Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Levain Bakery is slightly off the beaten path on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Which is to say, you won't really stumble across it unless you're looking for it. It's on 74th just off of Amsterdam, slightly below street level, so you have to look left at exactly the right moment and then walk down a half dozen steps and right up to the counter. They sell less than 12 things, but if they only sold 1 they would still do raving good business. As long as that one thing is their chocolate chip cookies. Their cookies are these thick, giant, delicious, warm, slightly melty lumps of joy. Seriously, if you make a trip to NYC this place is a must. There was more than one chilly evening when I skipped dinner just so I could eat a chocolate chip and an oatmeal raisin from Levain.

And I miss those little balls of happiness. Which is why I got very excited when I saw this copy cat recipe. Which I will try this weekend. And probably the weekend after that too.

Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, (cold & shredded like cheese)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ts vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 ts sea salt
1 and ¼ ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 cup walnuts

If using dough right away, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (Apparently it is better to chill the dough, however, preferrably overnight, but at least for 20 mins.)

Take the butter and using a cheese grater, shred the butter into a bowl, put it back in the freezer until ready to use.

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars just until just combined. Don’t overbeat. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until incorporated.

Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. When thoroughly mixed, add to batter and stir just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.. you may need to use your hands at this point.

Divide dough into 12 big lumps. Mold into giant golfballs; do not press flat! Keep them as balls on the cookie sheets. Bake on ungreased cookies sheets (one sheet at a time). (Consider chilling for 20 minutes BEFORE baking)

Bake times (how I’ve done it the past few times; pick one if you dare):

Put the cookies in a 375 degree oven and set timer for 8 minutes. When timer rings, without opening oven or removing cookies, reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until cookies appear set.


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