Levain-Style Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I was winding down my Friday afternoon at work, I was talking to a coworker who lives on the opposite coast and he asked me if I was cooking or baking anything interesting this weekend. The short answer was no. I’m in California trying to get my condo ready to be rented. My house up in Washington was burglarized while I’ve been here. No. No. No. I need to get back to Washington.

Then he asked me if I had baked anything good recently, and I mentioned these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that I had yet to blog and we got into this big discussion about pumpkin pie and pumpkin everything that comes out of the woodwork in the fall. We both agreed that pumpkin pie is nasty unless you use real pumpkin. He says he hates all things pumpkin besides real pumpkin pie, and that’s where we diverge. I love all things pumpkin (just not pumpkin pie!). And I’m totally OK with canned pumpkin in recipes other than pumpkin pie. Even though I know it’s not likely real pumpkin but instead squash.

Randomly, I had a can of pumpkin puree in my SoCal cupboards as well as some chocolate chunks. I don’t want to lug any food up to Washington when I head back up and I don’t really want to throw anything out either so I have made it my mission to eat through all of the food left in my freezer and cupboards while I’m here. Luckily, there’s not a ton of food here.

My mind wandered to making something with pumpkin and chocolate chunks and settled on cookies. Particularly, I wanted to make some Levain-style cookies because they’re basically my favorite cookie of all time. So I googled whether or not someone had the idea before me and turns out someone had: Brooklynn at A Pleasant Palate.

My recipe below is a cross between Brooklynn‘s recipe and the Levain-style cookie recipes I’ve been making. I loved her suggestion to get as much water out of the pumpkin as possible. I always hate how cake-like pumpkin cookies turn out and Brooklynn promised removing the water would significantly improve the final product’s texture. Spoiler alert: The trick works!

Levain Bakery cookies are amazing because they are big and thick and soft and dough-like on the inside, which makes them always moist, never dry. They basically taste like you’re eating baked cookie dough, which I understand makes zero sense.

These particular pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are not overly pumpkin-y at all (so they aren’t very orange) but, IMO, are pumpkin-y enough. I didn’t jazz them up with pumpkin pie spice because … see earlier comments about not liking pumpkin pie. But you could certainly do so. I did use cinnamon to bring out some warmth. Brooklynn‘s secret is to use maple in her cookies instead of vanilla extract. I kept my cookies vanilla by using vanilla extract. I would make these again.


  • 1 c. cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ⅔ c. pumpkin puree/pure pumpkin
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1 ½ c. cake flour
  • 1 ½ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 c. chocolate chips or chunks
  • 2 c. pecans roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
  2. Measure out pumpkin. Try to get as much water out of it as possible. What I did was to put the pumpkin in a fine mesh sieve. Then I pressed a paper towel against the pumpkin in the sieve being careful not to allow pumpkin to seep through the sieve. I was able to get a lot of water out of the pumpkin this way. Brooklynn recommends using cheesecloth for this step.
  3. In a large bowl, add flours, cornstarch, soda, salt and cinnamon and stir together to incorporate.
  4. 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 pumpkin and stir to combine.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients. Mix until almost combined and then stir in chocolate chips and pecans. 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).
  6. Make approximately 8 to 10 large balls of dough with the dough and place on light colored cookie sheets covered in parchment paper. I use an ice-cream scoop and place two scoops of dough onto the pan to make one large ball of dough. 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.
  7. 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.

Recipe rating: 

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