Chocolate Chip Cookies With Instant Yeast

Update:  This is an old post from back in the days when I acted goofy.  Sorry.  Anyhow, since posting this I’ve not made anymore cookies with instant yeast.  Bread, yes.  Cookies, no.  The closest I’ve come to the Levain cookie is  this one.


Allow me to introduce myself.

I am the phantom of Cookie Madness and I’m here because my sweet angel of cookies (Anna) promised never to speak of



Before I take her away (by boat) to my lair in a foggy swamp, I will share with you one more secret copy cat recipe sent to me by another sweet angel of cookies, Rita (from Portugal!). Rita created a new version of the cookie with instant yeast. Try it. That’s all I ask of you.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies with Instant Yeast

4 ounces unsalted butter, room temp or slightly cold
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar, but light okay too (used dark)
1 large egg
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups BREAD flour (6 1/2 oz) – weigh if possible. If no scale, scoop and sweep
1/4 teaspoon Instant Yeast (sometimes called fast-acting)
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 to 1/2 cup barely chopped, untoasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Beat butter and both sugars just until they come together. Don’t over-beat. Add the egg and salt; beat just until mixed.

Mix together the flour and instant yeast. When thoroughly mixed, add to batter and stir just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. The dough should be neither sticky nor dry.

Divide dough into four large mounds, but keep the mounds kind of raggedy. That is, don’t smash them into compact balls or try to smooth them.

Bake for 10 minutes on an ungreased insulated cookie sheet or a cookie sheet stacked on top of another cookie sheet. After 10 minutes, without opening the oven, reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until cookies appear set and nicely browned all over. Total bake-time 18-20 minutes.

Cool on sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 4 phantomtasticly big cookies

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  1. Michelle W. in Calif. says

    LOL! I got a thrill when I “tuned” to Cookie Madness and heard Phantom music! I’m a bit of a Phantom nut (but only of the 2004 movie—-okay, actually of the guy who played him…) Thanks for that, Cookie Phantom! 😉

    Okay, now to the cookies—-are those Anna’s cookies in the pic? They do have that nice raggedy appearance, but can’t tell how high they are???

    Also, regarding the Levain copycats from the other day: if I’m omitting nuts, do I need to increase the amount of chocolate chips???

  2. says

    Love the Phantom reference…GREAT musical!!! That’s interesting adding yeast to a cookie. Can’t say I’d have ever done that.

  3. christine says

    Anna, Will you add this recipe to your top ten?? Only then will I know if you experienced the sweet sensation of the power of the night with this one…
    I just love your creativity, a fine line betweeen “madness” and genius, perhaps?


  4. Mattie says

    The phantom music is too much!!! You are so adorable! Can’t wait to try these. Way to go, Anna!

  5. says

    This is the Phantom again.

    I needed my song to make a grand entrance, but it will surely start to annoy you after the first half second. You can turn it off by clicking the button with the two lines on the play box.

    Knowing Anna, she will probably come and de-activate my glorious playbox tomorrow, so enjoy it while you can, my sweet angels of music.

    Now about those cookies. Rita was the one brave enough to try the instant yeast, so thanks Rita.

    What I noticed about the yeast cookies was more shagginess, a bit more chewiness, and a more brick-like dense quality.

    Most importantly, these cookies will be great for people with baking soda allergies!

  6. Sue says

    When I opened this up, heard the music, and read the message, I was laughing out loud. Both my husband and son wanted to know what was so funny.

    Thanks for having such a great sense of humor.

  7. Karen says

    That was hilarious! I haven’t tried the latest versions of this recipe and was planning on making some soon – should I go the yeast route or the baking soda route, oh Phantom?

  8. Karen says

    After reading Rita’s post, it makes me wish she had tried one without any leavening. I’m not sure what the yeast can really do in this type of recipe other than add a little flavor. I don’t think there’s enough time for the yeast to do anything.

  9. eva says

    …just a tip for those OCD bakers like myself that deliberately form smooth mounds or balls in order to evenly measure their cookies. Another work-around is to form your ball and then “tear it” in half, carefully reattaching the halves together but with the ragged side out and the smooth side facing each other. (It’s a tip/trick from CI.)

  10. says

    Hmmm, been gone all evening. I’m intrigued–especially after my whole levain agent discovery. Gotta try this one!
    Anna, do you think it TASTES like the Levain cookies you had?
    Just wondering.

  11. says

    Eeeekkk the music really amde me jump when I came to your blog – the volume was up loud! Lol, great touch. The cookies look fanatsic.

  12. says

    Ah ah ah ah ah! Couldn’t stop laughing when I listened to the music! That was genius Anna! Thanks for making the cookies, I knew when I emailed you there was a big chance you couldn’t resist!

    Karen, I also thought about doing one wihtout leavening, unfortunatly after the cookies were in the oven. I’ll defenetly try it next time. I know the instant yeast didn’t have must time to develop but still I believe it contributes to the texture. Next time I’ll experiment without yeast, and with a bit of proffing time (that will make a ultra gigantic phantasmagoric cookie).

    Also, I’ve tasted the cookies today and the were great still (the 4 of them), still my favourite is still the yeast one. It kept the crunch on the edges and has today a more fudgy interior. Will tast again tomorrow.

    Phantom, please don’t take Anna away, she rocks! Rita

  13. Debbi says

    Yikes, it’s 5 in the morning and I have your page as my homepage and all of a sudden this loud music starts (not super loud but at 5 am it’s pretty quiet around here). Scared the bejeeebers out of me! I still have yet to try one of the phantom Levain cookies so perhaps this is a sign that I should!! 🙂

  14. says

    I never thought of yeasted cookies before, but these look perfect! I recently made some yeasted buckwheat pancakes, and I have a couple of packs of yeast left. Will definitely have to try this! Anna, I just knew you weren’t really done yet with the Levain cookies. 🙂

  15. says

    As suspected, Anna shut off my grand entrance music. But it’s time for me to go hide in the shadows, so that’s probably a good thing. Just watch out for giant moving chandeliers!

    About the yeast, like Karen I wonder what would happen if you just left out all leavenings completely, but on the show, they said “flour and leavenings” when they showed the bowl of flour.

    The yeast does add a tiny bit of flavor and unless my eyes are playing tricks on me, the cookies have more of a greyish hue on the inside, which is something the Levain cookies had.

    Rita liked the yeast version the best. I think I might like the baking soda version the best, but I need to take another taste to decide.

  16. says

    On my way to take boys to school and stop and get some fast acting yeast (I only have active dry which I believe is a bit different). Excited to try these. If they are good, I will be giving gigantic cookies to the boys teacher. I can’t believe the last day of school is tomorrow!

  17. Katy says

    Dear Anna,
    Today’s Oprah features Dr Mehmet Oz investigating OCD. We might all want to watch it! 🙂

  18. says

    Katy, I saw the preview last night. OCD camp!

    Unfortunately, I have this ritual where I only watch Oprah while on the treadmill at the gym and I’ve already been to the gym. Watching Oprah without being on a treadmill would really put me out of my comfort zone. Bad things would happen.

  19. Jan Harris says

    Like Michelle, I too, adore Gerard Butler (GGGGRRRRRRR!) and the 2004 movie. So I just loved the references to POTO and the clever insertion of lines from the story. You have truly made my night!

  20. says

    Well, I blame it on you enablers and you know who you are.

    By the way. Now I like this yeast cookie best. It tastes better the next day and if I’m not mistaken, there’s a bit of a donut flavor to it….like the yeast in donuts. And the inside is very dense but still cooked.

  21. says

    I have to admit, I haven’t seen the movie and have never heard of Gerard Butler. I had the original ALW soundtrack but didn’t see the show until last year….in Vegas! The production at Venetian is very good.

  22. Sue says

    Having never tasted a Levain CCC, nor tried any of the copy cats, I shouldn’t chime in here. I’ve resisted the urge up until now, other than to be supportive of the rest of you in your quest. However…., I can’t help wonder if you could use instant yeast, and a little bit of baking soda? I’m thinking out loud here. Maybe you could capitalize on the best of both leaveners? I’m sure I’ve seen yeasted waffle recipes that use both. Would a bit of a rest before popping them in the oven have any impact on the end result?
    With the big party this weekend, I don’t have time to try this, and wouldn’t really know what they’re supposed to be like anyway, but all of these possibilities are fun to think about.

  23. says

    BTW, love the Phantom part of this whole thing. The movie quote that keeps going through my head (and I’ve never even seen the movie, just a few clips) is from Brokeback Mountain, when one of the cowboys tells the other–“I can’t quit you.”
    That’s me and the Levain! 🙂

  24. says

    Oh I miss the Phantom…. I think I need to watch Dr Oz on OCD, I think I might have it… Today I found myself eating frozen CCC, and worst thing is not that, worst thing is that I liked them…. Rita

  25. Michelle W. in Calif. says

    Today (since the temps here dropped 20 degrees, yay!) I baked the bread flour version that Anna posted BEFORE the yeast ones! They were nice and FAT! I think these are the closest I’m going to come. I baked them at 375 for the first 8, then 350 for 12 more mins. I THINK I’m okay with the no vanilla, they taste pretty darn good, are sorta scone-like (which I like). 🙂

  26. danielle says

    So cute all this hoopla! I see other blogs r talking about this cookie, too. Needless to say….mine r in the oven right now!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  27. Angel says

    Wow. Those look quite similar to the real thing. I will have to try them. Is the taste comparable to the real Levain cookies?

  28. Alli says

    I made these cookies today! After trying the other versions, this one definitely is different–but in a great way! The top and bottom have a great crunch, and the bottom (at least of mine) seem to have an added sweetness for some reason. Almost as if all the sugar went to the bottom and made a nice little crust there. Mine did take longer to cook, but these are my fave so far!

  29. Michelle says

    Anna, I can’t figure out how to e-mail you, so I guess I’ll post a comment instead!! I love how you get on a mission and can’t quit till you find the best!
    I was wondering, do you like Mrs. Field’s semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies? (the real ones that you buy at their bakeries). If so, I wonder if you’ve tried coming up with a clone of it. They are MY favorite chocolate chip cookie and I can’t seem to find a good copycat recipe. Of course they are NOTHING like the famous “chain letter” recipe, and not the same as the one in her cookbook.
    By the way, I love the Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe you shared. It has become my favorite cookie to make at home, along with Alton’s Brown’s chewy chocolate chip cookies. Although neither is still quite like the Mrs. Field’s cookies.
    Happy baking!! Thanks for all that you share!

  30. Candace says

    I made the instant yeast version yesterday, after following this saga over the last couple of weeks. I have always suspected that my husband is a supertaster, and it was confirmed yesterday. I asked him what the secret ingredient was, and he said “yeast?”. He could taste it. I liked the cookies but I don’t think they’ll replace my favorite recipe (CI’s thick and chewy). However, my husband is going to NYC tomorrow to the Museum of Natural History and the Levain bakery is right in the neighborhood – so I may talk him into stopping there and bringing me a sample of the real thing. I’ll report back if that happens.

  31. Karen says

    Just in case anyone is interested, I am reporting on my experience making these today. I made the recipe as listed, using 6 1/2 ounces bread flour, cold butter, dark brown sugar, 1/4 tsp yeast AND 1/4 tsp baking soda. Didn’t chill the dough. I used close to a full cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup walnuts. I baked at 375 for 10 minutes then at 350 for close to 20 minutes longer. (My oven is not very reliable, though) These came out great. Even though I made rough lumps the tops were smoother than the craggly look people have been going for. I think if I do it again I would chill the dough, I think that helps get the craggly look. Anyway they are delicious and I will make them again. Thanks again, Phantom.

  32. Candace says

    So, I now have a side-by-side comparison of the real deal and the copycats. However, my latest batch of the copycats spread like crazy – I made the mistake of using my silpat and I think that was the problem. I agree with Karen that next time I would chill the dough first – I think that contributes to the raw cookie dough texture of the real deal. And the super-taster husband says that there is no yeast in the Levain cookies.

    He also brought me a chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips and a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie. I think the one with peanut butter chips is my new favorite cookie in the whole world and I want to figure out how they made their chips.

  33. Joanna says

    I made these cookies today and they were amazing!! They got dry after they sat for a while, but 15 seconds in the microwave made them moist and chocolately again. I was so shocked at the size of them, but that didn’t stop me from inhaling 2 of them. Haha I’ve noticed that my diet has been consisting of brownies and cookies since I found your blog.

  34. says

    Hi Joanna!

    Thanks for the review. I’m sorry I wrecked your diet, but at least you have a new cookie recipe ;).

    Good tip on the microwave. I always forget to do that.

  35. Joanna says

    Oh don’t worry about. I just have no self control haha. I still really want to try the official Levain cookies though. Have you tried them? They are pretty expensive to have them shipped, but they are probably worth it.

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