Fat & Chewy Favorite Cookies

12Nov09

LevainCookies_multiple

Warning: these cookies could cause you to gain like, 10 pounds, overnight. Just a head’s up. They’re the size of a baseball pre-cooked, an inch+ think out of the oven, and chock full of walnuts and chocolate chips. Just the way a cookie should be. Last winter, I had the pleasure of visiting Levain Bakery on New York’s Upper West Side, to sample some of their cookies. The first thing you’ll notice if you go there, is the line out the door. The next? Vats and vats of cookie dough behind the counter, and last but not least? The enormous, 6 oz, two-hands-needed, golden brown, soft, chewy, delicious cookies. At something like $4.50 a pop, it’s practically a meal. It took about 4 hours to eat mine, nibbling pieces a little at a time as we walked through Central Park, and did some serious shopping. (It was the perfect energy bar, if you ask me.) So, logically, once I was home, I had to try and make my own. It’s harder than it seems! You can’t just throw a huge gob of traditional cookie dough on a cookie sheet and expect it to stay thick. You just get very large/wide cookies that way. After a few tries, though, I think I got down. So now I’ll share with you. The secret, in my opinion? Lots of extra flour, and cold cold dough.

LevainCookies_butter
Fat & Chewy Favorite Cookies
(makes 10)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted Butter – cold
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 medium-large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips
1 cup Walnuts, chopped or crushed
3 – 3 1/2 cups Flour (yup, you read that right)

Preheat to 350. Start by cutting the butter into cubes with a knife, to help you get started on mixing it in (make sure it’s cold, right out of the fridge). Using a pastry cutter or a hand mixer, work the butter into the two sugars. Beat until well combined and on the way to fluffy – but not past the point where the butter starts to warm up. Add in the eggs, straight from the fridge so they’re cold, and vanilla, and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Add the baking powder and salt and make sure they get well incorporated. Now add your chocolate chips and walnuts (yes, before the flour!). Once everything is incorporated, start adding the flour, one cup or so at a time. Some days I can get the dough to take all 3 1/2 cups, some days it only wants 3 cups before it starts to get crumbly. You don’t want crumbly dough, so stop adding flour when the dough is stiff and not sticky, but still holding together. Adding the chocolate chips and walnuts before the flour helps to make sure they get incorporated. Adding them after the flour can cause the dough to come apart, or can cause some of the toppings to get left behind at the bottom of your mixing bowl. Divide into 10 sections, try not to use your hands too much (it will warm the dough and smooth the surface, which doesn’t lend well to the final look of the cookie). Each dough ball should be just slightly smaller than a baseball (these are big cookies here, kids!).

LevainCookies_dough

Pop ‘em on a cookie sheet (be sure to use parchment paper or a silpat – no greasing the pan!! This helps the cookies to stay together and not spread.) Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. The insides should still be gooey – they’ll firm up as the cookies cool. If you like the tops to be slightly more brown, turn on the broiler for just a minute or two (stand nearby and watch so they don’t burn). Cool on the pan for a minute, then transfer to a rack, or dig in! Look out, though, you might not be able to eat a whole one at once ;) Keep dough that’s waiting to be used in the fridge to stay cold. You can even freeze the dough balls and bake later, up to two weeks!

LevainCookies_inside

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8 Responses to “Fat & Chewy Favorite Cookies”

  1. holy cow these look awesome. FEED ME!

  2. 2 camille

    I tried this with 3 cups of flour and a splash of whole wheat. unique and fantastic!

  3. Of all the people that have made these yours definitly look the best. Ive made these before with just 3 cups of flour you’ve inspired me to add an additional 1/2 cup. Also ive been using baking soda instead of baking powder. whatever you did looks better so next time i’m going for the powder

  4. 4 katemotter

    Thanks, all!
    Camille, that’s a great idea with the whole wheat! I’ll have to play around with that next time.
    Ashley – I think the extra flour is key! I don’t remember why I originally decided to use powder (maybe I was out of soda? haha) but I’ve been using it from the beginning, and definitely works for me. The last most important thing is the parchment paper/silpat. Really helps prevent ‘spreading’!

  5. 5 Joe

    I have never had the pleasure of eating a Levain Cookie but when I saw these I just had to make them. I am usually a fan of a super chewy, carmamely cookie but these may just have converted me. They are so soft and light but still chewy, slightly underbaked but not doughy….they were just fantastic. This is a kepper.

  6. 6 Jane

    This may sound like a dumb question but I just wanted some clarification before I attempt this recipe.
    After you have followed all of the steps leading up to the flour step… when you are adding in the flour, do you incorporate it using a wooden spoon? Or do you incorporate the flour using the hand mixer used for the earlier steps? I am a stand/hand mixer girl and I am used to using that when adding flour to bake my cookies, so I just wanted to be sure that I wasn’t supposed to continue using the wooden spoon to incorporate the flour.
    These look amazing by the way!

  7. 7 katemotter

    Joe – Glad you liked them!

    Jane – I don’t have a stand mixer so I use the hand beater for the butter, sugars, and eggs, then I switch to a wooden spoon for the flour. The dough will be super tough by the time you add all the flour, so you might want to use the wooden spoon – burn off some calories! :-)


  1. 1 Copycat Cookies «

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