Sunday, September 28, 2014

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last month, I finally fulfilled my long-time dream of traveling to New York City.  Talk about a foodie's paradise!  I got to eat at Bar Boulud, Cafe Boulud, Eataly, and Schnipper's Deli, all of which were absolutely fantastic.  But, if you've been following my blog, you know I'm all about the sweets.  And from hearing what other people have said about NYC, that meant it was time to go hunt down those chocolate chip cookies, namely Jacques Torres, Levain Bakery, and Thomas Keller.

To my disappointment, however, I found out that Levain Bakery's famous chocolate chip cookie is made with walnuts (I'm allergic) and they don't make a nut-free version.  My mom who came with me, on the other hand, has no such problem, and she gladly devoured the cookie we bought from there and proclaimed it the best out of the three places above.  She then went back into the bakery and promptly bought five more to take home.  Ha!

Cookie from Levain Bakery
Well, this just wouldn't do.  The "best" cookie in NYC and I can't even taste it for myself?  Oh no!  So, I had no choice but to hunt down a copycat recipe and make them myself, this time with no walnuts.  I came across this recipe on the blog, Parsley Sage & Sweet.  Since a lot of other bloggers commented on how close this one was to the real thing, I figured I couldn't go wrong.

The only thing I changed was to add 1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla.  Whether that made the cookie taste less Levain-esque, I don't know, but I simply have to have vanilla in my chocolate chip cookies.  I then followed a couple of recommendations on her blog and added 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and also froze the large cookie dough balls before baking them.  The result?  I got ooey, gooey centers in my cookies surrounded by a lovely crispy shell.  Then, there was all that chocolatey goodness melting in the middle.  Oooohhh!  I can't even describe how good that was.

My sister, who sampled one of the actual Levain cookies my mom brought back, took a taste too.  Unfortunately, she couldn't for the life of her remember what the original one tasted like, so she couldn't say whether or not this one came close.  And, since I hadn't tasted it either, I guess we'll never know.  But, what I do know was that these cookies tasted awesome!  My sister also loved the thick, chewy texture of the cookies.  She then proceeded to take a lot of them home with her to eat later on.  This one is truly a keeper!

 Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Parsley Sage & Sweet)

1 c. 'cold and cubed' unsalted butter (I used salted)
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (I added this)
3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (I omitted this)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. milk chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the flour, cornstarch, salt (if using), baking powder, and baking soda until combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.

Form into large balls, about 4 oz. each.  (I did about three of my cookies like this and made the rest of them into small, regular-sized cookies).  Freeze the dough balls for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Bake the large cookie dough balls for 15-20 minutes (mine took 23 minutes).  Bake the smaller, regular-sized dough balls for 12 minutes.