If you dig chocolate chip cookies and live in or visit NYC, you know the city's best - or maybe THE best - from Levain Bakery. The cookies are jumbo in size and spectacular in taste. Though Levain makes and sells a variety of flavors, we think it is fair to say that the chocolate chip with walnuts is the most popular on the menu. And because it is so popular (yes, this is the cookie for which one waits in line for hours or travels miles through rain and snow, etc.) many want nothing more than to make their own version at home.
Here is just a snapshot at what makes these cookies so Levain-like and so darn good. We use cold butter and eggs to help the cookies spread less than your average. We call for cake flour as well as all-purpose (and I throw in some cornstarch for good measure) which adds incredible tenderness to the cookies. There is no vanilla, but there is copious amounts of chocolate chips and walnuts, which contribute to the cookies' structure and height. The combo of these factors, plus the large balls of dough that make up each cookie (a whopping 6 ounces!) results in a truly over-the-top treat.
Though the original recipe is known to few, many have tried to replicate this special cookie and we are happy to say these cookies come extremely close. Whether you think of these as Levain Copycats or not, you will most definitely be making them over and over again because they are just that good.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, cold
- 1 large yolk, cold
- 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup walnut halves
Gather the ingredients.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flours, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs and yolk, then continue to beat on medium-low speed until just combined,
Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
Add the chocolate and walnuts; mix just until evenly incorporated.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 6-ounces each. The pieces should be craggily and "rustic" (this is not the time for smooth balls of dough scooped with a cookie scoop). Place 4 balls of dough on each prepared baking sheet, then place in the freezer for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Bake 1 sheet of cookies at a time for about 15 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The cookies are ready when they are golden brown and the middle still looks slightly underdone.
Let the cookies rest at least 15 minutes before serving so the middles can just set—they will still be gooey, which is what you want.
The cookies are best warm, straight from the oven, so bake off only as many as you want to eat right away. Freeze any remaining dough in a resealable bag for up to a month.
- If you omit the nuts in your cookies, the cookies will spread more.
- Freezing stops the cookies from spreading, but it isn't required if you are feeling impatient or extra hangry.
- Grab fistfuls of dough when shaping the cookie balls and be gentle - do not try to shape the cookies into something smooth.
- Don't over bake - they are meant to be ooey-gooey in the middle.
- If you want super tall cookies, freeze for 2 hours. It won't change the taste but they will be taller and more "Levain-like" in look.
- You can use different kinds of chocolate for a variety, such as semi-sweet and milk.
- Chopped chocolate is an option, but the original Levain cookie uses chips.
- If you don't like walnuts, try a different kind of nut like pecans or almonds.
- Although the original Levain cookie does not call for it, you can add vanilla