These chocolate chip cookies taste like they could be from Levain Bakery

The Pastry Chef's Baking
This chocolate chip cookie recipe was inspired by the delicious cookies at Levain's Bakery in New York City.

I was of two minds about this cookie and whether I would put it in the “Good” or “Great” category in my pursuit of testing chocolate chip cookie recipes. If I followed the directions as is, it would end up in the Good bucket.

If, after learning from my mistakes in following the recipe as is and rated it based on my modifications, it would still be in the “GOOD” column but closer to “GREAT” than before. So maybe “Really Good”? In any case, it’s probably a good segue from the GOOD to the GREAT classification as straddling both.

If you’re from New York, chances are high that you know all about Levain Bakery. Heck, I’m not from New York and even I’ve heard of them. Probably because I keep up with all things cookies. Levain is known for humongous, delicious cookies and since I tried a copycat version of their chocolate cookie, I searched out a copycat of their chocolate chip cookie. I found two that I tried but let’s stick to this one for now.

The original recipe advocates making large cookies (of course) and baking at a high temp of 410 degrees F., to set the cookies quickly and keep them thick. What this particular recipe taught me is, with my oven (and bear in mind, all ovens are different), 410 degrees is too hot for cookies. Not only did it burn the chocolate, but by the time the middles were just barely past the raw stage and I could take them out, the outer ring of the cookie was almost dry. So I wasn’t very happy about that.

For the second sheet, I lowered the temp to 375 degrees F. They spread a bit more but it was worth it not to have dry edges while the middles got to an appropriate stage of gooey-but-not-raw. There was still some burning around the edges of the chocolate chunks but nothing too serious and they didn’t taste burnt, they just looked a little dark chocolate when they’re not dark chocolate. But I must say, these took a really good picture when the chocolate chunks were still melty-warm.

Levain Bakery-style chocolate chip cookies
Modified from Modern Honey

1 cup cold butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or 1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup turbinado sugar)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups cake flour
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chunks (I used Trader Joe's milk chocolate Pound Plus bar)

1. In large mixing bowl, cream together cold butter and sugars for 4 minutes or until creamy and well combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.

2. Stir in flours, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Portion into large balls, cover and chill in refrigerator or freezer for several hours or overnight.

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and space 4 large dough balls on each sheet. Place in oven and immediately lower temp to 375 degrees F.

5. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely.

Related post on The Pastry Chef's Baking: "All-Time Favorite" Chocolate Chip Cookies

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