Battle of the Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie

Levain Bakery, hands down, creates the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever tasted. Yes, I make that statement without fear of backlash and differing opinions. When we lived in New York, we would venture into the city or out to the island to get our Levain fix. And now when I travel back to New York, if I do not bring back Levain cookies, I may as well not come home. The photo below is the Levain chocolate chip walnut cookie.  This cookie can be ordered along with other products and cookie flavors through their site.

 

Levain chocolate chip walnut cookie from the Levain Bakery


Before I go into my obsession about this cookie, I will tell you a story.  We lived in New York for fifteen years before moving to Colorado (I want to move back every single day). One weekend we took a drive out to Wainscott and I had my husband stop at the Levain Bakery there. When he saw the price of $4 a cookie, he almost bolted. I convinced him that I had heard they were the best cookie ever and well worth that price.

We each bought one. I remember sitting on a bench near the bakery and watching my husband and son's faces as they bit into the cookie. "Andrew, mommy is never wrong about anything, remember that." (He repeated that same statement when I dragged him into Doughnut Plant but that is for another story). 

Last year I shared an article on my cookbook dreams, one of which was my hope that the fabulous women behind Levain would publish a book with their to-die-for recipes. Until that time occurs and in between trips to New York, I have made it my mission to try as many of the copycat versions I have found online (some I have adapted).  If you happen to take to Google, there are hundreds of copycat versions, here I will highlight the ones that I found to be the best. 

You will note that most of the recipes listed below are very similar but here are a few rules you must follow no matter which recipe you choose to make. Levain has confirmed they have no vanilla in their cookie (adding it is up to you). Try to use dark chocolate chips as that is what the bakery's version contains, but I sometimes mix the chocolate half dark, half semi-sweet. Before baking always, always - let me repeat - always - refrigerate the dough balls for at least an hour (or freeze for twenty minutes). If you do not take this step, the cookies will spread and you want them to be craggily mounds of majestic cookieness. Do not overbake - they are meant to be warm and gooey and orgasmic and when I'm feeling really crazy, I sprinkle a little fleur de sel on top of the cookies right out of the oven.

Recipes below are indexed on Eat Your Books - click the link and look for "View Complete Recipe".

 

Levain Bakery copycat chocolate chip walnut cookie part two by Parsley Sage Sweet has set the bar that all copycats try to reach. Lisa of Parsley, Sage has done the work on this cookie - her recipe is the closest to perfection I have found (with the addition of the cornstarch and freezing/or refrigeration of the dough). Before she posted those updates, I had discovered those additions myself. The only thing I do differently is a half and half mix of cake flour and bread flour as I find that results in a texture that is more like the original cookie. 

 

Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookies by Brown Eyed Baker is a nice version but doesn't have the same craggily (yes, that is my word for these cookies) texture.  

If you have not had the real deal from Levain Bakery, any of these versions will provide delicious results. I have made each of the versions listed below (save Bake at 350's chocolate peanut butter version) and they were good. (Honey and Brie does not have you chill the dough and that results in spreading cookies - delicious but flat.) 

I will keep experimenting and will update this post if I make any discoveries. Let me know if you make any of these recipes or find others you enjoy.

Happy Baking!

5 Comments

  • koismith  on  3/16/2019 at 8:43 PM

    Gotta agree with this post 100%. So glad you've chosen Lisa's as the best as that's the one I've settled on and made since 2008. Now I'm going to have to try the recipe with cornstarch. Mmmm, Levain! --Katrina

  • EmilyR  on  3/16/2019 at 11:39 PM

    Thank you for sharing all of this. My love of New York and Levain run deep. I thought the cookies were 6 oz. each. Can we pay a food lab to reverse construct it? Kidding... kind of.

  • Jenny  on  3/17/2019 at 1:48 AM

    Emily R - they are 6 oz each - I sometimes go that big - but more often I make them 3 to 4 oz because 6 oz is way too big.

  • MirandaAK  on  3/17/2019 at 8:12 AM

    I have been wondering about Levain cookies, but haven’t wanted to shell out the big bucks to have them shipped, so thank you for this! Pro tip: they are definitely resting their dough for a while. In a past NYT article about the best chocolate chip cookie, several big-name chefs said at 36 hours(in the cooler). I insist on at least 12 hours. Regardless, any Baker/pastry chef concerned about labor costs makes cookie dough in massive batches to bake over 2 or 3 days, or even a week or two, because that’s the only way a production schedule is efficient.

  • Jane  on  3/26/2019 at 3:02 PM

    I made these yesterday following the Parsley Sage Sweet recipe plus Jenny's changes (cornstarch, half cake and bread flour and chill before baking). I made them 2.5 ounces each and that was plenty big enough - 6 ounces is crazy. Boy were they good. They all vanished from the meeting I was hosting with several people sneaking out extras for partners at home. I kept back a few balls to test tomorrow with a 36 hour chill. I'll be interested to see any difference that makes.

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