Testing the Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

homemade Levain chocolate chip cookies

Two years and 262+ comments later, I finally decided to try the recipe for Levain Bakery’s monstrous chocolate chip cookies. Weighing nearly half a pound, I lusted after them but never dared make them. When they were featured on Bobby Flay’s Throwdown, a torrent of commenters asked me how the recipe was. I shrugged my shoulders but gave educated guesses.

Then, more commenters swooned over the tweaked recipe. With high expectations, I attempted this new version. Sadly, they tasted plain (even after I added 2 tsp vanilla) and had a sandy texture. Sure, there was a nice contrast between the crisp outside and doughy center, but if you piled any chocolate chip cookie dough into a 1/4-cup mound, you’d probably get the same result. My favorite recipe is still the one I’ve been using for nearly 15 years, and it has whole wheat flour. The whole wheat gives it extra flavor, and combined with the brown sugar, a good chew.

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Levain Bakery Cookie Recipes

Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie
picture courtesy Robyn Lee/The Girl Who Ate Everything

When it comes to my stomach, I like to walk on the wild side. I don’t mean eating exotic foods like iguana or chicken feet (which I’ve enjoyed), but foods that border on sanitary. I’m talking about raw eggs in the form of cookie and cake batter. I’ll risk getting sick if food tastes good.

That’s why the chocolate chip cookies from Levain Bakery appeal to me: New York magazine dubbed them “borderline raw.” Yum. Sounds like a cookie that’s soft and chewy.

I’m not one to spend $3.50 on a cookie that weighs nearly half a pound (it’s deadly for my wallet and waistline), so I dug up Levain’s legendary recipes from Art Culinaire magazine. Note: I approximated the weights into volume measurements.

Ginger Valrhona® Cookies (Yields 1 dozen cookies)

by Connie McDonald & Pamela Weekes

For a copycat of Levain’s famous chocolate chip cookies, omit the ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add one cup of toasted walnuts. Several people have asked about the molasses and the high proportion of white sugar. One cup of brown sugar is actually equivalent to one cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup molasses. Lisa, a faithful commenter, also developed a popular recipe with slightly different measurements. I tested the recipe and still prefer my old standby.

Ingredients

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
3 ounces (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) brown sugar
2 eggs
4 ounces (1/3 cup) unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap)
18 ounces (4 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces (2 cups) Valrhona® extra dark bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well incorporated, then add molasses, flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chunks. Transfer dough to clean work surface and divide into 12 equal portions. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in oven 12 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Let cool on rack and store in airtight container.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies (Yields 1 dozen cookies)

by Connie McDonald & Pamela Weekes

For Levain’s Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip cookies, try the recipe that Lisa, a commenter, adapted.

Ingredients

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
10 ounces (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 ounces (1/2 cup) Dutch-processsed cocoa powder
10 ounces (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
Pinch of Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
3 ounces (1 cup) large walnut pieces
3 ounces (1 1/8 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. 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 and place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in oven 12 minutes, taking care not to overbake. Let cool on rack and store in airtight container.

For true Levain fans, here’s their recipe for oatmeal raisin scones, provided by the Food Network. They are not half raw.

Levain Bakery
167 W. 74th St. (near Amsterdam Ave.)
New York, NY 10023
212-874-6080

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