One of the best things I ate in New York was a double chocolate cookie from Levain Bakery. They only bake four kinds – chocolate chip walnut, oatmeal raisin, double dark chocolate and chocolate peanut butter, and people absolutely rave about them! These cookies are absolutely HUGE – each one is made from around 180g / 6 ounces of cookie dough! They really are an endurance test of a cookie – you will need a tall glass of milk! Not for the faint hearted (but I am not faint-hearted, at least not when it comes to cookies!).
So what makes them so special? Well, they taste absolutely amazing. They’re so gooey and dense and the inside is just like raw cookie dough or even fudgy brownie – ridiculously chocolatey and good. They’re also tall which means loads of rich, yummy interior filled with bursting chocolate chips. Since they’re so amazing (and you can only get them in New York and a couple of other spots in the eastern US), a lot of people have tried to figure out how to bake similar cookies – Levain even have a Pinterest board set up for the copycat recipes if you want to check out the different flavours.
I knew I had to recreate them at home, so I made these Levain Bakery Copycat Double Chocolate Chip Cookies by adapting a recipe I found from The Cultural Hall Podcast. They’re different than regular cookies in a few ways – they’re made with a mixture of plain and bread flour, and they’re packed full of both cocoa powder (a lot!) and chocolate chips – biting into them, there’s almost as much chocolate chip going on as there is cookie!
So do they taste like the Levain Bakery cookies? I can honestly say they do! They’re so soft and dense, and the inside is closer to cookie dough than cookie – you have to make these!
For perfect results, you’ll need to ensure you chill the dough before you bake the cookies – depending on when you want to bake the cookies, you can stash them in the fridge for between an hour and 72 hours. To get that trademark doughy interior, these cookies do need to be underbaked – but don’t worry, they will firm up – I recommend you leave them overnight though before removing them from your baking trays.
If you’d prefer to make the Chocolate Peanut Butter version, you’ll need to replace half of the chocolate chips with peanut butter chips, which aren’t widely available in the UK, but you can get them online.
- 250g unsalted butter / 2 sticks plus 2 tbsp
- 200g / 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 150g / 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 70g / 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 175g / 1 1/2 cups strong bread flour
- 110g / 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 300g / 1 packet jumbo chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (plain chocolate)
- Despite the slightly odd ingredients, we make these cookies like any others! Start with very very soft butter and combine the sugars. I like to mix cookie dough by hand, but you can also use a stand mixer if you prefer. Add the two sugars and the vanilla, then the two eggs and scrape down the bowl.
- Next, sift in your cocoa powder (you do need to do this - cocoa is so lumpy!) and add in the salt and two types of flour. Finally, mix in your chocolate chips (the dough may be very stiff, but don't worry). Tip the dough out onto some cling film, pat into a ball, wrap, and pop the whole thing into the fridge to chill.
- Once the dough is chilled, I like to unwrap it on a large cutting board and cut it in half, then in half again, until you've got pieces that are about the size of a small apple (see image of dough in my hand). Basically, they need to be absolutely massive, but you can also weigh the dough to check it's 180g.
- Preheat an oven to 180C/gas mark 5/350F and prepare two large cookie baking sheets with parchment or non stick baking liner. Mould the lumps of dough with your hand into a round shape, then tear the dough apart so the inside is exposed, and stick it back together, so that the two smooth sides are stuck together (don't worry if you smooth it back a bit in the process!). Put onto your baking sheet, at least 6 inches apart, and bake for 16-18 minutes. They WILL look raw, but don't worry, just take them out of the oven after 18 minutes and leave to firm up for at least an hour or two.
Oh, and these cookies keep fantastically well, but if you’re enjoying them on days two, three or four (as if!), a quick 15 second burst in the microwave will make them extra melty and yummy!