Levain Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Levain Chocolate Chip CookieThese Levain Style Chocolate Chip Cookies are a new twist on an old favorite. While baking professionally for over 30 years, I thought I’d seen just about every chocolate chip cookie around. But this is definitely a new one.

This huge 6 ounce chocolate chip cookie is the brainstorm of Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald who own Levain Bakery in New York.  There’s a great video of them making their wares here.   New York is called the big apple.  They like to do everything in a big way and these cookies are no exception.

While they haven’t  given out their recipe there have been versions of it on the internet.  Serious Eats has a version as well as several others.

Basically, these over sized monster cookies use the same ingredients as most chocolate chip cookies but in different proportions.  They are mixed as a normal cookie.  One of the things I learned a while ago while working on cookies was the more you load them up with add ins, the less they spread.

So I made my perfect chocolate chip cookie but reduced the flour, omitted the shortening, used half the fat and way upped the walnuts and chocolate chips. An over abundance of these makes a really large, fat cookie with very little spread.

In an effort to keep these gooey inside, I noticed some of the recipes really shorten the baking time but this only produces an under baked cookie with a raw middle which is not gooey. There’s a big difference between the two.

I used bread flour as I do in my normal chocolate chip cookie and conducted a little test by baking half of them immediately upon mixing and I shaped the other half into balls, wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight to see if they would bake up differently.  If you are going to keep them overnight, remember to weigh and wrap the before chilling. The dough is much too stiff to shape when cold.Wrapped in plastic wrap

The test was interesting.  Both were really good and gooey.  The difference was in the height of the cookies.  The freshly baked one flattened just a little more than the refrigerated cookie.Two cookies

The cookie on the left was freshly baked and is 4″, the one on the right was refrigerated overnight and then baked. It is 3 3/4″.  The only difference is the height of the cookies.  Both of the cookies lost 7 grams or 1/4 ounce when baked so they are pretty much still 6 ounces – huge.

Definitely double pan these Levain Style Chocolate Chip Cookies or they will over brown.

This recipe makes 8 cookies – that is not a misprint, it really makes 8 huge, gooey, fat, chocolate chip cookies that are really, really good.  I do agree with Stella in that they are best the day they are made, preferably eaten when just cooled a bit and the chocolate chips are not set but melty.  The cookies can always be made smaller, just reduce the baking time.

Levain Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups bread flour (280 grams or 10 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter* (114 grams or 4 ounces)
3/4 cup brown sugar (150 grams or 5 1/3 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups chocolate chips (425 grams or 15 ounces)
2 cups walnuts (225 grams or 8 ounces)**

*The butter should be softened to about 72°F.  It should not be overly softened.

**If the nuts are omitted increase the chocolate chips by 225 grams or 8 ounces

For how to photos, go here.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Whisk together the bread flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Cream the butter, both sugars, and vanilla together in a mixing bowl.  Add the eggs.  Add the flour mixture followed by the  chips and the walnuts, beating long enough to incorporate them completely.

Using a bowl scraper, turn the dough over in the bowl to make sure there are equal amounts of chips and nuts at the bottom.  If not, use the scraper, to turn the dough from the outer edges into the center to finish mixing.

Weigh 8 pieces 170 grams or 6 ounces each.  Shape them into loose balls, but do not compact them. Do not flatten them.  Unbaked Leavain Style Chocolate Chip Cookie

If baking immediately, place 4 on a tray.  If resting overnight, wrap each ball separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

If baking immediately double pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden and mostly set.  If they wiggle just a little in the center and that is fine.  They’ll finish baking on the tray outside of the oven.

If baking from the refrigerator bake for  22 to 24 minutes..

Yield:  8 giant Levain Style Chocolate Chip Cookies cookies.

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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18 thoughts on “Levain Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Since I don’t use Silpat, I can’t answer this question. I assume you do since Silpat doesn’t slow the heat as a second pan will. Remember that double panning will add a few minutes to your baking time. If you have any doubt, bake one cookie as you wish and see what happens. Adjust from there. Hope this helps.

  1. Lexy Lawrence

    Hi Helen, can’t wait to give these chocolate chip cookies a try. They look
    so delicious.
    My quick question is – does it matter if you use parchment paper or Silpats?
    Thank you.
    Annabelle

  2. elodia de garay Cruz

    Love your baking, will try this one with gluten free bread flour, and do they have to be so big?

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Nope – I mention in the recipe that you can certainly make them smaller – just reduce the baking time. They can be any size you want.

  3. Elodia de Garay Cruz

    Thanks, I will try it with bread flour Gluten free and see what happens
    Do I have to make them that big?

  4. beckychase

    Hello Helen,
    I have been a loyal follower of your blog ever since I found it about 3 years ago! I love your step-by-steps and all the teaching and information you put into every post.

    My question is a really quick one: when baking the cookies after chilling, would you preheat your oven and then pull the cookies from the fridge, or pull the cookies from the fridge while the oven is preheating? (Or is this a minute point that doesn’t much matter?)

    Thanks again for all of the work you pour into your blog! (I think there are only about 10 recipes of yours that I haven’t yet made.)

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Becky – Thanks so much for this. When you put the cookies in isn’t so important as the time baked so they stay gooey. I usually put mine in from the fridge and I doubt the time would change much if you pulled them out of the fridge while you preheated the oven. Just start on the lower end of timing and add as needed. Good for you for trying the recipes, I’m very impressed.

  5. Eileen

    Since they are very big I am guessing you could freeze them and defrost in fridge overnight one or two at a time.

  6. Patty

    I’m curious to know why you use bread flour rather than AP flour for your chocolate chip cookies. Do you use bread flour for other cookies as well?

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Patty – I do use bread flour for the Peanut Butter cookies also. Bread flour makes a chewier cookie than all purpose, especially if you refrigerate them overnight. Just like bread develops more flavor if retarded overnight. However, I wouldn’t use bread flour in butter cookie or shortbreads because you’re seeking a different texture with those cookies. Like everything, it is used where appropriate but not universally.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I know there are people who have food requirements that are out of the norm. Since I test everything, sometimes over and over, to get it right and make sure it works for others, I don’t have the time or the budget to accommodate every special diet requirement. Everything I do comes out of my pocket. No one nor no company sponsors me. The particular problem with eggs is the yolk is fat and the white is protein which binds ingredients together as well as whips into a foam. Eggs provide structure. I went on the internet and here is there suggestion for substitutions according to vegans: Eat this instead: flax egg, scrambled tofu, chickpea flour scrambled eggs. None of these will provide the structure of an egg. I know this isn’t a help for your problem, but I do hope you understand.

  7. nikki

    Is the flour mixture added before the eggs or after. Unless I misses a step when reading…
    I have been using a combination of bread flour and AP ever since I found Jacques Torres’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. And that also led me to refrigerating the dough for 24 to 48 hours. I will have to remember the “trick” about shaping them first as they are difficult to scoop

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Thanks Nikki for letting me know. The recipe has been corrected. Everyone has their own ideas about flour and flour mixtures. There is no right and no wrong. For sure, be sure to shape first.

  8. Eileen Murphy

    Helen, oh my they look delicious. You have simplified many of the recipes I have looked at. I gather ther is no difference in the texture between freshly baked and chilled dough. One of the best tips I have learned from you is to double pan cookies. I can’t wait to try these for my cookie Monster husband.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Eileen. I didn’t find any difference between the two. Pressed, I would say make them fresh because they brown more when baked from the refrigerator.

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