It’s no secret that cookies are BY FAR my favorite thing to bake: everybody loves them, they are so delicious, and best of all…so easy!
The quote above by my baking role model, Christina Tosi, could not be more accurate, in my opinion. I’ve realized over my years of baking that you just really cannot go wrong with a warm batch of chocolate chip cookies. When I wanted to bake something, I would always have trouble deciding what I wanted to bake and I always thought I should switch it up. I’d flip through cookbooks, research recipes online, and scroll through Instagram baking accounts to try and find inspiration for my next baking endeavor. After endless recipe searching, I found myself time and time again coming back to the same chocolate chip cookie recipe because it is just. that. good.
To give you a little insight into why I am obsessed with these cookies…let me talk to you a little about Levain Bakery. Levain Bakery is known world-wide for their incredibly massive, softball-sized, heavenly chocolate chip cookies. I honestly don’t think I can put into words how life-changing my experience trying Levain Cookies was (okay, that might be a little dramatic but honestly, they are the best cookies in the world). The outside of the cookie is crunchy and crispy but the inside is still molten and delicious. They truly have those cookies down to a science!
After having my first bite of their Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie, I knew their cookies were different and I wanted to figure out how to bring that amazing cookie experience back with me to Texas. (Fun fact: After I ate my cookie in their store, I went up to the register and asked if they could at least tell me what flour they used in their cookies and sadly, she wouldn’t tell me 🙁 They have to keep their amazing recipe top secret!)
There are soooooo many copycat Levain bakery cookie recipes on the internet and after endless scrolling, I decided to try the recipe from Melissa Stadler of Modern Honey because it had the highest reviews. It’s a great recipe but over the past year, I have made some of my own adaptations to the recipe that I feel like take it to the next level. I elaborate more on that below.
Also, as I was writing this blog post, my sister pointed out that it had been exactly 3 years TO THE DAY of me trying Levain for the first time! What a coincidence!
(Pictures below are from May 2018 when I tried Levain for the first time)
Now, onto the real reason you are here…the cookie recipe!
These cookies are a rendition of the classic Levain cookies but with a few twists. They have the classic beautiful, golden, crispy outside, but are still gooey and soft in the middle with pools of melted chocolate! I mean, they really are pretty heavenly.
A few things are crucial to getting these cookies just right:
- It’s VERY important to chill the dough for at least 1 hour in the fridge so that the cookies don’t spread as much in the oven
- There are some ingredients that make these cookies unique which I explain below
The cookie recipe below has a few unconventional cookie ingredients so let me break down why some of those ingredients are used in this recipe and how it truly does make a difference (don’t forget that baking is not only an art, but also a science)!
- Cold, salted butter
- I think many bakers would argue with me on the debate of unsalted vs. salted butter. The argument for unsalted butter is that you are better able to control the amount of salt that goes in the recipe but I have found that salted butter adds a better flavor and richness than unsalted butter and these cookies are so rich that the salted butter helps to balance out that richness from the chocolate.
- The butter being cold is IMPERATIVE to this recipe. The cold butter helps the cookies not spread too much which creates the distinct Levain cookie thickness.
- Cake flour
- I won’t get into the hardcore science-y aspect of how different flours affect baked goods but cake flour has a lower gluten content which helps to create fluffier, puffier, and more delicate cookies. The all-purpose flour has a higher gluten content than cake flour so it creates a better structure to the cookie. With the combination of cake flour + all-purpose flour, the cookie is still thick and pillow-y but holds it’s structure in the oven.
- The cornstarch is another ingredient in this recipe that prevents the cookies from spreading. It is used as a thickening agent in sauces traditionally, but when used in cookies like this, it creates a soft and thick cookie.
- Chocolate chips
- The type of chocolate chip you use makes a huge difference in this cookie. For these cookies, you want dark chocolate chips and you want chips that will melt. Many chocolate chips have a coating on them that is intended to prevent the chips from losing their distinct shape but for these cookies, you want ooey, gooey “melty-ness”! Levain uses dark chocolate chips in their cookies and I have found two brands of chocolate chips that I absolutely love in these cookies because they bring the perfect amount of richness and meltiness:
I hope you enjoy these cookies! Bake some for yourself, your family, your friends, neighbors, colleagues, any and everybody! Nothing says “I love you” more than a batch of warm, homemade cookies!
Levain Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies are thick, decadent, and full of melty chocolate chip goodness! This recipe makes 12 big cookies (if you want to make 10 cookies and make them even bigger, go for it)!
1 cup (2 sticks) COLD salted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 eggs, cold
1 1/2 cups + 1 TBSP cake flour
1 1/2 cups + 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 1/4 cups good quality dark chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)–> You can definitely add more chocolate chips according to your preference
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Mix together cake flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and cornstarch in a medium sized bowl and set aside
- Cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with a stand mixer or hand mixer for at least 5 minutes (8 minutes is preferred) until the mixture is light in color and fluffy (See Note** below)
- With mixer on medium, add in both eggs to the wet mixture until thoroughly combined
- With mixer on medium-low, slowly add dry mixture to the wet mixture a little bit at a time until just combined (don’t over-mix because that will result in denser, tougher cookies)
- Add in the chocolate chips with mixer on low or stir in by hand until incorporated
- Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour before baking (the longer the better)
- Place about 5 ounces (the size of a baseball) of the chilled cookie dough on a non-stick or parchment lined baking sheet and place the mounds of dough at least 3 inches apart. I usually do no more than 6 cookies per pan—> Don’t roll the ball into a perfect circle. You want loosely shaped mounds of dough!
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the outside is barely golden brown–> You do not want to over-bake these! (They will continue baking on the pan after being taken out of the oven so don’t be scared if they look a little underdone)
- Let cool for about 10 minutes or just eat right away! I won’t judge!
Notes from Emily
- Recipe adapted from Modern Honey’s Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Crush Cookies
- **I know 5-7 minutes seems like a really long time to cream the butter and sugars together but it does make a difference. By creaming the butter and sugars for a longer amount of time, you are adding air into the mixture which creates a lighter, fluffier, and more delicate cookie which WE WANT! Don’t skimp on the longer creaming process—I promise it’s worth it!