Chocolate chocolate chip cookies

A quest to find a copycat recipe for Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookies requires perseverance, and a tall glass of milk.

The Pastry Chef's Baking
Double chocolate chip cookies inspired by cookies at Levain Bakery.

This is my next attempt at a Levain Bakery copycat for their chocolate chocolate chip cookie. Surprisingly, there aren't that many copycat recipes out there for the double chocolate cookie. Most copycat attempts have gone towards their original chocolate chip cookie. What I'm trying to recapture is both the crisp outside but, more importantly-to-me, their dense fudginess of the inside. I've made fudgy cookies before but the Levain fudginess is something else. It isn't just moist chocolate that has set. It's almost like a fudgy brownie in cookie form that married the best fudge. That's the best way I can describe it and what I'm seeking.

I'm not a scientist but I know enough about baking to believe that dense, fudgy texture is likely to come from less leavening, less beating or aeration of the cookie dough and enough flour to give it structure but not make it dry. I also wonder if some of the chocolate should come from melted baking chocolate rather than just cocoa powder but all of the copycat recipes I've found use cocoa so that's what I'm trying for now.

I baked 2 test cookies for this recipe at two different times on two different days. The first time, I think I baked it a minute longer than I should have. Not that it was overbaked or even fully baked but I wanted it more underbaked than it was. The texture was lighter than fudge, albeit not light enough to be considered cakey. The outside wasn't particularly crisp although there was a thin "crust" to it but not much of one. The first set of pictures shows that first bake.

The second time I didn't bake it as long and while the edges were set, the middles were just barely past "no longer raw" in the middle. Still a lighter-than-fudge texture when just barely lukewarm but when I ate the fully cooled cookie a couple of hours after baking, it had a more satisfyingly fudge-like texture. Still not as richly dense as the Levain original though. The drawback of waiting to complete coolness is while I could get closer to the inside texture, the outer crispness had softened and was gone. The taste was good but I haven't nailed the texture or outside yet. On to the next recipe.

Chocolate chocolate chip cookie
From The Cultural Hall Podcast

2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1-1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks

1. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy and well combined, 2-3 minutes.

2. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla, mixing until incorporated.

3. Whisk together cocoa, bread flour, all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder. Gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix.

4. Fold in chocolate chunks. Divide dough into 4-ounce portions. For a smooth exterior, roll into balls and form into thick discs. For a more ragged appearance like the original Levain Bakery cookie, roll into a ball, then separate into halves, "gluing" the halves together, smooth sides in, jagged edges out, by pressing together to adhere.  

5. Cover, chill and refrigerate or freeze for several hours or overnight.

6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

7. Evenly space cookies and bake for 16-18 minutes or until middles no longer look raw or shiny and edges are set. Cool completely.

Related post on The Pastry Chef's Baking: Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies

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