Last year I had the luxury of indulging in the tastiest jumbo cookie from Creme bakery in Soho, London. The cookie set me back £4.00 but it was well worth it. The cookie sat heavy in my hand, warm pools of chocolate seeping through the cracks. One cookie was more than enough for me – I actually had to split it with a friend. Indulgent. That is the best way to describe this cookie. It never crossed my mind to try and replicate the cookie as I already had plenty of other cookie recipes on my blog. However, over the summer I saw plenty of videos pop up on YouTube replicating the famous Levain Cookies which is exactly like the Creme cookie. I watched plenty of videos but never attempted recreating them until now. Last week I tested three recipes to come up with the best Copycat Levain Cookies.
The key to these cookies lie in size, baking temperature and type of flour involved. The best part about this copycat Levain recipe is the use of cold butter. Most cookies require room temperature, softened or melted butter which requires some pre-planning. This recipe requires cold butter which makes it easier! The reason we use cold butter is to ensure our cookies puff up and rise. Obviously this is different to traditional cookies that spread out.
There are two types of flour involved: all-purpose and cake flour. All-purpose flour has moderate gluten content and acts as a binder. Cake flour provides us the soft texture due to its low gluten content. Not all of us have cake flour on hand (like me), but it is easy to make at home. The ration is simple: for every 1 cup of AP flour you will remove 2 tbsp and replace it with 2 tbsp of corn starch. Sift the ingredients together for even distribution and voila you have cake flour.
These cookies are very different to a traditional chocolate chip cookie. The Levain cookie or the Creme cookie is thick, dense, and large – after all, it is a 6-ounce cookie! This copycat Levain recipe yields about 8-9 cookies which does not seem like a lot. However these cookies are massive and indulgent, that even a cookie monster like myself can only have half. In order to achieve that traditional Levain texture and size (gooey, melt-y, big), each cookie needs to weigh 6 ounces. I weighed each cookie on a scale. If you don’t have a scale you can eyeball it – roughly the size of a tennis ball (a bit smaller). To ensure the cookies are not only cooked but puffy and domed, they will be cooked at 400F. I find that this is the perfect temperature to ensure the cookies do not burn at the bottom while also cooking through.
Unlike traditional chocolate chip cookies that bake at 350F for around 10-13 minutes, these cookies need to be cooked for 17-20 minutes. After which they will still look slightly uncooked (under baked). You will then need to let the cookies rest for another 15-20 minutes to allow the cookies to set. So while you save time on using cold butter, and you do not need to let these cookies rest for long, they do need a long time to cook and rest. That is okay! These cookies are well worth it.
dense. pools of chocolate. luxury.
These cookies are a whooping 6 ounces. Large, dense and full of chocolate.
Pre-heat your oven to 400F/200C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl add all the dry ingredients together, and give it a stir with a whisk.
In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Start on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium for another 30 second. Finally increase the speed to high for the last minute. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides.
Add the eggs and mix on medium until mixed. Stir in the vanilla and combine. Add all the dry ingredients and mix on low (or by hand using a spatula). Be careful as some flour may spray. You want to combine the ingredients until the flour is incorporated. A little streak here and there is fine.
Fold the walnuts and chocolate chips and mix until combined and evenly distributed.
Weigh out 6-ounce dough balls and set them aside. If you do not have a scale aim to make large dough balls that are about 20% smaller than a tennis ball. You could also use a cookie scoop and do about 2-2.5 cookie scoops. Roll the dough into a nice ball but do not worry about making them perfect or too compact. You can place these in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to bake.
Place 3 cookies spaced out evenly (about 2 inches in between) on the cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 15-17 minutes (depending on how hot your oven is). I bake mine for 17 minutes. Remove the cookies and let them rest for at least 15 minutes before eating them. These cookies will look under cooked – that is the style. If you like your cookies more baked – toss them in for another 3 minutes OR let them rest for around 30 minutes. The longer they rest the more time they have to set. Again this isn't a traditional cookie recipe. It is very indulgent. It is supposed to have that slightly under baked texture.
Bake as you need or reheat the cookies under your broiler for 2 minutes or in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.
* Cake flour can be made by measuring 1 cup AP Flour minus 2 tbsp. Replace the AP flour with 2 tbsp corn starch
** toasted walnuts are simple to make and are important to avoid a bitter taste. Simply pre-heat your oven to 375F and bake the cookies for around 7-10 minutes or until nice and brown. Allow them to cool before adding it to the cookie dough.
Recipe slightly adapted from Kirbie Cravings