Levain Copy Cat Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Cookie Madness
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Copycat of the Levain cookies. I make these using the gram measurements, so if you go by volume you may not get quite the same results.
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) European style butter, very cold, chopped up (232 grams)
  • 3/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons very tightly packed brown sugar (168 grams)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour (376 grams) (see note about flour types)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or fine Kosher salt or salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry milk powder (optional)
  • 2 cold large eggs, lightly beaten in a separate bowl (112 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups extra dark chocolate chips such as Guittard extra dark (in the shiny red bag)
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (important for texture)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the chopped up, cold butter until it comes together. It should be creamy and still cold.
  2. Add the sugar and continue to beat until it is mixed in. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating with the paddle on medium until mixed, scraping sides of bowl once or twice. The coolness from the eggs should make the butter seize up again so the creamy mixture will appear lumpy.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and dry milk powder. With the mixer on medium-low (or by hand with a heavy duty rubber scraper), gradually add the flour mixture stirring just until mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Empty the batter onto a large flat surface and make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Instead of lumping it all together, keep it kind of loose. Divide into 8 raggedy pieces. The dough should be cold before you even put it in the refrigerator, but chilling the dough will help make the cookies taller. I’ve also had good results freezing the dough and baking it from frozen.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If you are using convection, preheat to 350 F convection.
  6. Arrange cookies (I recommend baking 1 or 2 first to nail down your time) on a cool heavy duty cookie sheet. Bake on center rack for 18 minutes at 375 or 20 minutes at 350F convection. Let cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove and finish cooling on a rack. When cool, you can eat OR you can freeze the cookie and thaw them for a better texture.
I've been experimenting with different flours and butter.

Bread flour, almost any brand, will give you a cookie with a thick shell. I also like the results of cookies made with White Lily all-purpose. White Lily weighs a little less cup for cup, so the best way to use it is to weigh out the 13.5 oz. If you don't have a scale, stir it well and use about 3 1/3 cup instead of 3 cups. Cookies made with White Lily won't have as thick a shell and will be slightly softer.

For the butter, I've used European style (Central Market brand or Plugra) and have also experimented with regular unsalted butter. The best cookies were with the European style butter, but unsalted Land o Lakes also gave me big, fat cookies. When I used store brand (HEB) butter, the cookies spread a little bit more.
Recipe by Cookie Madness at http://www.cookiemadness.net/2012/01/levain-cookie-recipe-copycat/