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Craving Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies but don’t live in New York City? I hear you! These easy Copycat Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies are thick, gooey, and loaded with chocolate chips and walnuts. These oversized behemoths are larger than life and you just might not go back to regular chocolate chip cookies after trying one of these!
Nothing beats a freshly baked cookie with a tall glass of ice-cold milk, right? If you love chocolate, you will also love our Chewy Brownie Cookies and if you love citrus and are in the mood for something a little different, these Double Glazed Lemon Cookies are just for you!
Homemade Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe
There are so many copycat versions of the Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie recipe out there and I HAD to know. What is the deal with everybody raving about Levain Bakery’s chocolate chip walnut cookies? Were they really worth the hype?
So I did my research and read all the most popular copycat recipe versions of these NYC fan favorites, including the extensive write-up that Pancake Princess did where she tested 9 different versions and described the differences in painstaking detail.
Then I set about testing and tweaking some of the top contenders (including Modern Honey, Bountiful Kitchen, Bravetart, and Delish) from the comfort of my own kitchen, with my family and a few friends as taste testers. The end result definitely does not disappoint!
I mean, I’m super partial to my soft & chewy chocolate chip cookies, (and my family still prefers them) but these Levain Chocolate Chip walnut cookies are really quite something, and I find myself craving a giant, gooey, nutty cookie enough that I have since made these several more times!
Giant, oversized mounds of dough are piled high and baked until barely browned and crispy on the outside while maintaining a super soft, underbaked to the point of almost being considered doughy centers.
These Levain bakery chocolate chip walnut cookies are my version of the infamous original recipe from the Levain bakery in New York City. They have a legitimate crust that is almost scone-like, but the inside is definitely and intentionally underdone.
They were SO delicious that I ended up doing a chocolate version and am working on their oatmeal raisin cookies as well!
My favorite part of these chocolate chip cookies has to be the walnuts. It’s no secret that I am a huge walnut fan, and the walnuts in this recipe along with chocolate chips really satisfy my sweet tooth perfectly. Is there a better combination than chocolate and walnuts? It’s definitely a winner in my book!
They are great way to curb cravings and satisfy your big city foodie dream if you don’t live in New York but really want one of these amazing thick cookies.
What are Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies made of?
- Butter: What good classic chocolate chip cookie doesn’t have butter in it? This ingredient is necessary for the best flavor! And unlike most baking recipes where you soften the butter first, here you want to use cold-from-the-fridge cubed butter with a longer creaming time to achieve the desired texture.
- Sugar: Both brown and white sugars are used to add sweetness and flavor, as well as making sure the copycat Levain cookies are soft, crispy, and thick.
- Eggs and baking soda: These are our leavening and binding ingredients. Levain chocolate chip walnut cookies are known for being big thick cookies!
- Cornstarch: Adding cornstarch to cookies is not an unfamiliar technique for most bakers. This ingredient helps keep cookies extra soft after being baked.
- Vanilla extract: Levain has specifically said they don’t use it, and many of the most popular copycat versions follow suit. But I ALWAYS add some to my cookies and definitely disagree with Levain that it doesn’t make a difference. Cookies made with vanilla have a distinctly more balanced, well-rounded flavor overall, even if the vanilla flavor itself is not predominant. I feel like the cookies taste slightly flat or one-note without it.
- Flour: A popular approach to recreating the Levain cookie is a combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour. Cake flour has less protein than plain flour and helps to achieve the correct texture in these chocolate chip cookies.
- Salt: Salt brings out all of the delicious cookie flavors!
- Chocolate chips: You can use either semisweet or milk chocolate chips here for the classic Levain chocolate chip cookie flavor, or even white or dark chocolate for something a little different.
- Walnuts: Walnuts complete the flavor of these amazing cookies and if you want to make a true Levain copycat, they aren’t optional! I’m a huge walnut fan and I must admit walnuts take the flavor of these cookies to the next level! Although some of the other recipes I looked at called for toasting the walnuts first, I didn’t find that to make any difference and it saves a lot of time to skip that step.
How to make Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
- Prep the oven and baking sheets. Firstly, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F for at least 15-20 minutes. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat the butter and sugars. Secondly, in a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cold, cubed butter and sugars on medium-low speed until they start to come together, then increase the speed to medium-high for 4 minutes, stopping and scraping the bowl once partway through. This long beating time should result in a light and creamy mixture that is key to achieving the coveted Levain texture.
- Mix in the wet ingredients. Next, add the eggs and vanilla, then beat again just until combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients. Add the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt and pulse until the cookie dough starts to come together. It doesn’t even need to completely combine at this point and it’s okay for streaks of flour to remain.
5. Now for the extras! Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix again, just until the chips and nuts are evenly dispersed throughout the cookie dough.
6. Form the thick Levain chocolate chip cookies. Divide the dough into 8 large (fine, massive), rough mounds. Don’t use a scoop or roll the dough into balls – the lumpy, bumpy crags are part of the signature rough look of these cookies and it’s part of their charm. If you have a kitchen scale, each ball should weigh approximately 6 ounces.
7. Space them out. Space the cookies far enough apart on the baking sheet that they have some room to spread. I stick to 4 cookies per pan.
8. Bake and cool. Finally, bake the homemade Levain chocolate chip cookies for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned on the outside but still doughy and slightly underbaked in the centers. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before removing or serving. The cookies will continue to set up and cook a bit from the residual heat during this time.
What is the best way to store cookies?
These Levain knockoff chocolate chip cookies keep well in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days. They won’t last that long though!
You can even freeze them, then let them thaw on the counter at room temperature when you want to eat one. I like to reheat them in the microwave for 15 seconds so they are warm and the chocolate starts to melt again.
Are Levain chocolate chip cookies undercooked?
Slightly, yes! They are baked until just golden on the edges, however, they are still soft and doughy on the inside. Undercooking the cookies gives them a delicious, gooey texture. If you don’t like doughy cookies, then there isn’t much I can tell you about the Levain style other than you might want to try a different type of cookie or make these smaller and bake them longer.
What is the secret to making soft cookies?
In this Levain chocolate chip cookies copycat recipe, the cookies turn out SUPER soft due to a few factors:
- Undercooking the cookies keeps them extremely soft in the center, as the center is essentially still cookie dough.
- The cake flour has less protein than plain flour making these thick Levain chocolate chip cookies softer and more cake-like.
- Brown sugar keeps cookies soft and chewy. On the other hand, if we used just white sugar they’d turn crispy.
More Recipes you will love:
- Edible Cookie Dough
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
- Andes Mint Cookies
- White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Chocolate Chip S’mores Cookies
- Chocolate Marshmallow Almond Rocky Road Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional - Levain has specifically said they don't use it, but I always add some to my cookies)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour*
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips
- 2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for at least 15-20 minutes. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium-low speed until they start to come together, then increase the speed to medium-high for 4 minutes, stopping and scraping the bowl once partway through. It should be light and creamy.
- Add the eggs and optional vanilla and beat again just until combined.
- Add the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt and pulse until the cookie dough starts to come together.
- Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix again, just until the chips and nuts are evenly dispersed throughout the cookie dough.
- Divide the dough into 8 large, rough mounds. Don't use a scoop or roll the dough into balls - the lumpy, bumpy signature look of these cookies is part of their charm. If you have a kitchen scale, each ball should weight approximately 6 ounces.
- Space the cookies far enough apart on the baking sheet that they have some room to spread. I stick to 4 cookies per pan.
- Bake for 10-14 minutes until lightly browned on the outside but still doughy and slightly underbaked in the centers. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before removing or serving. The cookies will continue to set up and cook a bit from the residual heat during this time.
- Store leftover cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days.