Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiment: Part 1

I am a cake girl all the way.  If it's soft, sweet, and frosted, chances are I'll devour it like there's no tomorrow.


Most people who read blogs or, well, live in New York City know about Levain Bakery and their fresh, gooey, quarter-pound cookies.  I had heard so much tell of them that when I had a day off from the Parsons Dance Company summer intensive I had to venture up to 74th and Amsterdam and give those suckers a try for myself.

Two words: life changing.

Chocolate chip cookies are now on my craving radar.
But really only those chocolate chip cookies - huge, thick, craggy, crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside, with hunks of chocolate and walnut tucked into every buttery bite.

So, I've now begun a quest to make such cookies for myself and anyone who will help me devour them.

This, my first try, was not all too far off from the cookies I love so much.  Not quite there yet, but pretty darn close!!
These gargantuan cookies didn't bake up as thick and gooey as my beloved Levain goodies, but they're buttery, rich, and chock full of big bites of chocolate and nut - I was low on walnuts so I supplemented with pecans: no complaints here!  These spread quite a bit for me, so I'll have to see if I can manipulate the recipe to keep them together - suggestions are welcome - or if the crappy rack placements in my oven are to blame...I can't wait to have a nice stove... Regardless, these beauties stayed soft and chewy, and are officially friend, roommate, and fianc√© approved!

I'm glad to have found a go-to cookie recipe for now - any suggestions regarding what I could do to make them even better are welcome!

"Call Me Le Vain" Copycat Cookies
Source: verrrry slightly adapted from Cheeky Kitchen
Yield: a baker's dozen of big-as-your-face cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups nearly crushed walnuts (or 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup pecans)
3 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 390˚F (over 375, not quite 400) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until soft and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in the vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top and mix until fully incorporated and a thick, creamy dough is created.  Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.  Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead with your hands to fully incorporate all of the delicious chunks.
Pull off lemon-sized hunks of dough and place on the lined baking sheets with plenty of space between them - keep the pieces of dough loose so they bake up charmingly craggy.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tips of the cookies have turned light brown.  Allow to cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a rack.  Consuming these treats while they're still warm is highly recommended - enjoy!


  1. Wow! Parsons! Congratulations. I bet you learned so much in just one summer!

  2. Kelsey -
    Their summer program is amazing - this was my third summer with them and I loved every second! My ultimate goal is to be in the company.