Sunday, August 1, 2010
Ever heard of the Levain Bakery? Ever heard of their monster chocolate chip cookies? If you have, and you don't live in New York, then you most likely heard about them on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. And if you have not heard of them yet they are monster-monster-monster cookies.
When we were in Hawaii we had some early nights because of our son's bedtime which forced us to watch television more than we normally do at home. Anytime I get the chance to watch a myriad of channels I head straight for the Food Network, Travel channel, and TLC because we basically just get local channels at home. Woohoo to extended channels! Anyway, as I was saying, after watching Throwdown both my husband and I were fascinated by these cookies. So fascinated that he requested that I make them for a meeting where he was supposed to provide the refreshments. That was all the prompting I needed. I headed straight for the computer and typed in my key words but the result was a little deflating. You see, they don't publish their famous cookie recipe, and although I understand the reasoning behind it was definitely disappointing.
I had to console myself with the links they have to "mock" Levain chocolate chip cookie recipes. These are basically other people's attempts to try to figure out their secret combination of ingredients and baking methods. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
I needed to make three batches (since one only makes 14 cookies), so I was actually able to try two of the recipe links. There didn't seem to be a huge difference between the two and unfortunately I didn't keep them separated long enough to get pictures of each side by side. Both recipes are posted below.
I don't think I can adequately portray just how large these cookies are. I had to use my biggest tupperware bowl (which does not get used very often) to hand mix the dough. I also measured the entire amount of my dough and then divided by the total number of cookies I needed so I knew how much each cookie should weigh. You can also see from my picture of the halfway baking time that no matter how good your oven is it still bakes somewhat unevenly and it's always a good idea to turn the pan halfway through.
These cookies were fabulous! They were large and they were yummy. I think the difference with the Levain cookies is that they not only have circumference but they also have height and volume to their monster cookies. You could make a monster cookie out of any cookie dough recipe but you won't get the height and volume like these guys. Click here for the Levain Bakery site with their recipe links. Enjoy!
Just for kicks, here is a cookie comparison between a regular sized oreo cookie and a "Mock" Levain chocolate chip cookie!
Recipezaar "Mock" Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Food.com and Cheeky Kitchen
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, cold
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, if desired (not chopped or coarsely chopped)
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in cold butter until mixture resembles crumbs. Add sugars and stir well, breaking up any brown sugar clumps. Add eggs and mix until dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if desired).
Chill dough for one hour (and keep chilled while baking first batch).
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put half of the dough on an ungreased baking sheet in 7 large balls. (I weighed my dough so each cookie was equal.) Bake for 8-10 minutes; turn cookie sheet around back to front and bake until light golden brown on top, another 5-8 minutes. (Mine took about 6 minutes and 5 minutes.)
Remove from oven and cool on sheet for a few minutes, then place on wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the dough after cookie sheet cools.
If you'd like to make them somewhat smaller, use a 375 degree oven so they don't over-brown. And remember that they most likely won't get as high.
Cheeky Kitchen Recipe
Makes 14 cookies
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups walnuts
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cream butter, brown sugar, and eggs until fluffy. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and cornstarch until thoroughly combined. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Dump dough on counter and knead to completely mix dough.
Gently pull lemon-sized hunks (or weight them evenly) of dough. Keep the dough loose and with air. Place mounds on cookie sheet.
Bake at 390 degrees (just above 375 but not quite 400) for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies have turned light brown. Remove from cookie sheet, cool.