ones on the insulated sheet were lighter on the bottom and they came right off the pan after 2 minutes of cooling. I baked them at 375 for about 18 minutes; they were very light brown top and bottom, crisp on the edges and soft in the middle. I use insulated sheets for many cookies, including shortbread, sugar cookies, and other recipes that I don’t want to brown on the bottom. Most recipes require a few extra minutes on insulated pans.

    I do agree with Stephanie that perhaps there were too many chocolate chips for my taste; I’ll cut back to 1.5 cups next time.

    I thought the cookies were great and will definitely make them again. While they won’t replace my absolute favorite CC cookies that I’ve been making for 25 years (part oatmeal and foolproof), they’ll be a nice alternative!!

  163. Lisa
    March 6, 2008

    Phyllis,

    I got this for another site, which describes what to look for when butter is perfectly creamed.

    Now, if you start with room temp butter, you risk the chance of the butter softening too much, which can diminish it’s ability to hold air, which is why I stress starting with cold butter for this particular cookie. Here’s what to look for to know when you’re butter is perfectly creamed..

    .1. Volume of the butter and sugar has increased;

    2. Color of the butter has become lighter (described as pale ivory);

    3. Texture becomes fluffy and the butter still retains its plastic-like shape;

    4. The mixture has numerous ridges in it from the beaters and is sticky when they are lifted;

    5. The mixture coats the bottom and slightly up the sides of the bowl, from 1/8 to a 1/4 of an inch thick.

    6. When touched, it will have the consistency of a thick, gritty (from the sugar) facial scrub..kind of like St. Ives Apricot Scrub (if you’ve ever used/felt it).

    After this, you would add the eggs one at a time. I prefer this method over adding both eggs at once because it insures me that each egg is fully incorporated into the butter-sugar mixture and I think it takes less beating in doing so. This is also where you would add vanilla if you decide to use it.

    MarySC — I used a little over a tsp of vanilla in a white chocolate-macadamia version yesterday, and there was definitely a difference. I liked it, even though it’s not used by the Levain chicks.

  164. PHYLLIS
    March 6, 2008

    I remember the Levain ladies saying that they like to
    “keep things simple”—-
    in regards to their not using vanilla.
    And they said something like
    “it is not necessary” or “does not add that much.”

    I GREATLY prefer pure vanilla,
    and that is the only kind that I ever use.

    The Levain ladies say that they use the best of everything.
    I am wondering if they, too, might prefer pure vanilla.
    It is pricey. Maybe that is why they say it is not necessary.

    Also, I don’t think I would miss the vanilla
    if I used 2 cups of chocolate chips.
    Maybe that is what they are saying?
    The chocolate flavor is so powerful
    that maybe it would make the vanilla un-notice/able.
    I am only guessing at all of this.
    But I do greatly prefer pure vanilla.
    What do the rest of you say?
    If we use pure butter
    why would we use imitation vanilla?
    What would you expect Levain Bakery to use?
    The cheaper? or the more pure?
    I am guessing that they would use the pure one IF they ever used any at all.
    But, maybe not, since it is so pricey, and they have to bake in such big quantity.
    I was just wondering about this vanilla factor.

    Lisa, thankyou for the information on how to cream the butter and sugar.
    I am thinking that I do not do that right. I will work on it, and let you know if this changes things for me. Thanks a bunch.

  165. MarySC
    March 6, 2008

    I could definitely tell a difference, even with all the chocolate chips, when there was no vanilla.

    I have always used pure vanilla, but in the Cook’s Illustrated “Best Recipe” cookbook, where they test (and describe) dozens of variations to perfect each recipe, there was a sidebar on vanilla. “The results of this tasting were so shocking that we repeated it… tasters couldn’t tell the difference between real and imitation vanilla. Although we are loath to recommend an imitation product, it seems that most people don’t mind imitation extract, and , in fact, many tasters actually like its flavor. It turns out that most people, including pastry chefs, can’t even tell the difference. Note that you won’t save money by choosing an imitation extract- it costs about the same as pure vanilla.”

    I’ve always thought imitation was cheaper but haven’t really looked… I get my pure vanilla in BIG bottles, from Mexico whenever I can (thanks Tracy!!!)

  166. Lisa
    March 6, 2008

    Mary,

    I read that CI vanilla tasting, and was a little shocked by it, but I still use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, although it’s a little pricey. Using the purest and freshest ingredients pretty much always gives you a superior product, so, like you..I’m ok with it. I would never, ever resort to imitation vanilla, even if Jacques Torres *gasp* recommended it..lol

    Phyllis,

    You’re very welcome, and I hope this it what ends being the problem. I’m pretty sure the creaming of the ‘cold’ butter is a pretty decent part of what makes these cookies stay puffy, since the beating would bring the butter to room temp or just a little above room temp, whereas when starting with room temp butter, it softens much, much more when beaten, hence more spreading in the oven.

    If you watched the Levain Throwdown, they added cubed butter. Now, I don’t know if they cubed it so it would reach room temperature more rapidly, or because they prefer to cream it cold also, OR, because they didn’t want to give away any specific amounts…but it’s something to think about when dealing with this cookie.

  167. PHYLLIS
    March 6, 2008

    I would never, ever resort to imitation vanilla.

  168. Tiamat
    March 6, 2008

    The bit with the cold vs room temp butter as well as the sugar mixing is best put this way (which I borrowed from a very reputable site) …

    DO NOT over cream the fat and sugar when making a drop cookie dough recipe because it aerates the cookie dough too much. This causes them to puff up in the oven and then fall into a flat, greasy pancake-like cookie.

    Having the butter in cubes produces a shorter creaming time … So, the butter doesn’t get warm …

    Chilling the dough overnight or in the freezer will help with the “spreading” problems … As will using cold cookie sheets …

    Lisa / Phyllis – I was always taught to spoon the flour into the cup & then level it off … Then I looked in the back of my 1961 Betty Crocker cookbook & they show that one should scoop the cup into the flour (just like Barefoot Contessa & Giada De Laurentiis do on tv) & then level it off … The scoop method actually winds up compacting the flour & you get too much in your doughs … Plus, with the spooning method, you’re also aerating the flour …

    There has been some quality issues with “real” Vanilla popping up in the last 5-10 yrs … Some areas have a problem with watering down the vanilla extract because it’s sooo expensive /time consuming to produce it … Vanilla is part of the orchid family & there’s no known propagator for the Vanilla flowers, they have to be propagated by hand … Watering down the “real” leads to bigger profits for the producers … Last I heard, the Tahitian vanilla extract was the least likely to have this problem and Mexico / Madagascar / etc were more likely to have the problem …

  169. PHYLLIS
    March 6, 2008

    I love real=pure vanilla. Normally I pay $2.50 for a tiny little bottle, at Dollar General store. That is the cheapest that I can find it anywhere, and they do not carry it all of the time. I like to use natural products, and that is also why I use unbleached flour. It would be interesting to know why the Levain girls do not use vanilla. All of the reasons….are there reasons that they did not tell us? I imagine that they do use vanilla in some of their other products/baked goods. Don’t you?
    To be perfectly honest, I prefer 1.3 cups of chocolate chips in my cookies, because, for me, the chocolate flavor can be overwhelming. I really like the cookie dough texture, in Lisa’s recipe. It is so much fun to see how each batch turns out so differently from the previous batches. Last time, when I baked the cookies, I gave my son the task of taking the cookies out, when HE thought they were done. They were not very raw-ish in the middle. But sometimes they are all gooey with chocolate, and creamy, and messy, and wonderful…like warm hot fudge. At a moment like that, I am not even thinking about vanilla at all. So, to me, the cookies can stand on their own two feet. I sort of wonder if the Levain girls dont use vanilla because they really believe that it is not necessary….
    no one has ever told me that my cookies are missing vanilla….Perhaps they would be even tastier with some real vanilla in them. But I am trying to do EXACTLY LEVAIN as much as I possibly can. Otherwise, I would traditonally use the vanilla…..But right now I am trying to perfect the Levain cccookie recipe that Lisa came up with…however, I seldom put the walnuts in, because 1.) I am still practicing the basic recipe 2.) I prefer my walnuts plain, all by themselves 3.) walnuts cannot be improved upon 4.) I occasionally put some in 5.) Many people cannot tolerate, or do not like walnuts. Which reminds me, I wonder if the Levain bakery makes chocolate chip cookies without any nuts at all? for the folks who do not want nuts? The general public seems to be so divided on the issue of walnuts in their cookies. And even more people do not like peanuts or black walnuts….not that we would put them in our cccookies anyway….

    Lisa, how did your recipe go
    for the macadamia nut and white chip cookies?
    That version sounded wonderful to me…
    I would like to know more about that version, please.
    Thankyou very much.

  170. Tiamat
    March 6, 2008

    I don’t think price is an issue with the Levain girls as they buy their supplies in quantity from a wholesaler … I think they’re just trying to be “different” … Or they think the Vanilla will make their cookies “too rich” as Vanilla is a flavor enhancer …

    I get my Vanilla at Costco … and it’s McCormick brand … Plus, I know that Jim Sinegal’s not going to buy cheap crappy products …

    I always use Vanilla in my baked goods … and have noticed a big difference in cookies that don’t use it …

    One could compare Vanilla in baked goods to Lemon used in other dishes … It brightens / enhances the flavor of the main ingredient & overall dish … Or how in some Chocolate dishes, you’ll see coffee added to it as to enhance the flavor of the chocolate …

    This is what I found on the McCormick Spice site:

    McCormick Pure Vanilla derives its rich subtle flavor from the finest quality imported Vanilla Beans. A teaspoon of Pure Vanilla is a wonderful way to enhance the flavor of many foods. Vanilla is so versatile, it is one of the world’s most loved and tantalizing flavors.

    Flavorful Tips

    Enhance the flavor of your favorite cake, muffin, or brownie mix with 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla.

    Round out the sweetness and boost the flavor of fruit salads by adding 1 teaspoon to 4 cups of fruit.

    For richer flavor and enticing aroma, start with 1/4 teaspoon to one cup coffee, hot chocolate or tea.

    Vanilla can also enhance the flavor of meat sauces, marinades and vinaigrettes.

    Balance savory meat flavors by adding vanilla to sauces or glazes for chicken, pork or shellfish.

  171. PHYLLIS
    March 6, 2008

    I, too, use vanilla, always, if the recipe calls for it.
    But, since the Levain recipe has not called for it—
    those Levain ladies do not seem to think it makes enough difference for them to use it.
    In our own kitchens, we can do whatever we like. Lisa’s copycat recipe does not call for vanilla, either, as I understand it.

  172. Lisa
    March 7, 2008

    Tiamat,

    I use a KA stand mixer, so it’s a lot easier to break down the cold butter and sugars into a light, fluffy uniform mix, without overbeating. My final dough is still a little cool, which helps the cookie hold it’s structure a little better. For most other cookie recipes, I always let the butter come to room temp, but when I tried it with the Levain copycat, the cookies weren’t as puffy as they are when I start with cold butter, so I’m sticking with what works for me with this particular cookie.

    That said..really great info about vanilla. No idea they watered it down due to the expense and labor. I just might have to look into Tahitian (my favorite vanilla bean, since it’s so plump and almost floral).

    Phyllis,

    I just substituted white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts for the semisweet chips and walnuts in the base recipe way up above. You can add whatever your heart desires to these cookies.

    As for your ‘with or without’ vanilla conundrum, by all means, add it to the cookie. It doesn’t have to be ‘exactly’ like Levains. Like I said several posts ago..I’m sure many people buy a Levain cookie and think..”I would love this without the walnuts, and coconut instead”, or “This cookie would be better with some vanilla”. The skies the limit, Phyllis, make them to suit your own taste as far as flavorings, chips and nuts go.

  173. PHYLLIS
    March 7, 2008

    I use a KA mixer too.
    Which paddle do you use?
    The dough hook? or the more all purpose hook?
    Do you use the same hook for the entire job?
    thanks a bunch….

    I won’t be adding vanilla to this ccwalnut cookie recipe,
    simply because the Levain girls did not use it.
    I want to stick to their recipe
    when I make this particular cookie.

  174. Lisa
    March 7, 2008

    Phyllis,

    I use a paddle for the whole thing, as , if you recall, you don’t want to knead cookie dough.

    As far as my copycat recipe goes, that’s just what it is. We don’t know what Levain’s recipe is, and I’m sure I’m off on several amounts or ingredients, but you’d never know it by the texture, look, taste etc. :)

  175. PHYLLIS
    March 7, 2008

    It was fun to see the photograph which I discovered for the first time today.
    Serious eats
    required eating
    photo of the day
    Levain Bakery chocolate chip walnut cookie
    cut in half
    posted by Robyn Lee…

    I was thinking
    that if we make our cookies that large
    6 ounces each,
    then the middle of our cookies would tend to be even more raw-ish.
    That seems logical, don’t you think?

    Probably, it would only get more done on the outside
    and not more done in the middle…
    so my last minutes of baking
    would mostly be browning up the outside shell of the cookie.

    I have become very thankful for Lisa’s recipe.
    I don’t really want to make my cookies any bigger…
    who could eat a 6 oz cookie, anyway?
    Even a 4 oz cookie is quite a meal.
    And cookies were designed, in my opinion,
    to be eaten at one sitting.
    (I am guessing.)

    I liked the photograph
    which I described in the beginning of this comment…
    because it sort of helped me to understand the cookie
    a little bit more.
    It reminds me of an ice cream sandwich.
    Crusty shell.
    Softer in the middle.

    They say one picture is worth a thousand words…
    this picture made me see the cookie as sort of a sandwich,
    full of walnuts and chocolate chips.
    I know that is what everyone has been saying.
    But I really liked seeing the pictures of this cookie,
    cut in half.

    Lisa, I love, love, love your copycat recipe. I made the cookies again today.
    Maybe for the 8th time.
    I am improving.
    I have not chilled the dough, ever.
    But I want to do that next time…
    I upped the flour today, to 3.25 cups.
    It worked well.
    It is very easy to overbake these cookies.
    It is definitely an art, to know when, exactly, to take them out of the oven.
    Golden brown edges at base of cookie=perfect in the middle
    golden brown on top of cookie=no longer rawish in the middle
    lighter brown on top of cookie=perfect in the middle
    This is what works for me, with my oven.
    I had to come up with some sort of guideline,
    since we dont use a meat thermometer on our cookies.
    Also, 350 degrees works for me, and ABOUT 13-15 minutes.
    Perhaps my oven runs hot.
    Thankyou for the copycat recipe, Lisa.
    Thanks a bunch. (I dont like my cookies too raw in the middle, either. But they do have to be a little more rawish for some of my taster people. They consider that to be crucial.) Your recipe works for everyone.

  176. Elaine
    March 8, 2008

    Just checking back here.. I have now made Lisa’s recipe for the cc cookies 6 times and the dark chocolate with peanut butter chips three times.. Each time they were perfect. Been subbing at my son’s high school It is a tech school and mostly all boys.. took them in yesterday and the day before.. all the kids said it is sthe BEST cookie they ever had.. also took them in for the teachers and three wanted the recipe!!
    I have used vanilla after making the first batch and I think it improves the taste tremendously.. I also use pure vanilla.. and when I made the DCPBC cookies I used Reeses pnb chips..

    I want to try something else.. anyone have a great molasses cookie that is soft and chewy.. and one other recipe I am looking for.. our local coop sells a lemon cookie with lemon icing that is to die for.. I have begged for the recipe but no luck! It is almost cakelike in consistency and has a wonderful flavor.. the icing won’t be a problem I htink it is just powdered sugar and lemon juice.. I have tried making them using a lemon cake mix, but no luck.. would welcome any recipes.. Thanks ladies.. this is fun!!

    Elaine

  177. Lisa
    March 8, 2008

    Elaine, one thing I left out in the DCPBC recipe is that I use Dutch process cocoa. If you prefer to use natural, unsweetened cocoa, add 1/4 tsp of baking soda. Regardless, I’m glad they’ve worked out so well for you!

    That said, regarding the ‘cake like’ lemon cookie with lemon icing, my first thought was, maybe they use a cake mix to make the cookies? Here’s a recipe that ‘could’ be it..maybe?

  178. Lisa
    March 8, 2008

    Oops..my ‘html’ code didn’t work for me here link wise. Here’s the url for the lemon cookies.

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Lemon-Cookies/Detail.aspx?src=rss

    Here’s another one from ‘scratch’ although it contains some honey it.

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Honey-Lemon-Cookies/Detail.aspx

  179. Tonia
    March 8, 2008

    Has anyone ever tried adding cream cheese to the chocolate chip cookie dough? I recently found a recipe that calls for it. It said it gives the dough a really nice texture and helps keep it soft and chewy.

  180. Elaine
    March 8, 2008

    Lisa,, waaahh. the link didn’t work.. I did wonder if they used a cake mix, but someone told me they did not and she works there. still wouldlike to see your recipe!!

  181. PHYLLIS
    March 8, 2008

    Elaine, when you make the ccwalnut cookies for high schoolers, what size do you make the cookies? How many per batch of dough? 12 cookies? or more?
    I made 16 per batch, on one occasion, for a group setting, and they were a very generous size too.

  182. Lisa
    March 9, 2008

    Elaine,

    Here’s another link to the cake mix cookies.

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Lemon-Cake-Cookies-with-Icing/Detail.aspx

    Since they don’t use cake mix in the cookie recipe your covet, I’d blow it off, since the boxed cake mixes taste s..oh, I don’t know..fake? Since I bake/cook most everything from scratch, I don’t really enjoy the flavor of a cake made from a prepackaged cake mix.

    However, I have an old Pillsbury ‘best of’ the bake-off cookbook, that my grandmother gave me, and it has a recipe for ‘Lemon-Go-Lightly Cookies’, which use instant mashed potatoes in the dough, giving the cookie a cake like interior. I’ll have to dig for the book, since it’s still in a box from moving! That said, here’s a link to a really good frosted lemon cookie, according to a friend who sent it to me several months ago.

    http://www.landolakes.com/mealIdeas/ViewRecipe.cfm?RecipeID=2405B

    I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks tasty.

    Also, Everyday Baking from Martha Stewart did a lemon sandwich cookie with a lemon cream cheese filling that turned out really good. I know these aren’t what you’re looking for, but I thought I’d share anyway.

    http://www.pbs.org/everydayfood/baking/recipes/lemon_sandwich_cookies.html

    Jessica, thanks so much for the links. Bookmarked :) Mason is fun to watch, so I’m looking forward to it.

    That said, hmmm regarding the olive cobbler. I understand the bitter plus sweet is probably cool, but again, it would probably be another *as you put it* cerebral experience, instead of a way to satisfy an intense dessert craving. Love olives, but not sure I could take them in a dessert! Then again, one must try before judging!

  183. PHYLLIS
    March 9, 2008

    I made the dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookies today for the first time.
    They turned out very well. I liked the combination of peanut butter, and chocolate chips. But the peanut butter chips do not seem to melt very much, not that it matters…..I am sending them off to a college student, and he will like it just as it is. This dough was more firm, and it was easier to make a tall cookie, before baking, that stood taller, more easily…
    I am thinking that a taller baseball (before baking) will make a taller cookie when it is done baking. I love Lisa’s copycat recipes. But I am still hoping to get my cookies to go taller, rather than wider. This has been fun to strive for. Next time I am going to make the baseballs taller, just for the fun of it.
    Not that it at all important….I am just curious.

    Levain ladies,

    Any chance that you would give us some tips? if we are off a bit in our calculations? We sure do admire your cookies.

  184. Tiamat
    March 9, 2008

    Elaine – There’s a good lemon drop cookie recipe in the older Betty Crocker cookbooks as well as one for a “molasses crinkle” cookie … eBay’s got a lot of the cookbooks (it’s circa 1961) like I have …

    Ya know … I’ve found that the moisture level of the baked cookies depends on what kind of container I use to store them in … If I put them in a Rubbermaid box, they tend to dry out (even though it’s completely sealed) … If I put them in my funky cake box, they tend to stay soft / chewy / moist (but it doesn’t have a tight seal on it) …

    The Levain girls were on an episode of “Roker on the Road” and they made the cookies with Al Roker … But … They only used the top level of their oven and they had inverted sheet pans on the oven floor and put the cookie sheet with the dough on top of them … They said they had to use the top cause the oven temp was some insane amount like 800 degrees or something … So, I was really surprised to hear them say 350 when they were on “Throwdown” (but they were also using a mini convection oven … I would almost swear that I remember them putting vanilla in the dough … I wish Food Network would re-air that episode of “Roker on the Road” …

  185. Tiamat
    March 9, 2008

    Phyllis – Did you use the Reese’s peanut butter chips?? They’re the best … But … All chips have Lecithin in them to keep them from melting completely …

  186. kevin
    March 9, 2008

    Hi

    Does anyone have a perfected recipe of the levain chocolate chip walnut cookies?
    I have just seen the episode and want to try making these

    Thank you
    Kevin

  187. PHYLLIS
    March 9, 2008

    Yes, I used Reese’s peanut butter chips. I was disappointed that they were not melty…..squishy, when warm, like the chocolate chips are squishy when warm. I was looking forward to that, and imagining how melty they would be…. I was also surprised that the cookies were not more dark. And it was hard for me to tell when they were done baking…because of their darker color. My tasters preferred these cookies, over the ccwalnut cookies. My tasters like peanut butter chips. Next time I will bake these cookies shorter…..My family does not like even SLIGHTLY OVERDONE cookies. The challenge for me is always to get them out of the oven soon enough. 13 to 15 minutes seems to work well in my oven.

  188. Elaine
    March 11, 2008

    Thanks for all the responses.. I will try the lemon cookies Lisa..

    Phyllis- when I make the cookies I do make them smaller.. mainly so I will get more out of the batch! they are still a good size. I think I got about 18 out of it..

    I use the Reeses chips and mine did seem to melt.. I also put some chocolate chips in there too. had a few left over!! I am not sure if I mentioned this, but I added baking powder about a teaspoon and baking soda about a half a teaspoon to my chocolate peanut butter chip cookies. The first batch were like hocky pucks!!

    I have several of the old Betty Crocker books. will have to do some research.. but like you Lisa, they are still packed.. we moved in June to a house half the size of our old one (you know, two kids flying the nest,, thinking it would be a good thing.. hah!!! someone should of told us they COME BACK!! I still am clinging to my scrapbook room and will fight with my last breath before I give it up, but I am afraid some things won’t get unpacked for a bit..

    I hate to say this, and hope I don’t offend anyone, but I find many of Martha’s recipes just don’t turn out very well. and I am pretty sure it isn’t me.. I have found it is hit and miss with her stuff. this is awful, but I wonder if she gives the incorrect ingredients sometimes.. or just gives them wrong… I like Martha.. I even have her magazine, but just not crazy about many of her recipes..

    Well, today is my birthday and I am off to make the Chez Panisse Molasses cookies.. also my 25th anniversary.. out to dinner tonight.. wish we were in New York and could go to some really unusual place.. Here in Boise, you are limited.. but I love living here!!

    Elaine

  189. PHYLLIS
    March 11, 2008

    Lisa, what would happen if I added one more egg to your ccwalnut cookie recipe?
    Any idea?

  190. Lisa
    March 12, 2008

    Phyllis,

    I don’t know..I’d have to try it first to give you a concrete answer. However, you’d definitely have to add a little more flour, as the dough would be wetter, and other possible ingredient adjustments. That said..I know one thing for sure.., you’d have a much richer cookie.

    Why don’t you give it a shot and let us know how it turned out? :)

  191. Tonia
    March 12, 2008

    I added another yolk to the dough beacuse I wanted a richer cookie. I did not add more flour and I found the cookie to be moister and chewier, even after 3 days in a ziploc bag. However, the cookie did not reach the same height as the Levain cookies. My boyfriend said it was the most delicious one I have made so far.

  192. Jo
    March 12, 2008

    Levain Cookies for the Troops?!!

    Hello,

    First of all, I can’t tell you how excited I was to come across this blog entry after searching for the Levain recipe after watching Throwdown. With that, a big thanks to Jessica, Lisa, and everyone else who figured out this recipe!

    I do have one question that I would appreciate help on. I’m sending care packages to a friend and his platoon in Iraq, and plan to include a batch of these huge cookies as a surprise treat (otherwise they generally like cookies that they can throw in pockets to eat while on maneuvers). However, I’ll need to use shortening (butter goes rancid, and although temperatures are cooler this time of year, I don’t want to take the chance!). My thought is to use Crisco Butter Flavor Shortening (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water)- does any one know if the cookies will turn out the same, and what, if any, adjustments need to be made? Thanks so much!

  193. pink bowl baker
    March 12, 2008

    It took us F O R E V E R to eat through and give away all of the cookies I made for Valantine’s Day from just this blog site. I was compelled to make the Dark Chocolate Coconut Walnut, hideously wonderful for any chocolate lover, the Valrhona Ginger, also stellar, and the converted ginger cookie into a Chocolate Chip, leaving the sugars as is, and keeping the molasses.. On top of that, I also baked Alton Browns Chew (ugh..just not for us) and Cooks Illustrated version.. better than Alton’s for sure, but still not where I wanted them. We had cookies for weeks! BIG COOKIES! I have anxiously been waiting for all of the cookies to disappear so I could try Lisa’s version. I thought the last place stragglers would NEVER get eaten, but my cookie loving family finally felt deprived long enough that they gave in and ate the dud’s. This morning I finally discovered the last zip-lock bag, empty, and left in the freezer bottom. (of course! Two steps to the trash can is just too far for the ‘boys’ travel off their course!) It didn’t take me long to get baking. I made the recipe using Lisa’s version and the cookies are perfect in size and shape, in my opinion. My family, however, actually like the converted recipe using the Valrhona recipes with molasses instead of the brown sugar! They appreciated its more hardy, caramel-y taste, which others here found not to their liking. They rose about the same, I did chill my cookie dough in the freezer on the baking sheet for just a few minutes before popping the pan into the oven, but I have always done that with all of my cookie recipes. Thank you to everyone who contributed, I believe for my family, I have found my perfect chocolate chip cookie in the Valrhona Ginger Cookie with molasses. So chewy and butterscotch-y, and still a nice tall handful of cookie!

  194. Ling
    March 13, 2008

    Lisa,

    Thank you so much for figuring out the Levain cc walnut cookie recipe! I have been trying to experiment and been watching the throwdown segment over and over again, trying to figure it out! I was thinking it needed baking powder and soda but could not quite figure out the ratios! I’ll try to make it this weekend and see how it comes out!

  195. Joi
    March 13, 2008

    Here is a recipe for the Elaine for lemon cookies I thought the combo of lemon and rosemary sounded fabulous!
    Lemon-Rosemary Butter Cookies from the April 08 issue of Vegetarian Times
    (it’s not on their website, so I’m posting the whole thing)
    4 oz (1 stick) butter, softened
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
    1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
    2 egg yolks
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup flour
    1/3 cup corn flower
    1-1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup turbinado or sanding sugar for decorating
    Beat butter, sugar, rosemary and lemon zest with electric mixer 3 minutes, or until creamy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture, and beat until just combined. Shape into 2 1″ wide logs. Wrap in wax paper, and chill 2 hours. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Slice cookies into 1/3″ thick rounds. Place turbinado sugar in bowl and press one cut side of cookies into sugar. Place sugar-side up on baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown on bottoms. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

    I think the lemon and rosemary sounds divine! LMK if anyone makes them, I don’t think I’ll get to it any time soon!

  196. Lisa
    March 13, 2008

    Ling,

    You’re very welcome! I’ve been gorging on Levain’s cookies for years, so I was so pumped when they showed up on Throwdown. It was finally a way to gain access into figuring out the recipe. With the addition of Jessica’s recipes, the mystery was finally solved (or as close to ‘solved’ as you can get). Please let us know how they turn out for you. :)

    Jo,
    Wow..you’re friend and his platoon are a lucky bunch to be getting these cookies. :)

    Regarding your butter flavored Crisco inquiry, ofcourse you can substitute it. The cookies will have a slightly inferior flavor, and they’ll probably be more crunchy then chewy/gooey, so I would recommend underbaking them a little, kind of like Levain does, 350 for 16-20 minutes. Also, when you package them, throw a few slices of bread in, so they stay really moist.

  197. Lisa
    March 13, 2008

    Ling,

    You’re very welcome! I’ve been gorging on Levain’s cookies for years, so I was so pumped when they showed up on Throwdown. It was finally a way to gain access into figuring out the recipe. With the addition of Jessica’s recipes, the mystery was finally solved (or as close to ‘solved’ as you can get). Please let us know how they turn out for you. :)

    Jo,
    Wow..you’re friend and his platoon are a lucky bunch to be getting these cookies!

    Regarding your butter flavored Crisco inquiry, ofcourse you can substitute it. The cookies will have a slightly inferior flavor, and they’ll probably be more crunchy than chewy/gooey, so I would recommend underbaking them a little, kind of like Levain does, 350 for 16-20 minutes. Also, when you package them, throw a few slices of bread in the container or bag the cookies are in, so they stay moist.

  198. Tiamat
    March 13, 2008

    Phyllis – If you’re still having problems with the “height” of your cookies, the only thing that I can think of is that your beating to much air into your butter & sugar … which creates air pockets … So, when baked, the cookies rise but fall after cooling …

    You could also try shaping them into less of a ball shape and more like an egg shape …

    Not to sound snarky … But why would you want to add an extra egg to the cookie dough?? I’m not sure what that would do to the dough … I think the eggs were the only thing that we had a specific measurement of from the Levain girls … LOL

  199. Tonia
    March 13, 2008

    One observation – i get a much, much higher cookie if I bake at 375 degrees.

    One question – what is the acid in the cookie that baking soda reacts to? It does not seem to me that there is one and if there is none why do we use it?

  200. Tiamat
    March 13, 2008

    This site http://www.preparedpantry.com has a free downloadable booklet called “About Baking: Ingredients and How They Work” … It’s really interesting and very enlightening … They’ve also got one called “Everything You Need to Know about Chocolate Chip Cookies” … There’s a lot of good stuff on the site …

    I believe the baking soda is reacting to the egg whites … But, I could be wrong … LOL

  201. PHYLLIS
    March 13, 2008

    Tiamat,

    I read that eggs are a form of leavening…
    I want my cookies to be lighter…
    But, you are right, 3 eggs is not the solution.
    I wonder what they used for their SECRET leavening?
    I keep thinking my cookies should be more cake-like.
    I love the ccwalnut copycat recipe.
    I have used it close to ten times…
    But I keep wondering what I could do to make the cookies just a little bit lighter.
    Not much. Just a little bit. I have never tasted a Levain cookie. So, I have to wonder if I could tell a difference, or not. Lisa and her friends say that they cannot tell a difference… So, perhaps I couldn’t either. It would be so much fun if the Levain girls would share their recipe with all of us, and we could compare the copycat recipe, and see just how close we are. Wouldn’t that be FUN?
    I am very grateful for the copycat recipe. I have learned so much about making cookies since that show was on tv….things i never considered before…

    Tonia, I think it was mentioned, in an earlier post, that brown sugar and molasses are both acids….(brown sugar has molasses in it.) I did not know this, until I read it in an earlier post…..(if I am not mistaken.)

  202. PHYLLIS
    March 13, 2008

    Tiamat,

    I went to your prepared pantry site,
    it was very interesting.
    I had not seen it before.
    I copied down the recipe for Serious Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
    That recipe set me to thinking—
    something that I keep thinking about, on and off,
    and that is,
    that ALL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPES SEEM TO HAVE VERY LITTLE VARIATION.
    Which makes me think the Levain recipe is probably not so very different, either.
    Basically we are adding more flour than most recipes call for….
    that seems to be the only difference…
    but it is a very very very important difference…
    because it keeps the cookies from spreading too much in the oven…

    Also, I wanted to mention that baking powder is not
    listed in most of the chocolate chip recipes “out there”…
    Which makes me believe that the Levain girls used it, but did not want to give that part of the secret away, so they just called it leavening…

    I wonder if they used BOTH
    baking soda and baking powder…
    I think so.

    I would so much love to have the Levain recipe, for sure….
    but I am trying to be happy with the copycat recipe.
    Being content, in life, is a very good thing.
    And my cookies are great….
    even if they are not 100% Levain.
    I am grateful for the copycat recipe, and I have made them about ten times…
    (for my friends).
    I feel certain that the extra flour is very key to Levain cookies.
    But I think we need more leavening…
    to make them a tiny bit lighter…
    a tiny bit more cake-like…
    I keep wanting to up the baking powder,
    or the baking soda…
    by a tiny, tiny bit…
    to see what happens…
    and Tonia may be right that 375 degrees
    gives her a taller cookie…
    as long as I dont BURN MINE….
    which used to happen a lot
    for me
    until I began using parchment paper…
    So sorry to post twice in a row. Your turn, ladies.

  203. Lisa
    March 14, 2008

    Tonia,

    Not only does brown sugar contain acid, but so does chocolate. You’d never know it, eh? ;)

    Phyllis,

    Try using 1 full tsp of baking powder, and 1/2 tsp of baking soda, and see how it turns out.

    To all,

    I was reading some posts at another cookie blog, and one person came up with an interesting theory. What if the Levain gal’s ‘secret’ is actually bread flour? The recipes they posted in Art Culinaire using AP Flour were good, but did not turn out as big and puffy as the ones they sell. Plus, it was also obvious they were created for the book/magazine, as not to give away any secrets to the cookies they sell.

    If anyone is willing to give bread flour a shot, and post the results, it could be sort of a breakthrough, and maybe it will result in a cookie with an ‘outer crust’ that remains thin and crispy even when left out for a long period of time — as my copycat recipe ‘outer crust’ tends to harden a little when left out for long periods (hence why I stress the airtight container or bag ‘thing’) That said, the actual Levain cookies tend to do that too, but hey, why not try and improve on that little ‘imperfection’?

    Yes, bread flour is high in gluten, which you don’t want in a cookie, but you have to knead it well to get that gluten going. As mentioned above, we don’t ‘knead’ cookie dough. Also, how about trying them with cake or pastry flour? I think a little test is needed here. Even though I’m very happy with my original copycat recipe..a little experimentation wouldn’t hurt.

    Another interesting observation..I’ve used bleached and unbleached AP flour in this recipe, and believe it or not, the bleached gives me a higher cookie.

    Finally, I also bake mine (as I mentioned way above) at 375, for anywhere from 16-20 minutes, depending on how much interior ‘goo’ I’m craving.

  204. Lisa
    March 14, 2008

    I forgot to add something regarding the possible bread flour ‘experiment’. Since it absorbs more moisture due to the gluten, you would have to use less of it..like maybe 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups. to avoid a dry, flatter and tougher cookie.

    On the flip side, cake flour contains less gluten, so you would probably have to add more of it, or maybe use some kind of combo of cake or pastry flour with AP Flour. Wow, now I’m going off the deep end here — making things a lot more complicated than they have to be! But hey, striving for ‘perfection’ isn’t that bad..LOL

  205. Elaine
    March 14, 2008

    Thanks for the lemon rosemary cookies recipe.. I actually have some rosemary in the fridge so may give this a try..

    I wondered about using cake flour?? May try that too!!

    I do like the extra baking powder.. my cookies are great, but I would like them a little more cake like.. not sooo heavy..

    Elaine

  206. PHYLLIS
    March 14, 2008

    Lisa, and others who have tasted the Levain bakery cookies….
    are you SURE that their cookies are not a bit lighter?
    I love the baking powder in Lisa’s copycat recipe too!!!!
    I believe in the power of both the baking soda, and the baking powder together.
    Yes. I LIKE THE extra baking powder in this copycat recipe.
    I think it is unique…..and special, and different from most recipes….
    and it gives the cookies a LIFT. I just wanted to make it absolutely clear, that I love the baking powder—-but I realize it is UNIQUE and different than most of the choc chip cookie recipes “out there”. Unique in a BETTER WAY.
    Good job, Lisa…..(I am always very generous with my teaspoon of baking powder. Because I like it so much.)

  207. Lisa
    March 14, 2008

    Elaine and Phyllis,

    Levain’s cookies are heavy and quite dense, although they look ‘light and puffy’. I like them this way. However, this is also why I suggested trying cake or pastry flour, or a combo of either with AP flour, to see what kind of texture it would result in.

    The only caveat for me, regarding my Levain copycat, is the outside of the cookie turning a bit hard and thick when it’s left out for a long period of time. I want to find a way to prevent or slow that down, even though Levain’s do the same.

  208. PHYLLIS
    March 14, 2008

    I just made the doubletree chocolate chip cookie recipe…
    it calls for 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda…
    that seems like a lot…
    no baking powder…
    my cookies did not rise very high with this recipe….
    but i loved the one half cup of oatmeal grinded up….
    because it adds a bit of nutrition….
    i could not taste the cinnamon at all…
    i used a scant quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, like it calls for…
    Lisa, why dont choc chip cookies NORMALLY call for any baking powder?
    why not?
    I am soooooooooooooooooooooooo puzzled by this.
    I want to know….
    please…
    if anyone has an idea on this…
    why do the recipes always call for baking soda, and NEVER any baking powder?
    Why?
    Thanks a bunch for your ideas…
    I would recommend that you ladies try the doubletree recipe…
    for chocolate chip cookies, too…
    they are fun because of the oatmeal and cinnamon….
    but don’t overdo the cinnamon factor, as some people complained about it.
    Personally, I went a bit light on the cinnamon, and i could not even tell it was in the cookies at all.
    I was hoping these cookies would be lighter
    with so much baking soda in them….
    but maybe they needed more flour
    to make them rise a bit more…
    next time I will try more flour in those doubletree cookies.

  209. Lisa
    March 14, 2008

    Phyllis,

    There are a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes that use both, but it does seem like most use just baking soda.

    having said that, the reason for using both in some recipes, is that the baking powder does most of the leavening, whereas the baking soda is added to neutralize any acids in the recipe (chocolate/brown sugar) and make the cookie tender, plus a little bit of leavening.

    To put it simply, a lot of people don’t care how big and puffy their CC cookie is, as long as it tastes good. In the case of the Levain recipe, we want them big and puffy, so we add the baking powder to help them rise.

  210. PHYLLIS
    March 15, 2008

    What does it mean to “neutralize any acids in the recipe”?
    Are you talking about taste? making semi sweet choc chips taste sweet?
    Do you mean neutralize from a flavor standpoint? or otherwise?
    Why do the acids need to be neutralized?
    I guess I need a chemistry lesson.

    Anyway, tomorrow morning I am going to make the copy cat recipe again.
    Lisa’s version. I need 6 dozen bars by next Wednesday. So, I am baking cookies every day, to be sure to have enough. I enjoy baking them every day.
    And the copycat recipe is my favorite one so far…
    mostly I make the ccwalnut cookies….
    but some of my tasters are asking for more of the chocolate peanut butter cookies…so I will make those too.
    THANKYOU FOR ALL OF YOUR comments, everyone…
    your ideas help me out a LOT. We are certainly fine tuning this recipe, aren’t we? It is fantastic, already….

  211. Lisa
    March 15, 2008

    Baking soda ‘neutralizes’ because it’s an alkaline, and an alkaline renders an acid ‘neutral’ (equal) instead of prevalent..similar to taking an antacid for heartburn. In layman’s terms, you don’t want even the slightest acidic taste in a chocolate chip cookie, and baking soda prevents this from happening. Also, baking soda, when combined with acids, causes a chemical reaction (the release of carbon dioxide), which aids in the rise of baked goods.

    Scientifically speaking, you want a balanced pH in your cookie.

  212. Lisa
    March 15, 2008

    BTW, in response to pink bowl’s post about her family enjoying the molasses in the cookie due to the ‘caramely’ taste, if you want a more caramel taste in the Levain cookie, just decrease the white sugar and increase the brown sugar (which is sugar plus molasses).

    On another note, I wanted to try and duplicate the Bouchon Bakery Nutter Butter cookie last night, but the recipe that was provided in the NY times called for 1 lb of butter for one average size batch of the peanut butter cookies.

    I just thought that was too much, and decided to go with a recipe for a great peanut butter cookie by Cook’s Illustrated, that includes very finely chopped or ground (depending on personal preference), salted, roasted peanuts…and then sandwiched them with Bouchon’s recipe for the peanut butter filling. It came out amazing (although the cookie is a little on the thin side — which it should be for a sandwich cookie — it’s still quite large diameter wise, especially with the filling), for all you fans of peanut butter sandwich cookies :) This is the most peanut butter flavor I’ve ever had in a peanut butter cookie (in a good way), something I was looking to achieve for quite some time.

  213. Joi
    March 15, 2008

    Ok, so I’ve made the ccpecan cookies 7 times now, the last 2 times with the addition of good Tahitian vanilla. My husband, brother-in-law and another male friend found the ones WITH vanilla to be more flavorful! I then tried them, and they were right, they have much more ‘depth’ with vanilla added, so that’s not a permanent part of my cookies! I’ve also tried adjusting the flours (with the addition of fresh ground whole wheat flour) along with AP. I am now going to try the addition of oatmeal (at least a cup substituted for the flour), but I will grind 1/2 and use the other half whole (rolled). My original and tried and true cc cookie uses oatmeal, so I can’t wait to try it in this recipe! In today’s version, I used 2 cups AP and 1-1/2 cups of the whole wheat in the ccpecan and then in the dcc I used Scharffen Berger Dark Cocoa Powder, and Dark Chocolate Chunks – it’s my favorite so far. Oh, and also the Tahitian Vanilla. I’m going to mail them overnight to my Grandmother who’s turning 90! But, I haven’t had any problem with staleness – I store mine in a glass cake dome, and they are still yummy 5 days later!
    I think I may try the Nutter Butter recipe – I do NOT like peanut butter, but Nutter Butters were a fave as a child! I couldn’t eat a regular pb cookie, but I’m tempted to try Lisa’s recipe!

  214. Stephanie
    March 15, 2008

    Would you mind sending links to the Nutter Butter Cookie, Lisa? It sounds SOO good, and I have been craving peanut butter all day now! LOL…

  215. Jan
    March 15, 2008

    Jo…i’ve had great success in shipping these wonderous cookies by freezing them over nite in either a ziploc or large tupperware-like container. The next day, I use my ‘seal-a-mealer’ and seal up to 2-4 per bag. This keeps all of the air off of them to keep them fresh, and doesn’t squish them or make them crumble since they started out frozen, and are such a substantial cookie. You just need to make sure they are totally frozen when you seal-a-meal them. You can even write on the outside of each bag (with a marker), should you send a variety of cookies.

    I’ve been baking and seal a mealing like crazy getting ready for the Easter holiday, my freezer is all stocked up, and no one will know they were even frozen! Hope this helps (and you can get your hands on one of these great little machines!)

  216. Lisa
    March 16, 2008

    Stephanie,

    I didn’t use the cookie part of Bouchon’s Nutter Butter recipe, just the filling, but here’s a link to the actual Bouchon Bakery Nutter Butter cookie.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/27/dining/271yrex.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    I just didn’t feel the need to use a whole pound of butter in one cookie recipe, especially when CI’s peanut butter cookie tastes great (in my opinion, with a few personal adjustments), and uses only 2 sticks of butter.

    This is the CI cookie recipe I use, along with the Bouchon filling.

    2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1/2 pound butter (2 sticks), salted
    1 cup packed dark brown sugar *(I use half light brown and half dark brown)
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter *(I use smooth), preferably Jif
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup roasted salted peanuts , ground in food processor to resemble bread crumbs, about 14 pulses (about 1 cup, packed) *(I kept mine chopped very,very fine, but not ground)

    1. Adjust oven rack to low center position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
    2. In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes with electric mixer, stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary. Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture. Add ground peanuts; stir gently until just incorporated.
    3. Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time (see illustration 1 below), roll into large balls, placing them 2 inches apart on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Following illustration 2, press each dough ball with back of dinner fork dipped in cold water to make crisscross design. Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges, but not top, 10 to 12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on cookie sheet until set, about 4 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 7 days.

    I think the reason Bouchon uses that much butter, plus the oats, is because they want a thin, crispy cookie, not unlike the packaged nutter butters The CI cookie is also thin, but softer and chewy, which I think works better with the filling.

  217. Jo
    March 16, 2008

    Lisa,

    Thanks for the clarification and reassurance for the substitution! I am making them tonight and will post how it goes . . .Thanks again.

    Jan,

    Great suggestion! Thank you! I don’t have a ‘seal-a-mealer’ (although your enthusiasm for it is making me think I should look into one :-) ), but freezing is a great idea – I’ve never thought of that. Do you think without the seal-a-mealer the cookies will get soggy as they defrost?

  218. Stephanie
    March 16, 2008

    Thank you very much Lisa, I will report back as to how these turn out, I am going to make them for my mom for Easter, she is a peanut butter nut (dumb pun intended fully!)

  219. PHYLLIS
    March 16, 2008

    I made the dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookies today, for the second time.
    I went light on the flour…
    because the cocoa is also dry….
    The cookies turned out very nice and tender,
    because of the less flour…
    a few tablespoons less.
    I have learned that these cookies bake fast
    like 12 or 13 minutes, or less….in the oven…
    especially if you want them to be at all undercooked in the middle…

    For some reason, these cookies are always a bit smaller, too….
    any idea why? (Other than the fact that I have been making 16 cookies per batch, lately, for all of my cookies, because they are just too big, and sort of too filling to be practical…….Sixteen cookies per batch still produces very large cookies! that would crash any diet, if you eat more than one per day.)

    Lisa, I am loving using parchment paper. I can reuse it several times, and it is so much easier than greasing up my pans, and washing down my pans after every baking session…. Thankyou so much for getting me hooked on parchment paper.

    Here is a hint for storing cookies, too.
    I like to put 2 cookies
    back to back
    in a little sandwich bag
    using the wire/paper ties….
    Back to back, they are very sturdy….
    and then I put the baggies in various mixing bowls…
    on my dining room table….

    The cookies are always handy for visitors
    or for gift giving….
    and they keep well at room temperature for several days…
    Mine will be all used up during Easter events
    and there is no need to even freeze them…
    they will be gone quickly enough, as it is.
    Cookies are so much fun to bake fresh, and to give to people,
    they are so appreciated, and I do not have any need to freeze them.
    I dont like the ziploc bags…
    the zippers confuse me!!!!
    they all seem to work a little bit differently.
    Anyway, I love the simple sandwich bags,
    the kind that do not fold over…
    the kind that are just bags…
    and they are so perfect for putting 2 cookies back to back.
    This is intended for a quick storage method,
    and they could even be put on a plate later, for a large gathering,
    or wrapped one per bag when needed individually.
    Anyway, for me, this is my favorite way to store the cookies…
    especially because they make such sturdy little bundles, back to back.
    And, are so handy for gift giving.

  220. Jan
    March 16, 2008

    Jo-

    They don’t get soggy once defrosted, even after spending time traveling ..however, mine didn’t travel overseas, just from Chicago to Minneapolis! What is the ship time form here to Iraq? Obviously, it’s the heat, and the amount of time getting them there that may effect the way the cookie survives!! However, I’m guessing our soldiers will appreciate anything that’s sugar laden and homemade!

    I’m all about my seal-a-mealer (aka food saver)…its uses are endless! I freeze alot of meat, and my expensive hard Italian cheeses so that nothing dries out, or gets freezer burn. I bake a lot of bread, and do the same process with it as the cookies-over nite in the freezer, then seal a mealed until I need it-baquettes come out a fresh as the day I baked them. I think they’re about 40 bucks at Linens and Things, or BB and Beyond…Jeez, I’m beginning to sound like an info-mercial!
    Good luck with your baking and shipping!!

    Just an FYI-
    Last nite I made a batch each of CC, PB Choc Chip, and Choc Coconut….in all of them, I used half semi-sweet and half DARK chocolate chips…whatta difference it made in cutting down on the overall sweetness and added a bit more richness to each recipe. For me, the change is a keeper! Next expirament will be the choc coconut recipe minus the coconut adding dark choclate and white chocolate chips instead…I’ll pass along my taste testers consensus!

  221. Ling
    March 17, 2008

    Lisa,

    I just baked the cc cookies this past weekend and it is THE best recipe! I first baked one batch without walnuts and did 1/4 tsp baking soda…cookies turned out more dense and not as high. I baked batch 2 today with walnuts and 1/2 b.soda and it turned out more golden brown, light, high and really tasty! I guess the walnuts adds some texture to it and my mom agrees that this one is by far the best cc cookie recipe that I’ve tried baking. Believe me… I’ve tried baking cc cookies every week since the Throwdown episode trying to crack the Levain cc cookie code! Thank you Lisa and Jessica!

  222. Lisa
    March 17, 2008

    So glad they turned out great for you, Ling. The best part is, you can play around with this recipe, using it as a base for whatever flavors, chips, nuts etc..you like. I just made some this past weekend with chopped medjool dates and walnuts, upping the brown sugar while decreasing the white sugar (still the same amount total, just more of the brown and less of the white), and they came out awesome.

    Keep on enjoying them, and whatever works for you, keep doing :)

  223. PHYLLIS
    March 17, 2008

    I am looking for two recipes—
    the Levain oatmeal raisin cookie recipe,
    and also, their brioche recipe.
    Or ANY good brioche recipe.
    Mostly I am just wondering what it IS?
    Is it worth my making?
    What sort of bread, or bun, is it?
    Do you ladies make it? and why, or why not?
    Is it akin to coffee cake? or cinnamon rolls?
    It is hard to imagine…..
    Why do the Levain customers like it so much?
    What is it?
    thanks a bunch.

  224. Tiamat
    March 17, 2008

    Brioche is a yeast bread … with a high butter & egg content …

    Brioche is sometimes confused with Challah … But, Brioche has dairy (butter / milk) in it & Challah does not … Challah is an egg bread w/no butter …

    A lot of people use it for sandwiches or french toast … or bread pudding …

    It’s good, but time consuming to make because it is a yeast bread …

    Here’s the recipe that Barefoot Contessa uses … for mini brioche rolls …

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_29947,00.html

  225. PHYLLIS
    March 17, 2008

    Tiamat—thankyou for the recipe, and the explanation.
    Have you ever been to the Levain bakery? I am wondering what the hottest items are….besides their cookies. I made oatmeal raisin cookies tonight. Family was so relieved not to have any more chocolate chip cookies of any kind. All of my cookies will be given away on Wednesday, so that will be nice….

    Anyone, and everyone—what is YOUR favorite treat to eat at the Levain bakery? Besides the cookies, what else are they best at doing? Does anyone know how to make blueberry scones?

  226. Tiamat
    March 17, 2008

    Phyllis – You’re welcome … I’ve never been to Levain as I live in the land of Starbucks … I think most of the people here don’t live in NYC either … I’d seen the cookies / bakery on a couple other Food Network shows and was intrigue by them …

    I made mine on Thurs … using 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla and 3 1/2cups flour … I think I’m gonna try something (another leavening ingredient) with them when I make them later in the week …

    http://s257.photobucket.com/albums/hh219/SeattleSix/Cookies/?action=view&current=P3130319.jpg

    http://s257.photobucket.com/albums/hh219/SeattleSix/Cookies/?action=view&current=P3130314.jpg

  227. Lisa
    March 18, 2008

    Stephanie, you’re welcome!

    Phyllis and Tiamat,

    Brioche can also be used in many dessert preparations, such as sticky buns, cinnamon rolls etc. Nancy Silverston uses it to make an awesome creme fraiche custard brioche tart. Sweet or savory, it’s an amazing bread.

    Also – Phyllis, you’ve got the world wide web at your fingertips. You can find thousands and thousands of recipes for any kind of scone you desire. Look for recipes that people get to review, so you’ll get an idea of how good or bad it is, before buying ingredients and taking the time to make them. I know Levain has a recipe online for their oatmeal raisin scones, which are pretty good. They also bake some really nice breads.

  228. Benitajean
    March 19, 2008

    I have been trying to break the code of Levain’s. I used a CC recipe from Judy’s site only I upped the margarine to two full sticks at room temp, used to xlg eggs and added a small box (3.4 oz) of a store brand INSTANT VANILLA PUDDING. I suppose you could play with this idea using other flavors of instant pudding to offset the flavor. My cookies maintained that high shaped everyone is seeking. I did not make 6 oz cookies. I used an ice cream scoop that made 2oz cookies which were adequate. Tell me what you think about this idea. It worked for me. I did not do any special mixing. I threw every ingredient in the bowl at once mixing it on low so the flour dust would not fly then once it was incorporated and turned into a big dough ball I turned the mixer on its highest setting long enough for the dough to fling off the beaters. This dough was easy to handle and did not require refrigeration prior to baking.

  229. Joi
    March 19, 2008

    OMG – there used to be a bakery here in SLC that sold the most amazing white chocolate raspberry brioche bread! And I don’t even like white chocolate! I moved away for 3 years, and when we moved back, the bakery was gone…now I need to find a recipe for that!

    Jan said she preferred the darker chocolate pieces – I found that to be my taste as well. I thought the original batch I made was way too sweet for my tastebuds, and now that I am using dk choco chunks, it’s much better!

    I think I’ll try the increasing the br. sugar/decreasing the white sugar trick to see how it tastes!

  230. Judy Castranova
    March 20, 2008

    Just made the CC walnut cookies successfully — they look like scones. Only used 2 oz. of dough. All the particulars and discussion are on my blog, judyskitchen.blogspot.com, including discussion of flavorings, flours and baking temps. Thanks for the recipe, Lisa, and thanks to Jessica for publishing all the helpful comments. Love your blog.

  231. phyllis
    March 21, 2008

    Lisa and All,

    I made some awesome cookies today.
    I used Lisa’a recipe for peanut butter cookies.
    I was a little short on the peanut butter.
    And I added one half cup of chocolate chips.
    I made them ice cream scooper size.
    They were not so big, but were super delicious…
    reminded me of a Reese’s cup flavor.
    Will do this again, SOON.
    I have decided to use vanilla, afterall, most of the time…
    this is opposite of what I posted earlier.
    And I still wonder why the Levain girls do NOT USE IT???

  232. Holly
    March 22, 2008

    Lisa and others…

    I am so excited to try your copycat recipe. I have been drooling over the Levain cookie since I saw the Throwdown episode. I went to their website to see if I could order some (I live in Alabama) and was not too excited when I saw the price…$40 for 4!!! I love ccc and could ALMOST see paying $40 (as I have paid $55 for a cheesecake I discovered on a food network feature), if I was going to get a least a dozen, but NOT 4. So…I have read the blog for almost 2 hours now and have decided to try your recipe. Hope they look and taste as good as yours!

  233. Greg
    March 23, 2008

    I too saw the ‘Throwdown’ and wanted to see if the perfect cc recipe existed. That’s how I found this site and Lisa’s recipe. Kudos Lisa! I modified it slightly for my tastes. I used my KA Stand Mixer with the Paddle. I creamed cold butter as Lisa recommended. I did 3/4 c of white sugar, but 1 c of Brown Sugar simply because I like the taste. I also added 2 tsp of vanilla. Wish I could distinguish the difference with real, but I cannot.

    I went with 3 1/4 cups of AP flour and it created a dough that was easy to handle. I did follow Lisa’s later recommendation to go with 3/4 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of baking soda. I do not like nuts in cookies, so I decided to forego them, but replaced the volume of the nuts with and extra cup of chocolate chips. I used 1.5 cups each of Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet and Milk Chocolate Chips. Before adding the chips, I separate the two types in half and divided the dough in half. This makes it easier to incorporate the chips to the dough using the mixer. If you try to add all of the chips to all of the dough you end up with chips getting ground up on the bottom of the bowl due to the large dough volume.

    I live in Florida and was concerned about the cook time and amount of rise. I chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

    Glad now makes the small plastic storage containers and I used the small round version (1/2 cup or 4 oz.). and I fill the cup to the first line or indentation (not to the top). I pack the dough into the cup and pop the dome shaped amount on to parchment. I use an Anolon Baking Sheet and Parchment at 350 for 23 minutes.
    Depending on how full you fill the cup, you’ll get about 15 cookies, that must be about 4″ across and nearly 1″ thick. Bake them a little less and you get the doughy center.

    For my taste, these were perfect. Everyone loves them. Without Lisa’s original effort, I’d still be making Toll-House with Ghirardelli Chips. As for storage – you really have to be kidding. These don’t make it through two or three days. I did freeze one batch in Ziplock Freezer bags and they were still good a couple of weeks later. If you are like me and like frozen Snickers, the frozen cc cookies were awesome, especially with coffee. A little hard to bite into, but worth the effort! I don’t know how I could improve this recipe – thanks Lisa!

    Greg

  234. Lisa
    March 24, 2008

    Holly,

    Report back once you try them :) Also, I agree, $40.00 for 4 cookies, plus tax and shipping, is just outrageous, hence why it’s great to have a recipe that looks and tastes just like them. :)

    Greg,

    So glad they turned out just how you like them. That’s the beauty of this recipe..you can ‘futz’ with it to your preferences. Also, I think most are now adding vanilla to it. It really does make them even better.

    Judy,

    Saw your blog, and they look awesome. Nothing wrong with ‘mini’ Levain CC Walnut cookies, although in the ‘sane’ world, those are NOT mini..LOL

  235. Holly
    March 24, 2008

    Lisa,

    OMG they were out of this world!!! Everyone loved them. I made them yesterday and only have one left. I should save it for my husband when he gets home from work, but I’m just not sure I can handle it sitting there calling my name. He might get lucky, but I doubt it! ;)

    Anyway, my only problem was that I couldn’t get them a nice “golden” color. They were very light. I baked them at 375 for 18 minutes…then added other 2 minutes thinking that might help, but it didn’t. Any advise? I was thinking next time I’ll do 1 full cup of brown sugar and bake at 350 for a little longer…but I wasn’t sure.

  236. Joi
    March 24, 2008

    Ok, this weekend I made the cc again, and this time I used 1 cup of AP flour and 2-1/2 cups of oats – 1 cup ground into oat flour, the rest I left whole. I also used 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 of regular. And 1 Tbsp of the Tahitian vanilla of course! These were my favorites by far! I love the texture the oats give them. They were a huge hit at a party Sat night, and I had to confiscate the last 4 to send to my Grandma!

  237. pink bowl baker
    March 24, 2008

    Now what you have are oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips in them rather than chocolate chip cookies! Possibly a great oatmeal cookie recipe that I’ll want to try!

  238. Joi
    March 25, 2008

    Yes, I’ve always had a fondness for oatmeal cc cookies instead of just plain cc! NOW my next cookie will be the cardamom rosewater spice cookie from The Ultimate Recipe Showdown this weekend!

  239. Lisa
    March 25, 2008

    Holly,

    How long did you preheat your oven for? All ovens are different, so it’s always good to have an oven thermometer, just to insure you’re at the right temp when you’re ready to put your cookies in the oven (well, that applies to all foods that go into the oven).

    Joi,

    That Oatmeal CC cookie sounds awesome, and you may have a start to something here, as in the secret to Levain’s Oatmeal Raisin cookies!

  240. Joi
    March 25, 2008

    I don’t like raisins at all, so whenever I make cookies with chocolate chips, I usually make them oatmeal cookies! I have never liked oatmeal raisin cookies, but I’m willing to be the Levain ones are tasty!

    My next attempt (which will be this afternoon!) with the cookies will be to make the oatmeal ones but using maple syrup instead of sugars! I’ll post how they turn out!

  241. Joi
    March 29, 2008

    Ok bakers, I have created what I believe to be the perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookie! Well, at least in my eyes! I think it’s the perfect cookie because it is sweetened ONLY with maple syrup (no refined sugars!) It is still big and chock full of dark chocolate chunks and pecans. Here is my recipe:
    1 cup cold butter cut into even chunks
    1 cup grade B pure maple syrup
    3 egg whites (I have a daughter allergic to yolks)
    2 tsp vanilla
    4-1/2 cups rolled oats (2 cups ground into flour)
    2 cups AP flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp b. soda
    2 tsp b. powder
    1/2 bag of dark chocolate chunks
    1 cup whole pecans
    Baked at 325 20-25 mins. Made slightly more than 4oz balls. Today was a mostly cloudy and cold day in SLC – not much humidity here. The consistency was a soft, cakelike texture, not as chewy as the regular cc. I’m sure if I tweak the flour/oats ratio, it would be chewier. My 3 girls (10/8/5) loved them! Here’s a photo: http://www.flickr.com/send?photostream=7918348@N03

  242. Joi
    March 29, 2008

    Try this link for photos…http://www.flickr.com/photos/straatens/

  243. Joi
    March 29, 2008

    I’ve just made the Ginger Dark Chocolate Cookies. I used dark chocolate chunks (Whole Foods) and didn’t have molasses, so I used brown rice syrup! I increased the br. sugar amt to 1 cup and used only 1/4 cup of the rice syrup. Fresh ground nutmeg and a tsp of vanilla to finish it off! Wow, the flavor is amazing! LOVE THESE! It’s a great blend of flavors. The only problem I had is that they were really gooey. They taste great, but some (not all?) are sticky/gooey mostly on the top part of the cookie. Were meant to be? It says to bake for 12 mins – they would have been completely raw had I only done 12, I did 18-20! You can see in the photos here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/straatens/sets/72157604304651331/) how one in 1/2 looks gooey. They were just out of the oven when I did that, so that could be part of it? My girls LOVE them though!
    Next I’m doing the dark choco coconut! I’m on a roll today!

  244. MarySC
    March 29, 2008

    Yesterday I watched a Good Eats with Alton Brown episode on Food Network all about chocolate chip cookies. He did a really nice review of how ingredients (different flours, sugars, leavenings, fats, and liquids) and ratios affect cookies. He made thin, puffy, and chewy varieties, and while I wasn’t particularly interested in the recipes, the ingredient information was very well done and might be helpful to others… the show re-airs April 22nd at 11PM ET/PT and April 23rd 2AM ET/PT.

  245. Stephanie
    March 30, 2008

    Have we tried the bread flour as a sub on the CC cookies? I am going to try it today…mainly because I have a TON of it and don’t make too much bread…lol. I will report back on the results.

  246. Zoomer
    March 30, 2008

    Lisa,

    I have to truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. This recipe is dead on I made a batch last week and the angels flew down from heaven into my kitchen to eat them !!

    After reading you Bread Flour idea. This week I added 1 1/2 cups of Bread flour to the recipe ( 1 1/2 cup Bread Flour 2 cups of APflour) to develop a crunchier outside crust I think it added a little more crunch and chew. But hell no one else could tell but me so maybe it’s just in my head !! I think all bread flour would sacrifice the internal softness of the center. I too bake them for 18 min at 375

    Again thanks so much for sharing this recipe I will always remember it !!

    Zoomer

  247. Zoomer
    March 30, 2008

    here are pics of my last batch

    [IMG]http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a378/ZoomerNYC/food/DSC05897.jpg[/IMG]

  248. Lisa
    March 30, 2008

    Awesome, Stephanie! What we mainly want to find out is.. whether the outside of the cookie remains tender and crisp for a longer period of time after being baked and left out when using the bread flour, as opposed to the AP flour, where the outside seems to harden quickly when left out.

  249. Lisa
    March 31, 2008

    Aww..thanks, Zoomer. For m..if it wasn’t for Jessica posting those Art Culinaire recipes, I would probably still be working on deciphering the amounts.

    That said, I’m glad you tried them with bread flour and found no discerible difference. Next up is cake and/or pastry flour. THEN, combos of cake, pastry, AP, Bread etc..LOL As close as we’ve gotten, I still think we can get closer as far as keeping them crisp, yet tender on the outside, without having to put them in an airtight container within a few hours. I’m such a sucker for experimentation..lol

  250. Lisa
    March 31, 2008

    Aww..thanks, Zoomer. For m..if it wasn’t for Jessica posting those Art Culinaire recipes, I would probably still be working on deciphering the amounts.

    That said, I’m glad you tried them with bread flour and found no discernible difference. Next up is cake and/or pastry flour. THEN, combos of cake, pastry, AP, Bread etc..LOL As close as we’ve gotten, I still think we can get closer as far as keeping them crisp, yet tender on the outside, without having to put them in an airtight container within a few hours. I’m such a sucker for experimentation..lol

  251. Tiamat
    April 1, 2008

    Bread flour has more protein in it than all purpose and cake flour … So, it’s got a higher gluten level … And the longer you work the dough, the more gluten you will create … which will give you the chewier cookie … Compare it to a bread like Sourdough and it’s chewiness level …

    If you look at Alton Brown’s 3 CCCookie recipes … and compare them (You don’t have to make them as some don’t like their flavor) … You’ll see that for his “puffy” cookies, he uses cake flour (less protein/gluten) … For the “crisp” cookies, he uses all purpose flour … and for the “chewy” cookies, he uses bread flour (more protein/more gluten) … But, it’s also the white to brown sugar that plays a key role in the cookie …

    Lisa – Have you tried getting a Levain cookie and then come home & bake a batch of your copycats … so that they’re about the same “age” … and then sit them on the counter to see which one hardens fastest?? I think one of the issues with the crisp/tender outside might be that we’ve got our heaters going and our homes have dry air circulating … It’s possible that say in the dead of summer when there’s more humidity indoors, that the cookies exterior would be different than in winter …

    I really wish Food Network would re-air the “Roker on the Road” episode where he’s at the bakery with the Levain girls and they make a big batch with him … That would yield a lot more answers than the weirdly edited “Throwdown” …

  252. Tiamat
    April 1, 2008

    Err … “Crispy” should be “The Thin” …

  253. Jan
    April 2, 2008

    New recipe twist….I used the chocoloate peanut butter recipe without adding the peanut butter chips, instead used 3/4 cup each dark chaocolate and white chocolate chips, and 1/2f cup semi-sweet chips. They are fab-u-lous! : )

  254. Lisa
    April 3, 2008

    Tiamat,

    I really can’t make the comparison between my cookie and Levain’s as far as the outer crust goes, as they almost underbake theirs, and I bake mine so it’s fully done, but still chewy. When I underbake mine, the outer crust remains tender for a much longer period of time. However, Levain’s do harden up (on the outside) rather quickly too, when left out.

    Jan,

    That combo sounds yummy. Dark chocolate with white choc chips not only looks pretty, but the balance is nice.

  255. jen
    April 5, 2008

    i made lisa’s copycat recipe for the chocolate chip walnut. i made them 6 oz. and cooked them a bit longer. we made cookie sundaes with ice cream and hot fudge. to die for!
    amazing combo out crispy outside and doughy inside. basic simple recipe with extraordinary proportions i guess.
    thanks so much lisa for all your testing.
    i am going to make the pnut butter ones this week for my newly pregnant friend.

    has anyone tried carol’s cookies? they sell them at whole foods out here. they have a combo cookie that is a pnut butter/chocolate swirl. i assume they have two cookie batters that they swirl. they are sooooooooooo good. also big 6 oz cookies. carol’s makes my absolute favorite oatmeal raisin walnut. i would pay top dollar for that recipe.

  256. Rose
    April 12, 2008

    Lisa, I hope this isn’t too much of an inconvience, but could you please re-post your original recipes for the Levain Choco Chip/Walnut and Dark Chocolate cookies. I have tried to read all of the postings, but after awhile they really got confusing with people making changes, trying different flours, different measurements for baking powder, soda, etc. I really want to try to make both. I hope this won’t cause you too much trouble. Thank you for considering my request. Rose

  257. Lisa Michelle
    April 15, 2008

    Rose, gladly :) Here’s the whole ‘shebang’, for both cookies, with notes.

    Lisa’s Levain Bakery copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies (**Yields 1 dozen cookies)

    Ingredients
    2 sticks ‘cold and cubed’ unsalted butter
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups AP flour (feel the dough, it should be moist, kind of like cold cookie dough in a tube.. but not super sticky, so you can portion the cookies with your hands)
    3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
    3/4-1 teaspoon baking powder ( I don’t fill the tsp fully, hence the 3/4 tsp)
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (I usually use half semisweet and half milk chocolate)
    1 cup walnuts (I used macadamia since I was out of walnuts, plus I like them better than walnuts) Toast the nuts for more flavor, if desired.

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.. and beat until well incorporated, then add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chunks and nuts. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions, **about 4 oz each.. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven 16-23 minutes depending on how gooey and raw’ish you like the middles (I bake mine at 375 for 18-20 minutes, as I prefer a less raw interior), until very lightly browned, taking care not to overbake. Let cool on rack and store what you don’t immediately eat, in an airtight container. To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.

    ***Lisa’s Levain Copycat Dark Chocolate Peanut butter Chip Cookies (**Yields 1 dozen cookies)

    Ingredients
    2 sticks cold and cubed unsalted butter
    1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    1/4 to 1/2 cup good quality dark cocoa powder
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 tsp Kosher salt
    3/4 to 1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    2 cups peanut butter chips

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well-incorporated, then beat in cocoa powder. Mix in flour, salt and baking powder until just combined. Gently fold in remaining ingredients. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions, **about 4 oz each, and place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven 16-20 minutes depending on how gooey and raw’ish you like the middles (I bake mine at 375 for 18 minutes, as I prefer a less raw’ish’ interior), taking care not to overbake. . Let cool on a rack and store what you don’t immediately eat, in an airtight container. To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.

    Note – The Levain Bakery doesn’t use vanilla extract in their cookies, as they feel it’s unecessary. However, some feel you need it. You can add 1 tsp to each recipe if desired. Just add it after each egg is incorporated.

    ** Note – The Levain Bakery uses 6 oz of cookie dough per cookie.. If you want 12 cookies out of the above recipes, a little over 4 oz per cookie (4.1 to 4.2 oz. Use a kitchen scale) will get you that. If you want to use 6 oz of cookie dough per cookie, you’ll probably get only 6-8 cookies. However, a little over 4 oz makes a cookie just as thick and huge, so you don’t even notice the difference.

    *** Note – Regarding the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies… I used Dutch-process cocoa. If you use basic, natural unsweetened cocoa (you know, your basic Hershey’s in the brown can or whatever), add 1/4 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients. Also, if they’re too ‘chocolatey’ and rich for you, use only 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and add 1/4 cup extra flour.

    Final Note – If you want a more ‘caramel-molasses’ like Chocolate chip walnut cookie, increase the brown sugar while decreasing the white sugar, so you still have 1 1/2 cups total sugar and increase the baking soda to 1/2 full tsp.

  258. Ag
    April 22, 2008

    I just tried the above recipe (Lisa’s Levain Copycat Dark Chocolate Peanut butter Chip Cookies) and they were EXCELLENT. Thank you!

  259. Ling
    April 23, 2008

    Hi Lisa…I have made the cc walnut cookies at least several times since I found your recipe and they are so yummy! I have a question though…my cookies are not as puffy as yours and is looking a little flat. Any suggestions on how to get it a little puffier? I think my flatter cookies may have something to do with the humidity where I live in Hawaii! Should I adjust the oven rack to the very top as well? Thanks!

  260. Zoomer
    April 23, 2008

    Hi Ling,

    You might be overbeating the butter/sugar/eggs to long just mix them to they are combined well and start to turn whiter. If to much air gets whipped into this mixture it makes the cookies spread. Also making them on Parchement paper also helps stop the cookies from flattening.

    Zoomer

  261. Lisa Michelle (just ‘Lisa’ is so boring) loil
    April 23, 2008

    Ling, also try adding a little more flour to the dough, like 1 to 3 or 4 Tablespoons, depending on how humid it is. Feel the dough, as it shouldn’t be that sticky, and still have a somehwhat cool feel to it. That said, after all of the above, you can take an extra precaution and refrigerate the portioned out dough on the parchment lined pan for about a half hour to 1 hour prior to baking, They definitely won’t spread as much in that case.

    Also, if you preheat your oven to 375 instead of 350, they usually set faster, resulting in less spread. I always bake mine at 375 for anywhere from 15-18 minutes, depending on how ‘raw’ or chewy I want the interior.

    Ag, so glad the DC PB cookies turned out well for you!

  262. Ling
    April 23, 2008

    Hi Zoomer,

    Thanks for the tips and will try again

    Ling

  263. MarySC
    April 24, 2008

    I finally got around to trying the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip cookies. On my first try, the 2 1/2 cups flour was too much (I knew it right away, the dough was stiff) and the cookies were a bit dry and heavy. Yesterday I remade them starting with 2 cups flour then gradually adding more until the dough was not sticky… it took about 2 1/4 cup cups total. I mixed everything in the KitchenAid and used my usual ungreased non-stick cookie sheets (no parchment), cooling the cookies slightly before moving to a rack. I baked them at 350 for just 16 minutes, until they were firm to touch on the edges– you just can’t go by color with this chocolatey dough– and they were delightfully fudgy in the middle. They stayed nice and tall even without the parchment– I think using cold butter and not overbeating is the answer. This batch was SUPERB. Yum, yum!!

  264. Judy Wilson
    April 30, 2008

    Lisa, have you ever weighed your flour measurement in the Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie recipe? I would be interested how many ounces you get to a cup of flour with your scoop and sweep method. Thank you.

  265. Lisa
    May 2, 2008

    Judy,

    Yes, I actually use the spoon and sweep method, which I assume is what you’re referring to, meaning you scoop or spoon the flour into the cup, then level off.., and it came out to 4.5 oz per cup. I rarely, if ever, scoop the flour using the measuring cup in the bin or bag, before leveling it off.

  266. Ling
    May 3, 2008

    Hi Lisa Michelle! Thanks for the tips and will try them this weekend! I also wanted to ask you and everyone else if they tried using the cake flour for the walnut cc cookie? I have some in the fridge but was curious on whether I should do half cake flour and half ap flour? Any thoughts? Thanks!

  267. Ling
    May 3, 2008

    Hi Everyone..does anyone know of a good red velvet cake/cupcake recipe?

  268. Lisa Michelle
    May 3, 2008

    Ling, YES, definitely try it..and when you do, besides letting us in on the puff factor, texture and flavor, let them sit out uncovered for at least 2 hours, and let us know if the outer crust ‘does or does not’ harden as much as it does with the current recipe. I would do it, but I’m currently trying to perfect my french macarons, so it’s batch after batch night after night. Kind of an obsession at the moment!

    As for the red Velvet cupcake, believe it or not, one of the best I’ve tried was Paula Deen’s, which you can find on the Food Network site. I make them jumbo (6 at a time), then load them up with swirls of cream cheese frosting :) Try it, and see what you think. :)

  269. Anna
    May 4, 2008

    I haven’t tried making them with cake flour yet, but I made a batch today using European style butter. I think it made the center seem softer without being (too) underbaked or doughy. So if you have some on hand, you might want to try it with European style.

    I also found that chilling the dough makes a huge difference in the appearance of the finished cookie. They look much more like Levain’s when baked with very cold dough.

    The Food TV show episode is apparently on TV again tonight so we can all watch and take notes!

  270. Ling
    May 7, 2008

    Hi Anna… how long did you chill the cookie dough for? Was it over night or just a few hours? Unfortunately I don’t have any European style butter..just unsalted sweet cream butter! I am planning to bake tomorrow and will let everyone know how it turns out! Also, does anyone have any suggestions on how much cake flour to ap flour? I’m thinking half and half but if anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate it!

  271. Jodie
    May 8, 2008

    I made the chocolate chip and the dark chocolate chip recipes tonight. I used bread flour because that’s all I had in the house. I weighed the dough at 4 ounces for each cookie. I got 15 chocolate chip cookies and a dozen dark chocolate cookies. I didn’t use nuts because I have a tree nut allergy and didn’t want to have to use my Epi-Pen! :o) I also used a combo of white chocolate chips and semi sweet in the dark chocolate cookies, but only because my store was out of peanut butter chips. I baked the chocolate chip cookies for 18 minutes at 375, and the dark chocolate cookies for 18 minutes at 350. The chocolate chip cookies are very thick and seem to look exactly like the Levain cookies. I can’t vouch that they taste just the same because I’ve never had a Levain cookie, but they are delicious! The dark chocolate cookies spread much more, but they’re still delicious. I think they could have used another 1/4 cup of flour so they would have held their shape better. But, again, they’re delicious!

  272. CB
    May 11, 2008

    I just want to say thank you to Lisa for the awesome chocolate chip walnut cookie recipe. I have never had a real Levain Bakery cookie, but this replica version is delicious and it looks just like the cookie on Throwdown. I’ve tried the recipe a few different ways. I first used unbleached all purpose flour baked at 350 for about 19 minutes. This was a great cookie that was very well received by my friends (slightly firm outside, soft inside). I also tried baking another batch at 375 for about 18 minutes. I thought this one was a little too dry and I didn’t like the texture as much as the one baked at 350. I then decided to take a risk and make a batch using Bob’s Red Mill 100% whole wheat pastry flour. I baked these at 350 for about 19 minutes. This was my favorite batch I have made so far. The whole wheat flour makes them a little more soft and crumbly. It also makes them a little darker in color, which makes them look even better, in my opinion. I find it amazing how these cookies hold their shape. They should really be called mini chocolate chip cakes rather than cookies!

    I did have a few questions. I didn’t want to bake all of the cookies off, so I wrapped the rest of the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. Is this a bad idea? How long can I store the dough in the freezer? Do I need to thaw the dough before baking? Thanks again for this great recipe.

  273. jj
    May 11, 2008

    What is the throwdown recipie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  274. Lisa Michelle
    May 12, 2008

    Jodie,

    So glad they worked out for you. Definitely try adding a little more flour, and they’ll keep their shape. However, did you cream the butter cold? I find this is part of what helps them maintain their shape. A cool dough that sets quick in a preheated oven, although you could also refrigerate the portioned dough prior to baking them.

    CB,
    Of course you can freeze cookie dough. Here’s what I do for the Levain recipe OR any cookie recipe in general, but you’d use less dough per cookie in other recipes..of course). I portion out 4 to 4.2 oz balls of dough, place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and freeze them for about 1-2 hours. I then place them in resealable plastic freezer storage bags. Whenever I want to bake cookies, I remove as many dough balls as I’ll need, place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake as usual, adding maybe another 2 or 3 minutes to original recipe time, or the time I choose depending on how ‘raw and dougy’ I want them inside. Cookie dough in the freezer is ‘supposed’ to last about 2 months tops, but I’ve had cookie dough in the freezer for up to a year, and the cookies were still flavorful and perfect when baked.

    Also, as of late, I’ve been increasing the brown sugar in my copycat recipe to 1 cup and decreasing the white sugar to 1/2 cup. I feel it gives the cookie a better flavor, but I like that ‘molasses-caramel’ undertone in a CC cookie.

    jj,
    Look above, I posted ‘my’ version of the Levain cookie, and to me, and others who have tried it..it tastes just like Levain’s. However, change the sugar amounts to what I just mentioned above if you want a darker more caramel typical CC flavor. Thing is..you can ‘tweak’ this recipe to your own taste..just don’t mess with the flour to baking powder/soda ratios or the butter, and don’t use room temp butter..keep it cool..as that could affect the outcome of the puffy/big cookie you’d want.

  275. Holly
    May 14, 2008

    CB, Lisa, and everyone else who could help…

    How much of the whole wheat flour did you use? I make mine with half regular ap flour and half whole wheat (but it doesn’t say pastry on it). They are great. But I really want to try and make them with all ww flour. I’ve always heard you shouldn’t use ALL and should use a 1/2 and 1/2 ratio. ??? Is whole wheat pastry flour the same as whole wheat flour?

  276. CB
    May 18, 2008

    Holly,

    I made a batch with only whole wheat pastry flour. I didn’t use any AP flour and I was happy with the result. From what I understand, whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour are different. I think the pastry version has a lower gluten content and is supposed to be used for cookies, cakes, and pastry. I believe the regular whole wheat flour is mainly used for making bread.

  277. Will
    May 20, 2008

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for everyone’s input. I was just in the city for a few days and stayed 2 blocks from Levain. Great stuff no doubt. I scoped out the ingredients they had laying around to see if their flour was anything (like pastry, high gluten, etc). They had a brand of all-purpose in like 25lb bags and then some General Mills All Trumps in 50lb bags (they were red, but forgot to write the number down). I also watched someone put all the ingredients in the mixer. Everything I saw sync’d up with Bobby Flay’s throwdown. It’s going to be fun testing the recipes here!

  278. Ling
    May 21, 2008

    Hi Lisa Michelle,

    I tried using the cake flour about 1 1/4 and the rest ap flour …tasted a slightly bit more tender and I also left it out for 2 hours uncovered which it still seemed to hold its shape and and somewhat crispiness. However, I don’t feel that the cake flour in my case made much of a difference vs. all ap flour!

  279. Lisa Michelle
    May 21, 2008

    Thank you so much for trying it, Ling! I kind of had a feeling there might not be a difference, or much of a difference, and now Will has kind of confirmed that in his post above, as he saw it for himself at the Levain Bakery..AP flour. Then again, they do bake lots of other stuff..like breads, and GM ALL Trumps is a high gluten flour with added wheat protein, Regardless, we could also try the half AP – half bread flour experiment.

    However, I truly believe it’s all AP in the cookies. Then again, I’m sure they have whole wheat, rye, pastry and all other flours somewhere in the back. ACK, never ending.,, although I’m 100% satisfied with my version of it. :)

    Also, I’ve been using 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 3/4 cup of each in my copycat recipe, and find it to tastes even more like Levain’s than it originally did. Everyone who’s tried the recipe, should give that a shot. However, the original recipe still does the ‘Levain CC walnut’ very well. :)

  280. GINNY
    May 24, 2008

    LISA…any chance of getting your lasagna bolonese recipe? it looks spectacular and i’d love to try it. thanks

  281. danielle
    May 25, 2008

    Hi Lisa-I was at levain today and can’t wait to try your recipe. Should I use the 1c. brown and 1/2c. sugar to come closest to levain? Also, do you use light or dark brown sugar? Thanks!

  282. Lisa Michelle
    May 26, 2008

    Ginny,

    Sure :) Is there anywhere I could send it to you? I think it would be a little out of place in a cookie thread..lol

    danielle,

    I would try the recipe both ways, (making sure you have a real Levain cookie on hand to compare, since I’m assuming you live in the area having been there as of late) and see which one you like better and think is closer to Levain’s. I have friends and colleagues who like the original recipe, and ones who prefer the one with more brown sugar..BOTH groups thinking each one is “Levain’s CC walnut cookie to a T!”.

    BTW, I use light brown sugar. :)

  283. danielle
    May 27, 2008

    Lisa Michelle, Thank u so much. I viewed your flickr pictures-wow!!!! Do u happen to have a blog or website as well-one with the recipes you try perhaps??? :-)

  284. Linda
    May 27, 2008

    HI everybody. I found this site a couple of weeks ago when (like many of you!) I was searching for the Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. First let me thank everybody for what has been interesting reading and a kind of “community of interest” about cookie baking. Lisa, I tried the copycat recipe and while it made a very good cookie, it didn’t look at all like the picture at the beginning of this blog. Like you I baked them at 375 for about 18 minutes because I didn’t want them raw inside. I would describe them as a very cake like cookie. They weren’t hard (I stored them exactly as you instructed) but they also weren’t as moist as they look in the picture. I will try again, but I am not sure if I should reduce the temperature, the baking time or both. By the way, I also baked the Dark Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie and it is fabulous. I sent half of the cookies with my husband to his office and the other half to my office. Rave reviews all around. I don’t often have time to bake, but love it when I get a chance. Again, thanks to everybody for your “conversation.” I have really enjoyed listening in! Linda

  285. Lisa Michelle
    May 28, 2008

    danielle,

    Actually, I’m starting a blog. I’m calling it Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. It’s going to be 98% food with photos and recipes, (although I need a new camera badly, as the one I have takes awful photos!), and 2% baseball, as I’m a huge Yankee fan, and may occasionally want to use it as a venue to VENT! LOL You can see the shell of it here.. http://lisamichele.wordpress.com/

    It may be a while before I post anything, as I’ve been super busy with work, my occasional ‘moonlighting’ in cake and pastry, and my sister having her first baby in about 2 to 3 weeks :) Keep checking, though, and there’s always Flickr until then..lol

    Linda,

    I wish I could be there with you so we could make the cookies together. ‘Cake like’ is the last thing they should be. They should be chewy or chewy and gooey on the inside, with a tender, crisp outer crust. I could ask a million questions as to what brand or type of flour, was the butter cold when creamed, leavens etc etc etc etc..? BUT, you’re going to try them again, so we’ll wait and see how they come out for you a second time.

    The only thing I can recommend at the moment,since all ovens are different, is baking them at 35o F for 20 minutes. You can see the photos of my cookies in my Flickr photostream, if you click on my name. Did they look anything at all like that?

  286. jen
    May 28, 2008

    i love this cookies and have made like 4 “research” batches since i found them here.
    its kind of ironic that they aren’t su’s fave huh?
    i think they are a heavenly combination of simple and rich, with the perfect proportions and of course i add way more chocolate.

    check out my final tricked up version on my blog. http://kitchenperfectionist.blogspot.com/2008/05/triple-chocolate-coconut-pecan-cookies.html

  287. Lisa Michelle
    May 28, 2008

    jen, those look crazy good. I can’t wait to try them :)

    As for Jessica not liking my Levain copycat recipe, everyone has different tastes and palates. I have friends that scoff at fat chocolate chip cookies and will only eat thin, crispy ones, and some who don’t like chocolate chip cookies at all. It’s all a matter of taste, and she found her perfect cookie a long time ago, so she’s happy with it, and that’s perfectly cool.

    On the flip side..I LOVE my Levain cookie recipe, but I also love many other kinds of chocolate chip cookies, from thin, to thick..to cakey, to chewy to gooey.,.etc etc, and I know I’ll be adding yours to that list very soon :P~~~

    Imagine if we all had the same taste/palates? Food would be BORING and chefs would be out of work.or just not interested..LOL

  288. jen
    May 28, 2008

    lisa
    i totally based mine on yours, just added some richness :) do you have a blog? we should trade links! hello, we both like crazy fat cookies!

  289. Lisa Michelle
    May 28, 2008

    jen, yes..I just started a blog on wordpress.com. I’m so new to this, so you’ll have to help or tell me how we link one another lol Plus, I want to make my page prettier, but I think you have to pay to use the software to do that, and right now, I figured I’d see how the blogging goes before committing fully.

    Anyway, contrary to what I mentioned above, I posted my first blog…about my Levain copycats, naturally..LOL Here’s the URL.

    http://lisamichele.wordpress.com/

  290. Lisa Michelle
    May 28, 2008

    Jessica and/or anyone who blogs. Can you help me out with some blog etiquette? If you want to link with someone’s blog, or at least put their link in your blogroll, since you enjoy their blog so much, is it common courtesy to ask first?

    Jessica, I added your blog to my blogroll. Is that ok with you?

  291. jen
    May 29, 2008

    i’m a pretty avid blogger and yeah as far as i know its totally fine. linking just gets people more traffic. my main job is that of a photographer, that blog gets massive incoming links. the only thing i don’t like is when people copy and paste my pics to their blogs!

  292. Lisa Michelle
    May 29, 2008

    Jen,

    How do you get a lot of traffic to your site? Just by linking with people and giving out the URL? Not to mention, how come basic wordpress doesn’t supply a ‘subscribe’ to my blog option for visitors like blogspot does? Do you think blogspot is better?

    Wow..20 questions, huh? lol

  293. jen
    May 29, 2008
  294. Linda
    May 31, 2008

    Lisa, thanks for your response. I do think that I baked the cookies a little too long (375 for 18 minutes) because I didn’t want them gooey. Other than that I followed your instructions to the letter (cold butter etc.) While striving for “the perfect cookie” I have to say that everyone loved them and they were devoured at my office. Thanks also for the link to your blog. I am new at this blogging thing, but have bookmarked yours and this one so that I can get on easily when I have a minute. Thanks again and Happy Baking! Linda

  295. ginny
    June 1, 2008

    Lisa…i found your wonderful blog and entered it into my favorites. of course, i printed all the recipes so please don’t go to any bother emailing them to me. i cannot wait to make your lasagna. thanks again. see ya

  296. Lisa Michelle
    June 2, 2008

    Linda, I’m so glad you got better results the second time around. All ovens are different, hence why an oven thermometer is so key (even though I can’t read the thing half the time, so I need a larger one..lol) While my oven gave me the perfect , chewy, only slightly gooey cookie at 375 for 18 minutes, other ovens may not. Awesome that people loved them and gobbled them up quickly. However, were you satisfied with the results? I’m still trying to tweak it by gauging opinions.

    ginny,

    I’m so glad you stopped by my blog and bookmarked it, being able to print the recipe. I cleaned it up a little, as I had quite a few typos in there, so you may want to check again. Also, with the dishes I’ll be experimenting with this week, there should be loads of blogs by next Monday! LOL

    Finally, Jessica, I made your chocolate chip cookie with the WW flour. It is now my new favorite ‘skinnier’ chocolate chip cookie. They were gone in 5 minutes..seriously! The flavor really is different, but in a good way. :)

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”
      June 3, 2008

      Lisa, thanks! I agree that the whole wheat cookies are different too. To answer your question about linking to other blogs, there’s no need to ask. You’re actually doing people a favor, because it’s flattering and you’re giving them traffic.

  297. cookies for expats
    June 21, 2008

    MOST amazing results with Levain copy cat recipe. After reading the very helpful comments, the cookies LOOK like Levain and TASTE almost as delish (can never exactly replicate)

    I tweaked the recipe according to the most popular suggestions:
    Ingredients:
    No paking powder, molasses, or vanilla
    2/3 tsp Baking poweder
    225grams Cold unsalted butter combined (not creamed) w sugar
    8 ounces For chocolate, I used GODIVA chocolate 52% and their extra dark chocolate ganache bars coarsely cut for chips …. sinful blend of chocolate and ganache chunks
    3 1/4 cup Self-raising all purpose flour (purchased from Tesco)
    Equal portions of sugars (1 cup white + 1 cup brown)
    1/2 tsp of sea salt (instead of Kosher)
    1 cup chopped walnuts

    Tactics included:
    Once batter forms, used hands to mix
    Fridge before baking for 10 minutes
    Bake 375F for 12 minutes
    No parchment paper, made 6 per tray in shape of ball

    Total Prep time: 15 minutes (plus another 10 for fridge)

    Points of attention:
    Oven very hot so keep careful eye on baking to avoid burning (mine had tiny tiny burns on top, so perhaps next time I try 10 minutes)

    THANK YOU so much for all the tips… because I live far away from NYC now, these cookies help when I feel home sick. Thank you!

  298. Marsha
    June 30, 2008

    Lisa – Your copycat recipes for the Chocolate Chip Walnut and the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies are the best cookies I’ve ever had. In the beginning I tried tweeking them a little thinking I could improve on them (vanilla, more brown sugar, etc.) but I’m back to your original recipe – it’s PERFECT!! Have you tried to come up with Levain Bakery’s Oatmeal Raisin cookie recipe? Thanks for all your efforts to come up with the two you did.

  299. Lisa
    July 3, 2008

    Thank you, Marsha! I will be getting to the Oatmeal Raisin and a Peanut Butter version of the Levain CC cookie, within the next few weeks (as it takes a lot of ‘trial and error’ type testing (aka 20 different bowls of different cookie doughs, sheets and sheets to be taste tested by friends and Levain addicts etc..lol). If you click on my name, it will take you to my new blog, where you can keep checking every so often, as I’ll document the process through steps with photos, plus the final recipe. :) I also have more on the Levain copycat at the below URL, with some more helpful hints by me and others in the comment section :)

    http://lisamichele.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/my-much-talked-about-levain-bakery-copycat-cookie-recipes/

  300. Kelly
    July 16, 2008

    thank you so much! i heard about this bakery on the food channel and the cookies looked amazing! i made them for my dad’s birthday and everyone loved them! thanks!

  301. Brooke McLay
    October 20, 2008

    Your recipe looks delightful!

    I also tried my hand at it (secret ingredient and all!) You can check it out at my blogspot:
    ConversationsWithACupcake

    Happy Eating!

  302. Simone
    November 5, 2008

    I made the Dark Chocolate cookies today and everyone raved about them. Since some members of my family believe that they do not like coconut I did not use it. To replace the coconut I used chopped dried cherries. I liked this recipe and will use it again. Thanks!

  303. Heather
    September 24, 2009

    Just got back from a long weekend in NYC – saw the Bobby Flay throwdown show awhile back so had to drag my husband to Levain Bakery – tried all 4 of their cookies (Choc chip/walnut, dk choc/choc, choc/pnut butter and oatmeal /raisin). Shared these with 4 other friends, favorites were the choc/pnut butter and the choc chip/walnut.

    Now I found this blog! Great reading and great indispensible info. You are all amazing – THANK YOU – it’s nice to know I’m not the only crazy person out there about baking. Time to make cookies.

  304. Nicole
    October 21, 2009
  305. Cooking Cutie
    May 7, 2010

    I went to Levain a few weeks ago for the first time, and got the dark chocolate chip cookies and the peanut butter chip cookies. I preferred the dark chocolate chip ones, and found your blog post to try to make copycat cookies. I used semisweet chips in place of the peanut butter chips, and the cookies are VERY GOOD, but just not the same as Levain’s. I measured out 4 oz of dough per cookie and got exactly 12, with a tad of dough left over. I baked mine at 350 for 16 minutes, but next time I’ll bake them for 15. The recipe is very good, but Levain cookies really are unique. This will tide me over in the meantime. Thanks for the great recipe!

  306. sheryl
    May 7, 2010

    I just made these cookies from your recipe. Unfortunately, I’m very disappointed.
    They did not have a lot of flavor (odd because there are a lot of spices in them), and they just didn’t seem like a true chocolate chip cookie. I would not make them again. Sorry.

  307. Pamela
    August 23, 2010

    Not sure if anyone commmented about this but….(also I have not made the cookies yet, but will soon) is about the flour. Different brands of AP have different protein levels in them. Not sure if this would make a difference but I was reading somewhere that they can. King Arthur Flour has 11.7 rating of protien where as Pillsbury has I think like 9 or 10. Now this could make a big difference in the final product. Cakes, cookies, so on and so forth. And of course unbleached vs bleached.
    That is why when someone has a recipe they should say exactly what type of flour they use (just generally speaking). It could make a difference4 in how they turn out.
    I saw Throwdown too and have wanted to figure out how to make these cookies. I am also wondering if the 6oz really does make a difference in baking them. I have never had there cookies to I cannot say if this is true or not.

    Great blog. I will let you know my experience when I bake these.

  308. Diana
    September 7, 2010

    Hi Lisa,

    I’ve made your copycat Levain Choc Chip cookies and they were delicious. I made them multiple times and everyone in my family and coworkers love them. It will be a recipe that I will use for years to come.

    I’d love to know if you have a copycat Oatmeal Raisin recipe figured out. If so, please, please share!

    Thanks again!

  309. Cookingcutie
    September 7, 2010

    Just went to Levain again yesterday and remembered how much the cookies rock!!! There’s really nothing that can compare. Someone needs to get a job at Levain and then post what type of ingredients they use. thank god I live near manhattan!

  310. Anna
    October 25, 2011

    Hi , thank you so much for the recipe for the choc chip walnut copy cat of levains cookie. Now, I tried your recipe with 1/3 cup molasses as well as white and dark brown sugar. I also used whole wheat pastry flour, b.powder and b.soda and cornstarch. My cookies came out dark brown, crispy and tasty. I made them half the size, they did raise up a bit but not as tall because of how I shaped them. I also froze dough for 1.5-2 hrs and dough was hard and I sliced it and placed it on parchment paper at 350 for 17 minutes which was too long. They were cooked well but still were yummy! I would only bake at 12 minutes at 350 next time for perfect cookies. These were amazing and I love them evne if they look darker and are crispier. I want to post my pictures but dont know how.. Anna

  311. Leku
    December 5, 2011

    My CC walnut cookies(Lisa’s recipe) came out awful. much like brown hockey pucks. not white, not chewy. they came out like little cakes and were stale by the next day. I can’t even give these away.
    I was really looking forward to this cookie.

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