Levain Copy Cat Cookies Research Experiment #1

I embarked on my first expedition to make THE copycat Levain chocolate chip cookie today. Although I didn’t try the Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie from Levain (which is a HUGE favorite), I am pretty sure that once I get the texture down and the taste right (I’ll just assume here), I can continue on to replicating the Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie that I have now loved after having three bites two days ago.

I got a recommendation of this recipe from Vanilla Kitchen, and, to be frank, it looks VERY similar to the cookie that stared at me in that cute and cramped little yankee bakery known as Levain. Looks are good, so, that means that we are on the right track, right?

The pictures from the website are beautiful, but I think that they looked a little too done from what I viewed on the cookie. Here, I think that underbaking is the key to that almost ooey-gooey center that was so delish. I remember that when I took the cookie out of the bag to look at it, the bottom gave in a little bit under its own weight, that means that its internal structure was still a bit underbaked. Fully cooked, yes, but underbaked so that it was just lovely.

Now, I followed the recipe to a T, but left out the vanilla, because I heard that Levain actually does not incorporate vanilla into the cookies. So, I creamed the cool (didn’t have European butter either, oops) butter with the sugars until they were JUST COMBINED. Not creamy, but a bit shaggy. The creaming method isn’t something that effects flavor in the final product. The creaming method actually uses the sugar to poke little tiny holes all through the fat in the butter, which gives structure for the leavening to work its magic with. This is why the creaming method typically increases the volume of the mixture, its air. Also, I mixed in the eggs carefully, being sure to not overbeat them. Followed by the flour mixture (I used a little sea salt in the mixture, it was a good compliment. I also substituted the baking soda with baking powder, rounding out the recipe to 2 tsp. of powder. Baking soda causes cookies to spread.).

I mixed in the chocolate by hand (OMITing the walnuts, I’m giving these away at school tomorrow, and I don’t know a lot of people who like walnuts). The dough is very thick, but its easy to get all of the chocolate in there.

From that point, I used my HANDS to separate the dough into raggedy drop doughs that were 2 ounces each, weighing each one. This is important to ensure even baking. If you want a smoother cookie, then GENLTY roll the ball, don’t smoosh, smooth. Don’t worry, it will spread enough.

I baked the cookies for 8 minutes at 375, then reduced the temperature to 350 and baked for ten minutes. The little points that stick out on the cookie will caramelize a bit, and the top will be slightly set. But when you press the cookie, it will give easily, and the edges will be golden brown. Remove and allow to sit on the tray for about a minute or two, this will set the bottom for easy removal because these cookies are so soft.

Cool and enjoy, they will be nice and soft :]. They are thick and buttery and sugary and YUM. The inside is nice and moist and delicious, I bet it will be even better with the European butter, since it has a smoother consistency. I’ll do some more copycat recipes in the future!

Levain Bakery CC Cookie (Copycat)
Ingredients
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted European butter, (cold & shredded like cheese)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ts vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour (13 ½ oz)
3/4 ts sea salt
1 and ¼ ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda Replaced this with baking powder
12 ounces (2 cups) good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 cup walnuts

Method
If using dough right away, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (It’s best to chill, though; I chilled overnight)
(note: keep in mind this is a very dry dough, and will be hard to mix once you put the chips and nuts in; I used my hands)
Take the butter and using a cheese grater, shred the butter into a bowl, put it back in the freezer until ready to use.
In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars just until just combined. Don’t overbeat. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until incorporated.
Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. When thoroughly mixed, add to batter and stir just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Divide dough into 12 big 4 oz lumps. Mold into giant golfballs; do not press flat! Keep them as balls on the cookie sheets. Bake on ungreased cookies sheets (one sheet at a time). (I chilled my dough balls for 20 minutes BEFORE baking)

Put the cookies in a 375 degree oven and set timer for 8 minutes. When timer rings, without opening oven or removing cookies, reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until cookies appear set.
OR I did mine at 365 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until done. (Mine were done in 18 minutes)
I reduced the heat to 350 and baked for ten minutes

Makes 12

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5 responses to “Levain Copy Cat Cookies Research Experiment #1

  1. Clara, these cookies look delicious! Your pictures from NYC are gorgeous too! I hope you bring these to school tomorrow so I can indulge in quite possibly the ultimate chocolate chip cookie 🙂

  2. yay! i see you tried the recipe i recommended! I’m glad it worked! i have to try it soon as well! they look delicious!

  3. WOW! Those look so delicious! I will definitely have to try them! Thanks for all your pictures from New York. It was fun to see all the places you went! I hope you had a fun time! Thanks again for all the blogging 🙂

    ~Vicki

  4. Looks like your cookies turned out great. I have found that even though all the different copycats I’ve tried, they still aren’t QUITE as good as the real thing, but I love having something that comes in a close second! Can’t wait to see your double chocolate clone!

  5. yum,yum,yum! I want to try and make these!! What delicious treats will you make when we come for graduation?? Maybe I should make you something since you’re graduating! 🙂 It won’t be as good though.. love you! so proud!

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