I got back from New York city last night and one of my first orders of business was to recreate the chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery.
My best friend and I stayed in Midtown in close proximity to the two Levain Bakeries on the Upper West Side and the newly opened one located nearish to The Met on the Upper East Side. Sadly we were only able to go to Levain Bakery one time, not knowing (at our initial visit) that the bakeries were not dotted across all of Manhattan like Milk Bar and Magnolia Bakery seem to be. Incidentally, I can get both Milk Bar and Magnolia Bakery right here in LA.
Dear Levain Bakery, Please get with the times and open up a bakery location in LA. Signed, One devoted cookie fan.
Our trip to New York was pretty much a race against time as we tried to squeeze in all the typical tourist locations. After stopping at Levain for the first time on Thursday night and getting caught in a downpour on our walk back to Midtown, we planned to stop at Levain on Saturday, our last half-day in New York, but ran out of time as we raced from St. Patrick’s Cathedral to The Guggenheim to The Met having to return to our hotel at 1 pm for a late checkout. I contemplated hopping on the subway to get to the Upper East Side Levain before heading to JFK but it seemed like such a hassle to drag all my luggage up and down the subway steps several times. Even though I had packed way lighter than normal and only brought a suitcase I could stow above my seat on the plane, I had purchased some fabulous perfume (The Harmonist) at Barney’s and knew I would not be able to smuggle the perfume jar through security at JFK.
As luck would have it, a few weeks ago I came across a copy-cat recipe for Levain Bakery’s chocolate chip cookie at Modern Honey and had been planning to try it at some point anyway. Having had the real Levain Bakery cookies in New York (omg amazing) and having not been able to take any home to enjoy in California, it became quite apparent that I would need to bake my own Levain cookies at home.
The real difference in the original recipe for the cookie aside from the amount of flour added is that there was no vanilla (which seems odd-so I added) and you use cold cubed butter instead of allowing it to come to room temperature. Oh also there’s a pinch of cornstarch in the dough as well. My only complaint about Levain cookies (and this is a minor one but noticeable to my palate) is they are strikingly low in salt. In every flavor I tried! To that end, I upped the salt quotient in the cookies I recreated at home.
Whether or not you have had cookies from Levain Bakery, I promise you, you will love this cookie. One cookie and a cup of coffee is basically a meal. Share with family and friends so you feel less guilty about eating one.
- 1 c. cold butter cut into small cubes
- 1 c. brown Sugar
- ½ c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 T. vanilla
- 1 ½ c. cake flour
- 1 ½ c. flour
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 c. chocolate chips
- 2 c. walnuts roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
- In a large bowl, add flours, cornstarch, soda and salt and stir together to incorporate.
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar until creamy. It will not be light and creamy like standard cookie dough. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one and scraping the sides and bottom to make sure all ingredients are incorporated. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
Stir in dry ingredients. Mix until almost combined and then stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Stop mixing when you see no more flour (so long as the chips and walnuts are sufficiently mixed in with the rest of the dough).
Make approximately 8 to 10 large balls of dough with the dough and place on light colored cookie sheets covered in parchment paper. You should have four to five cookies per cookie sheet. They do not spread out all that much but you don’t want the cookies to touch during the baking process.
Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until golden brown on the top and edges. Let cool completely on the cookie sheets. If you can’t wait for them to cool completely before trying them (Levain serves their cookies warm!), allow to set at least 15 minutes before digging in.