Reworking the Levain Bakery Copycat Cookie

If you don’t like this version of the Levain Copycat – try my first go ’round which seems to be quite popular.

UPDATE: Even though they refused to give me the exact recipe for the Levain Bakery cookies, someone ASSURED me that they DO NOT USE CORNSTARCH in their cookies. SO, if you see any recipes that include cornstarch, it will not give you a clone or copycat of the Levain Cookie.

OK, so I was wrong, I admit it.  I hadn’t had an actual Levain Chocolate Chip cookie in a while when I tried to decipher the recipe for Levain’s famous Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie the first time.  A friend surprised me with a Levain cookie last week (she bought several, but couldn’t resist the smell and ended up eating two of the three she purchased).  Now, don’t get me wrong, one is more than enough, and I was more than happy to savor that giant, mysterious mountain of gooey chocolate, brown sugar, nutty heaven and stuff it down my eager gullet.

After the first bite, I knew it; my copycat, although a really good fat and chewy chocolate chip cookie, was missing that intense caramel-brown sugar flavor that the Levain saturates your taste buds with.  I had fooled myself and others since it looked like Levain’s (well. it was big and fat, but it wasn’t as raggedy as Levain’s) and right out of the oven tasted very much like Levain’s, but it was all the gooey, melty chocolate flavor and texture that made it seem that way at the first, second, and third bite.

So it was back to the drawing board.

Well, not completely back to the drawing board because, if you recall, I did make a note that if you wanted a more caramel-brown sugar flavor in the cookie, you needed to increase the brown sugar and decrease the white sugar, although I’d never made it and tasted it that way myself. After sinking my teeth into Levain’s cookie, I also realized a little dark brown sugar could be lurking in there somewhere.

                                  Experimenting with flour and leavening

 Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie

Increasing the flour and leavening AND chilling the dough resulted in a pale, puffy cookie, whereas decreasing the flour and leavening, without chilling the dough, resulted in a flat cookie.  Neither close to Levain’s aesthetically, but tasty nonetheless.

My original copycat came from watching that now famous Throwdown episode, over and over, and every.single.time I slow-mo’d the sugars being added, and they looked to be equal amounts. However, there have been other shows these ladies have been on, and what you see and hear is always a little different, which is understandable since this is a recipe they came up with and want to keep under wraps.

 Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie

Now that’s more like it! 

Before I get to what I did with the cookie, I have to tell you a little story.  A while back I received a comment, and in the throes of PMS I deleted it, because I thought it was someone going out of their way to attenuate my cookie aka a troll.  The comment, as I recall, was …

‘Your cookies are nothing more than Tollhouse cookies with an extra cup of flour and baking soda.

First off, I wish I didn’t delete it, and just replied to him/her, considering I stated that I could take and wanted any kind of constructive critiquing/criticism to help make whatever it was I cooked or baked, better.   I wouldn’t call that anonymous person’s comment constructive criticism by any stretch, but it did deserve a reply.

An extra cup of flour and any addition or change in leavening make a huge difference in a cookie (see experimentation photos above and Alton Brown’s 6 million variations on chocolate chip cookies)! This is why baking is called a science. Why else would there be such a variety of textures, sizes, heights ( eg: flat and crispy, flat and chewy, cakey, puffy..etc) of basic chocolate chip cookies all over the nation/world? Your typical, gluten laden, non-vegan, chocolate chip cookie contains pretty much the same ingredients – butter (or shortening – bleccch) solid or melted, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flour and chocolate chips.  Salt is sometimes (and should be) added, as well as vanilla extract.

However, leavening and the amount of flour play a huge part in turning your cookies into what you want them to be, as does the amount of sugar(s), fats and any other flavorings you add, but again, we’re talking your basic chocolate chip cookie here. To put it simply, every basic chocolate chip cookie recipe that contains butter, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flour. salt, vanilla, and chocolate chips, is not a rip-off of the infamous Tollhouse cookie.

 Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie
Back to the good stuff, the new and improved Levain copycat! All I really did was change the amount of sugars, incorporating some dark brown sugar for extra flavor. I also changed the kosher salt to table salt or fine sea salt because kosher salt is coarse and doesn’t disseminate throughout the dough as a finer ground salt would. You could always give kosher salt a spin in the spice grinder to break it down, if you like. You could also use all light brown sugar and forgo the dark brown, as the most important factor here is increasing the brown sugar and decreasing the white sugar.

I also played around with the amounts of flour, leavening, and chilling of the dough prior to getting what I think is closer to the original Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut cookie, which you can see (again) in the above photos.

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookie

Remember, this is NOT Levain’s recipe, it’s just another one of my many desperate attempts to create a chocolate chip walnut cookie that comes close to it. Suffice it to say, I’ll probably end up doing it again when I take a bite of another authentic Levain in the near future. I’m very satisfied with this one, but who knows?

SO, here’s my Levain copycat modification:

UPDATE 4/1/09 – If you’ve already read this recipe, you’ll notice I’ve reduced the flour amount.  This is because I wasn’t satisfied with the texture of the cookie upon cooling.  The cookie with less flour is a lot more tender and remains tender for a longer period of time.  NOW, I’m still not done!  I’ll be experimenting with a combo of flours after a little birdie pointed something out to stay tuned for the Levain Copycat PART THREE!

Update – July ’10:  A little birdie told me 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch mixed in with the flour and leaveners, is a secret ingredient in the Levain cookie batter.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  I assume it gives you a more tender cookie upon cooling.  Then again, could just be yet another rumor to throw us off  LOL.

Update 2011 – Update 2011: I believe they cut in either pastry or cake flour to keep the cookies tender upon cooling and sitting. Not sure of the amounts yet, but that will come with my third attempt. If this is the case, cornstarch is not added (if you wish to add it in the first place) In the mean time, this recipe also (see My Much Discussed Levain Bakery Copy Cat Cookie entry) makes a pretty darn good fat chocolate chip cookie.

UPDATE JUNE- 2011 – I just received another little hint about the Levain cookies.  Ives, a reader and huge Levain cookie fan (she gets them like 4 times a week) noticed that they freeze the cookies prior to baking them!  Here’s the comment..

Hi, I am also quite obsessed with the Levain cookies and have been going to the bakery 4 times this whole month (I’m from the Philippines). Have you noticed that they put the balls of weighed dough inside the freezer and once it’s hard (but not frozen enough to have a layer of ice on the outside) they assemble 6 of them in the sheet to bake? Have you tried freezing dough and baking the frozen dough? I think this is the secret of the gooey middle! What do you think?

I think it makes complete sense, Ives.  How about it, all?  Another little hint that gets us a bit closer!  To all who try this..let me know how it works out for you!

                     Levain Copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie Part Deux

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookie

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie Part Two
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 dozen 4 oz cookies*
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) 'cold and cubed' unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz or 100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (7.75 oz or 220 grams) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (3.88oz or 110grams ) dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¾ to 3¼ cups (13 oz or 384 grams) All-Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table or fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups (12 oz or 340 grams) good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (I usually use half semisweet and half milk chocolate)
  • 1 cup (4 oz or 120 grams) walnuts**
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.. and beat until well incorporated.
  3. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips/chunks and nuts.
  4. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions, **about 4 oz each
  5. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven 15-20 minutes depending on how gooey and raw you like the interior, until very lightly browned, taking care not to over bake. Let cool on rack and store what you don't immediately eat in an airtight container.
  6. These are best eaten on the day they are made (ESPECIALLY warm out of the oven - like most chocolate chip cookies). To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
*6 oz portions of the dough will give you about 6 to 8 cookies - bake another 3 to 5 minutes at 350 F.
**Toast the nuts for more flavor, if desired. Use any kind of nut you like. I love macadamias in these.
- The Levain Bakery does not use vanilla extract in their chocolate chip walnut cookies. If you'd prefer to use it, add 1 to 2 teaspoons after you add the eggs.

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252 Responses to Reworking the Levain Bakery Copycat Cookie

  1. Elyse says:

    Mmm, your new version of the copycat looks great. I can understand how your friend managed to devour 2 or 3 of the cookies before they got to you. I love these Le Vain cookies, and I love your copycat!

  2. Hey Lisa! They do look like Levain’s! I’ll have to try this new version, I’ll let you know when I do.

  3. Lindsey says:

    Ooo these look great!! Thanks for popping over and letting me know you had experimented with the recipe again. I actually saw your post in my reader 🙂
    My husband and I had picked up some Levain cookies this weekend and after we devoured them within 24 hours, I told him I would try your copycat this weekend with your original modifications. I think I will give this recipe a try instead. I’ll let you know how it goes!! Thanks again for sharing and for tweeking the recipe…even if we don’t get an exact copycat, at least the cookies we are making are tasty!

  4. A&N says:

    Are you talking about Throwdown with Bobby Flay? I think I am bad luck for him because everytime I watch it, he loses! I’ve seen the episode where he makes the Gumbo, Bread pudding, Yule log and some Puerto Rican style burgers….and he lost every single throwdown!

    Now, coming to the cookies……mindblowing stuff! The pic with the half-cut cookies (the close-up) is so unfair on the readers 🙂 And if I were to try these, I’d also add macademia. I am a huge macademia nut fan 🙂

  5. Anna says:

    Looks great! I can’t wait to try it.

    About the Toll House comment, I get the occasional snipe as well. If it’s anonymous, I delete it. There’s no reason to worry yourself with anonymous commenters who post comments just to shoot you down. And small chances in an ingredient list or technique can make a big difference in the overall result of the cookie

  6. Katrina says:

    I’m joining Rita (Clumbsy) and Anna and will be trying this version soon. LOVE Levains. Went to NYC twice last year almost just for Levains. Last year Anna, Rita and I tried to clone them with many tries. We even did yeast as a leavener. I’m leaving town tomorrow, but just might have to whip out some of these today and see what I think. Your cookies look great.

  7. April says:

    I have never had the Levains cookies, I do nto like chocolate chip cookies, but I have to say I loved your recipes beofre this one. I will try this one and see how I like it. I make them for school bake sales and everything, they are a huge hit. So no way was it a toll house cookie. This is coming from someone who does not like chocolate so that is something. :o)

  8. Laura says:

    I have been obsessed with this issue myself lately. It is not on my blog yet because I waiting to get the recipe exactly right–it is not the Levain recipe, but another cc chip cookie (one of Alton brown’s). But the point is that I started out obsessing on why I could not get any melted butter recipes to work when some people swore by them. Anyway I came by some interesting info in Bakewise about importance of brand of flour (and protein content). So not only does amount of flour make a difference but so does the protein content–and maybe you knew all of this 🙂 but I was shocked at how big of a difference she said it could make–up to needing an additional 1/2 cup of flour per 2 cups called for if using low protein flour when the original had high protein flour (which is indeed the case with the Tollhouse recipe).

    OK enough babbling, I love your blog–this is the first post I’ve read and it is just awesome.

  9. Lesley says:

    I AM STEALING THIS! I am always in search of the perfect cc cookie recipe. I made Dorie Greenspans and so far they are the best, but I have to try this one too.
    NOt good for the old gut, though!
    Your pics are magazine-worthy.

  10. Good GRIEF do these look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Amazing I tell you! Oh no, now I want to make cookies again. I am working on another cookie post, but I was trying to space out the calories. Now there will be no waiting – I blame you! 🙂 xoxo

  11. p.s. LOVE the red ribbon against the blue background! Beautiful!

  12. Kitty says:

    I love this post, particularly because of your commentary. Have you considered adding a bit of molasses?

    • Lisa says:

      I didn’t have any dark brown sugar, so I used light brown, and added molasses to make up for not having the brown sugar. This recipe made the BEST chocolate chip cookie I’ve EVER tasted! So good, I even considered selling them for $10 a piece! Ha, Ha!!

      • lisamichele says:

        That’s awesome, Lisa!! So happy to hear how much you liked them! They’re siill not as close to Levain’s as I inititally wanted them to be, but from it I got a great, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookie of my own 🙂

  13. shellyfish says:

    I’ve never heard of these cookies, but after reading this I am SO CRAVING a chocolate chip cookie!!! They look and sound so delicious. Must be strong… Aarrrk!
    I have a question for you – how did you get the Dbers logos into your sidebar? I also have a wordpress blog and can’t seem to manage it. Thank-Q!

  14. Laura says:

    On my way out of town but I wanted to tell you that I get all of my updated event info (Sugar High Friday and otherwise) at Is My Blog Burning? (if you search on that you will find it right away–I don’t see how to do links here). Did you see my Grandma’s Recipes event? It sounds like you might like it if you bake out of recipe cards fading yellow! 🙂

  15. Arlette says:

    Hello Lisa,

    I am going to try your cookies this weekend, as I have all the ingredients, and let you know. I am looking for this kind of chocolate chips cookies.

    thanks for sharing

  16. Kelly says:

    I have tried ALL the Levain copycat recipes on the net, including your original one..and I have to say, these are the closest by far! My boyfriend, his brother and I finished all 12 cookies last night, and boy was it worth it! Thank you!!

  17. scrumptious says:

    Hi Lisa,

    What beautiful pictures and what a fun-to-read post! I saw in your comment over at The Spiced Life that you were looking for this month’s Sugar High Friday event, so I wanted to give you the link to the announcement. There is still plenty of time to join in the fun and I really hope you will!

  18. Those cookies of yours look absolutely delicious! Now I have no way of knowing what a Levain’s cookie is to be honest, but next time I am in the US where can I get them…:) ?
    In the meantime yours looks like a perfect substitute. Loved the closeup with all the chocolate coming out. Sooo delicious!
    Thanks for stopping by on my blog as well!

  19. lisamichele says:

    Thank you all for your lovely comments, and for those of you who are going to try the cookie, please post back and let me know what you think so we can tweak it together if there’s something you feel needs to be added, subtracted etc.. On another note, my photos aren’t anywhere near where I want them to be and where they could/should be! I need props, much, much more light and a good macro lens – not to mention more of an ‘eye’ for photography – kind of like Tartelette (Helene), Aran, Vera, al! However, those are tall mountains to climb!

    A&N – Yep, that’s the Throwdown I was referring to. He does always lose, and it’s actually kind of funny. However, I think he won his last one and probably knocked down the casserole ladie’s business several UGH, too much TV when you’re recovering from an injury!

    Laura – Great info. I left a message on your blog – a long one at that! 🙂
    Kitty – Although a great idea, since brown sugar is white sugar and molasses, and dark brown sugar contains even more molasses, adding pure molasses would probably be too much, since it’s such a strong flavor!
    scrumptious and Laura = Thanks so much for the helpful info and link(s) to stay on course with SHF! I’m going to try to fit it in this month -if not, next month! Enjoy your weekend out of town, Laura!
    Simone – The Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies are probably the biggest/thickest, most gooey, BEST, or at least one of the best chocolate chip cookies in NYC or anywhere for that matter! You can purchase them at the Levain Bakery in Manhattan if you’re in NYC, or order them by mail. I have a link to their site and blog in my sidebar or you can link to it here…
    and here

  20. Thanks for the link Lisa! We are actually planning a trip to NYC at some point in the (hopefully) near future, so I will definitely put that on our todo list once we get there!

  21. deeba says:

    I LOVED reading your post Lisa. All that went into the cookies, the experiments, the tweaking..What passion. I’m going to try these soon, & when I do, i’ll definitely mail you. About Teastspotting-yes it’s like other foodie blog events, only an ongoing one. So if you miss one week, you can always catch the next. There’s never any pressure which is what I like about Susan’s event. The link is, & the submission form is online onher blog. Thanks again for stopping by…Have a great day! Cheers

  22. Rosa says:

    Interesting! These cookies look perfect and sooo good! I love their thickness…



  23. They look magnificent. I’m no familiar with Levain’s cookies but I can see these would be my sort of cookie just from the amount of choc chips in them!

  24. ----HAYATCEMRESİ---- says:

    This all looks amazing!!

  25. I usually like cookies BUT yours look so good and morish I will be having a go at them soon. Great photos and the recipe look super simple.

  26. Kinsey says:

    You never cease to amaze me with your creations and determination to get things just right. I think i have to make these cookies for our local bake sale!

  27. Arlette says:

    Hello Lisa

    I just want to let you know, I made a batch of your Wonderful Cookies,
    they are perfect, Michel is sending his regards as well, he started tasting, one after the other, until I had to stop him to take some photos.
    I didn’t cut them 4 inches, I used my icecream scoop and they are wonderful…I will post the recipe soon.

  28. Kaitlyn says:

    wow, i love your site! your pics are beautiful! oh i totally agree about how baking is a science! a little bit can change alot! those cookies look fantastic!

  29. pepsakoy says:

    Looks sooo scrumptious ! I’m very tempted to give it a try..

  30. nikkita says:

    Hi Lisa, thank you for visiting my blog and your kind words. I have never tasted Levain cookies and I’m sooooo looking forward to try this recipe of yours. Thank you for providing it AND the tips! Can’t wait to sink my teeth into these chewy poofy cookies. Oh and I’ve never tried Nestle Tollhouse cookies either. Deprived, I am. Maybe I should migrate 😀

  31. bakingblonde says:

    Wow, great write up!
    I tried a ‘copycat’ recipe I while ago but admitedly have never had a Levain cookie myself so am not sure how close the recipe I used is to the real thing.
    These sound and look fabulous!!! Can’t wait to try!

  32. Katrina says:

    Just wanted to let you know I’ve made your recipe–oh probably 6 times in the last few weeks. Love it! I posted about them briefly today (it’s at the end of a long post about lots of goodies.) Definitely a great Levain clone. I’m not sure we’ll ever have their recipe exact, I think there’s just something about being in NYC and having Levain’s cookies–but I love having copycats like this to make me at least FEEL like I’m back in NY! Great recipe! 😉

  33. Hélène says:

    I have to make these, they look so gorgeous.

  34. danielle says:

    hi! yum-o! I am making these tomorrow-just wondering how much flour u used exactly? Thanks!

  35. rhf713 says:

    I’m almost positive Levain uses Guittard chocolate chips.

  36. cheryl says:

    Ok, I have eaten the Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie and I think I might be in the minority here but….I didn’t like it.
    I thought it was too sweet. The amount of chocolate v. cookie was overwhelming and overpowered the dough.
    I went to the shop with a friend of mine and gave the really expensive giant orb to him after eating only 2 bites.

  37. lisamichele says:

    Cheryl – Oh, believe me, you’re not in any minority in that respect. A lot of people find it to be too sweet, too big, and all around too much, whereas others go crazy for it. It’s all a matter of personal taste, and how ‘sweet’ your tooth is. Trust me, I can barely eat more than one of them myself, unless it’s a certain time of the month lol

  38. tiamatsrevenge says:

    I had a feeling that I’d be seeing this post show up … especially after all of the experimenting that a friend & I did … and the info I fed into your previous LFL blog entry … LOL But, I’m not sure about the mixing of the brown sugars (It didn’t have the “look” of dark brown sugar being involved) …
    I honestly don’t think I’ve made the first recipe since the first time I made them … Don’t get me wrong, they were really good … But, I got this flippin’ chemistry background that makes me want to keep experimenting with things … Waitaminute, that’s what baking is … One bigass chemistry experiment … LOL
    I tried a chocolate quad chip version of my last experimental version … They were good about 5-10 minutes out of the oven … But, the longer they sat around, the more the flavor changed … By the next day, it was almost day & night … My family & friends loved them … But, I just am not happy with that experiment …

  39. tiamatsrevenge says:

    Waitaminute … [br][br][br][br]

    What is this experimenting with the flours bit?? And who is this little birdie?? LOL [br][br][br][br]

    Though, one has to wonder “how” are the Levainers actually measuring their ingredients ??? Do they do it like we see Ina / Giada / Paula do?? Or do they do it like the back of Mom’s 48yo Betty Crocker cookbook shows us??

  40. tiamatsrevenge says:

    I am a wee bit confuzzled with the cookie pix …

    I’m not sure which pix match up to which version of the recipe … LOL That would help a lot …

    But, like I mentioned before … I got the best height when I had more white sugar than brown sugar … LOL Prolly cause the white is drier than the brown and moisture affects the “rise” … LOL 😉

  41. zuzu says:

    Have read the blog and am schooled up and ready to try the latest recipe. I’m so thankful for all the experimenting you’ve done! Since the dry ingredient amounts are so important, have you thought about publishing by weight?

  42. lisamichele says:

    rhf713 – Guittard. huh? I knew it was a high quality chocolate, but I always used Callebaut or Ghiradelli when in a pinch. Thanks for that, as I’ll try the Guittard next time 🙂

    Tiamat – LTNS! I just typed out this long, drawn out answer to you, and that’s when WordPress suddenly decided to go down for a few seconds…GRR! Always copy what you write when it starts to get long, and before submitting, so you can always paste it and resubmit without having to type it over like I’m doing now!!!

    OK, where to begin….*sigh*. Lert’s just say someone mentioned to me that there was a good chance that a combination of flours ‘might – wink wink’ be used in the Levain copycat, which I was thinking as of late anyway. Although my recipe turns out great right from the oven and several hours thereafter, I didn’t like how the outer shell toughened up after that, and the heaviness and density of the cookie become much more apparent. That’s no doubt due to the original amount of flour I used, and taking a page from Jacques Torres’ awesome chocolate chip cookies, where he combines pastry flour with the AP flour AND knowing that pastry and cake flour ‘tenderize’ baked goods, it seemed to fit. I want my copycat a little lighter and more tender, and to remain that way for a while after baking. The only problem is figuring out the amount of cake or pastry flour in conjunction with the AP flour, which will take a lot of experimenting – and I’m working on other projects now. Not to mention, it’s hard to ‘experiment’ when you cannot walk while using both hands to retrieve ingredients and basically cook/bake whenever you want. I have a rotating group of helpers, who I’m very grateful for, but it drives me crazy as it’s frustrating not being able do it 100% myself – whenever the mood strikes. Making barches and batches of different chocolate chip cookie formulas, over and over, would be a pain for them AND I’d never be able to execute each batch the way I wanted to, since I’d feel awful about all the monotony!
    As for the sugars, I have no doubt the Levain Bakery uses more brown sugar than white sugar in each cookie. You’d have to taste one to see what I mean. Adding a bit dark of brown sugar really enhances the flavor and makes it taste closer to Levain’s, although I’m not positive they incorporate any dark brown sugar into their cookie.
    Finally, regarding the cookie photos, the collage was just an experimention using two dough temps, and two flour and leavening amounts. The Levain copycats are all the ‘raggedy’ cookie photos below the collage.

    zuzu – Thanks for your lovely comment and I really love experimenting with these. I do sometimes weigh the dry ingredients, so next time, in my Levain Copycat attempt Part Three I’ll post weights along with the cups 🙂

  43. tiamatsrevenge says:

    Lisa –

    Check your email for one from “Sparky” … 😉

  44. tiamatsrevenge says:

    From the Art Culinare article the girls were in …

    “All of the breads and cookies at the Hamptons store are baked in a convection oven, but the partners actually prefer the weathered pizza oven in their Manhattan location, for the way its hot and cold spots create appealing variations in the golden brown spots atop the cookies’ rough surfaces. “In [the] Long Island [store], everything looks exactly the same, with no natural variation,” says McDonald, although she adds, “It is a lot faster, and on a busy afternoon, that can make a big difference.” …”

    THIS explains a LOT … Well, at least in the external physical appearance … LOL 😉

  45. mishtish says:

    Hey Lisa, your recipe looks greats!! I cannot wait to try it out! We don’t get AP flour here. Only cake flour, self raising and bread flour. Can I substitute cake flour for AP? Would it be a 1:1 substitution? Thanks 🙂

  46. Dee says:

    Lisa, this cookie was TO DIE FOR!!!!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!! The only thing I did different was I used 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar instead of both light and dark because that is all I had. But the cookie was divine!!!! I have to say I was nervous about not putting vanilla extract in but let me tell you, not putting it in seemed to really allow the flavor of the brown sugar to come through….just delicious. I can’t imagine how you are going to improve upon this one….just doesn’t seem possible. I have been on a quest for my version of the quintessential chocolate chip cookie, thick, crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside and this cookie is it. Kinda sad, but I can stop experimenting now I guess. Thank you for sharing this perfect recipe….Oh and by the way, GO YANKEES!!! They moved into first and left Boston a 1/2 game behind…I know it’s early in the season but it’s nice to see our team in first place again, it’s been a while 🙂

    • lisamichele says:

      I’m so glad you liked them, Dee! Did you use the original amount of flour or the modified amount of flour in red? I think the modified amount results in a lot more spread, so that’s something I have to work on.

  47. Denise says:

    I used 3 cups exactly and while it did spread a little more, the result was still pretty thick and the texture was perfect. I was going to add an extra tablespoon or two of flour but didn’t want to sacrifice the texture for a little more height because the crumb was just right. Maybe I will try using bread flour next time and see what that does for the little extra spreading…but as written, it is an outstanding cookie. Thanks again for sharing this recipe 🙂

  48. Don says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Newbie cookie maker here so please forgive the question if it seems ridiculous – but why does your cookie recipe call for cold butter when it has to be creamed with the sugars anyway? Doesn’t creaming it at least bring it to room temperature? I saw the Bobby Flay episode too, and didn’t notice that the butter was chilled.
    I’m going to try your recipe this weekend, btw… It has to be better than spending over $100 to get a dozen cookies to Phoenix AZ!
    Thanks for the help!

  49. lisamichele says:

    Don – Not a ridiculous question at all, and I’m more than happy to answer it! The reason for the cold butter in the Levain copycat is simple – when you cream room temp butter, it warms up even more, resulting in more spread when baked. If you want more rise and less spread, since the Levain is a big, fat cookie, starting with cold butter when creaming results in less ‘warming’ of the butter, but still cuts the sugar in so it creams up nice and fluffy while still maintaining the structure and rise of the cookie as it bakes.

    According to some online sources, for most ‘basic’ sized cookies, room temperature butter is ideal, since you’re not looking for a big, fat cookie that rises too much. With room temperature butter, when you cream it, the structure (air bubbles) break down quicker, leading to a more basic, flatter cookie. With the Levain copycat, there is less of a chance of the butter warming to the point during creaming where those air bubbles break down, if you start with cold butter. You still get a smooth ‘cream’, but it’s still slightly cool after being creamed, resulting in a more solid structure which helps the cookie maintain it’s height due to less spreading in the oven. If the fat is too warm, it will lose air and/or not be able to form air bubbles when the sugar crystals cut into it.

    Finally, you also don’t want the butter too cold, as that would result in the sugar not cutting into it thoroughly, resulting a flattish cookie lacking in flavor. I have the epsiode on saved on Tivo, and by the way the butter is cubed, you can tell it’s cold, as the cubes are perfrctly solid, with no melting or softness when dropped into the mixing bowl. I first tried my Levain copycts with room temp butter, and they spread too much. Slightly cool,fluffy, creamed butter, and they turned out just like the Levains Hope this helps!
    Let me know how yours turn out, and may I suggest upping the brown sugar and decreasing the white sugar, then refrigerating the dough for anywhere from 24-36 hours prior to baking? Not sure if Levain does this, and I’ve never tried it, but apparently this results in a CC cookie with even more flavor and a better texture 🙂

  50. tiamatsrevenge says:

    Oddly enough …

    The ep of “Throwdown” was on Tuesday night …

    At the beginning of the ep, they the Levain girls putting in & pulling out a sheet of cookies from the oven … And there are 3 inverted cookie sheets … and it’s one of the upper levels of the oven …


    I tried the recipe using baking soda & COT … with 1/2c of light & dark BS and 1c of WS … and less salt … Needless to say, they were sorta flat … But, they tasted good & buttery …

    Strangely enough … The longer this dough chilled, they didn’t taste as buttery … But, they had more rise than the overnight chill …

    • lisamichele says:

      Tiamet, I knew something was up when I was getting hits galore last night (It also aired Wednesday night)! LOL Interesting about the inverted cookie sheets, and you’ve mentioned that before, but I have yet to try that. Many have been mentioning the ‘maturing’ of the cookie dough in the fridge prior to baking. and I recall that you brought that up a while ago, saying it really works out well. Not sure how it would work with my copycats, but I need to try it 🙂

      • tiamatsrevenge says:

        Oops!! I guess it was on last night … I don’t know why I keep thinking it’s Friday already (Wishful thinking?) … LOL It’s also going to be on August 16th & 17th (so, expect more hits) …

        The “maturing” of the dough was in a NYT article … I know the Levain girls probably don’t do it, just because of the high turnover of dough … But, for us home bakers, it does help a lot …

        I just whipped up a new batch of dough … and added orange extract to it … My choc chips took a hit from the record-breaking heatwave last week …

      • tiamatsrevenge says:

        D’oh!! I made some dough last night (first time in a month that it’s been cool enough in my kitchen to even attempt it) … But, I think I must’ve gotten the butter / sugar / egg mixture too warm because the stupid things are kinda flat (not as in flat crunchy) … And they’re kinda greasy …

        Really weird!!

  51. Deborah says:

    I tried your second version of the Levain cookies. I didn’t like how they came out. They were very tasty, but the texture and flavor was not even close to the Levain. I do believe your first version is much closer. I have made that one several times, and the texture, height and flavor is outstanding.

    On Recipe number 1: I usually start the cookies at 375 temperature for 8 minutes, and then lower to 325 for the remaining time (6 – 10 minutes depending on size.)

    Thanks for your efforts! I keep trying to recreate the Levain cookies myself : )

    • lisamichele says:


      Which cookie is first and which is second? The reason I ask is, it can go either way depending on how you read my blog lol MY first attempt was ‘My Much Discussed Levain Copycat’ so I’m assuming that’s the one you were referring to as the first?

      With that said, it’s fun trying to figure out the amounts of each ingredient and if there’s some ‘secret’ ingredient’ we don’t know about. Getting close to the actual Levain is still a great cookie, so I’m satisfied..for now. BUT, as I mentioned, I’ll be going at it again..soon. Please don’t hesitate to post your results and tips in your attempts, as they’d be very helpful to all 🙂

  52. Judy says:

    Hey there Lisa, I’m adding to the comments on this cookie recipe since it’s the one I actually made with some minor modifications. First, I converted the large volume measurements to ounces because it’s easier for me that way (I have a scale right on my kitchen counter). I used the equivalent of 3 cups (13.75 0z) all bread flour because the higher protein content reduces spread. I also added an extra egg yolk to increase the chewy texture. Other than that, the ingredients were the same. I do combine all the dry ingredients before adding to the wet because that’s what we always did in class.

    In the mixing method there were just a couple of things I do a little differently. When mixing the eggs/yolk in stages into the butter & sugar make sure to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl after each addition so they get fully incorporated. I use a special blade attachment called the Beater Blade which scrapes the sides of the bowl as it mixes. It’s a great tool & I definitely recommend it for anyone who does a lot of baking and uses a stand mixer.The regular paddle mixer doesn’t fully incorporate the ingredients so use a spatula or bowl scraper to scrape. When the mixture is smooth add the combined dry ingredients and mix, on low speed to avoid flying flour, only half-way (50% incorporation). Then, add the chocolate chips/chunks and fold, by hand, with spatula just until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Wrap dough in plastic wrap & refrigerate for 24 hours.

    I’m lucky to have a convection oven which I preheated to 350 degrees. I realize most people don’t have one so they should probably stick with your recommended temperature if that works for them. I portioned the refrigerated dough into 4 oz pieces and placed on a parchment lined cookie sheet (actually 1 cookie sheet placed in another). I baked them for exactly 20 minutes ( I only baked 3 to try). They came out perfectly browned, and didn’t spread thus remained mounds. As for taste and texture…..they were crispy on the edges and chewy and tender on the inside. All in all, a delicious cookie that got rave reviews from my family.

    Unfortunately, I have no idea if they even come close in texture and taste to Levain’s, so if you’re willing to try my modifications I’ll rely on you to let me know what you think. Thanks!

    • lisamichele says:

      Judy! Thank you for such an informative and detailed take on your execution of this cookie and how it turned out for you. I’m definitely going to try it your way, and I hope others will too, as all the advice and help to make this cookie as close to Levain’s as possible – is greatly appreciated and WILL be well read and tested!

      • Judy says:

        Just 1 more suggestion…..another important tidbit learned in school…is to turn the cookie sheets around halfway through baking (at the 10 minute mark for me) if you have 2 rows of cookies on the sheet. This ensures even browning of all cookies as ovens (even professional ones) do not heat evenly throughout.
        I just baked my last batch (from the fridge)…got a total of 14 4 oz cookies. I must say they’re really good. Can’t imagine a better cookie, and hope to one day try the original.

  53. Judy says:

    Oops, I forgot to say ” add the chopped walnuts along with the chocolate.”

  54. Judy says:

    Here’s a video of the Levain girls making the cookies in the bakery.

  55. lisamichele says:

    Judy, thanks again for more helpful advice 🙂 Also, thanks for the link..I think I’ve seen it, but I’m not sure. I’ll check it out ASAP! Keep your expertise coming, it’s much appreciated and followed here!

  56. Vicki D. Lucifora says:

    Thank you so much for this receipe! while I receeving Chemo I would watch the Foodnetwork then print the recipes so I would have new receipes in my collection. I knew once I recovered this was the first one I would try. OH MY: I used pecans instead of walnuts and the 3 1/4 cups flour. These are amazing! I’m so excited about sharing these with the one’s I love during the holdays.

    Cheers to you for all your hard work and publishing for everyone to enjoy. My family went crazy.

    • lisamichele says:

      Vicki, I’m so glad you loved them, and especially glad that this recipe was at the top of your list to try once you recovered! BUT, most important is that you’re well now! All happy and healthy thoughts to you, and keep on enjoying these cookies! 🙂

  57. Coleen says:

    Please tell me that your getting close to perfecting the oatmeal raisin cookie. I can’t wait to make them.

  58. vicki says:

    This is nothing like the Levain cookie. I wonder if you have really had a Levain cookie. This is more like a horrible Tollhouse knockoff. I would never make this again.

  59. lisamichele says:

    Sorry they didn’t work out for you, vicki. I appreciate your candor, but I can assure you, I’ve had many Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies. That said, did you try my original knock-off attempt, at this link?
    Give it a shot and let me know how they turn out 🙂

  60. first timer says:

    I have never made any cookies of any kind before jumping right into the best ever! So I made the cc cookies last weekend for a tailgate party. They tasted wonderful, but I was hoping I could improve two areas. 1. The outside was not as crispy as I would have hoped. They were chewy on the inside without the crispyness on the outside. (I have a friend that makes cc cookie “bars” in a pan like brownies, and these reminded me of that). How do I get them to be soft on the inside and harder/crunchier on the outside without burning them? 2. The inside of the cookie was a bit dry–I’m sure I must have done something slightly wrong, but not being a cook, I don’t know what. Do you have a suggestion for making the inside of the cookie more moist? What ingredient/technique do I need to add/subtract/be careful on measuring in order to get a more moist cookie? Thanks! And thanks for your site. It’s great.

  61. Dre says:

    I haven’t had lavaines cookies but they looked so good I searched for a copycat. I made your recipe and OMG these are sooooooo goooodddd! I didn’t have dark brown sugar so I used all lite brown sugar. I took a 1/2 cup out and added 1 tbls of molasses and I added a tsp of vanilla. They are amazing cookies. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • lisamichele says:

      You’re so welcome, Dre!! I’m always happy to hear that someone loves ’em! Most like to add vanilla, because they really miss it, but the Levain ladies clearly state that they use NO vanilla. The molasses is an interesting addition, although it is what makes brown sugar ‘brown’ and sweeter 😀

  62. Cindy says:

    Judy: I tried using bread flour to see if I got less spreading, and I actually got more spreading than using the all purpose flour.

    • Judy says:

      Sorry to hear that. These are the known facts when it comes to decreasing spread in cookies:
      – The dough shouldn’t be wet; it should be firm.
      – Butter causes spread so maybe use less, or make sure to keep it cold as Lisa wrote (and the Levain women do). Also, since the liquid in this recipe comes only from the eggs & butter using an extra egg yolk (as I mention above) will limit spread. Egg yolks cause less spread because they have less liquid than the whites.
      – Use higher protein flour (like bread flour),or maybe use a combo of bread and cake flour. Maybe use more flour than called for. I live in a very dry climate so I can get away with less. In humid environments, you may need more flour to get a firm dough (use a high flour-to-fat ratio).
      – too much baking soda increases spread; baking powder decreases spread.
      – Brown sugar is slightly acidic so helps limit spread. The amount of sugar also influences spread….to much increases spread. Perhaps use less sugar overall.
      – Chilling the dough helps reduce spread.
      It’s all about ratios and proportions and quality of ingredients in baking. Also, proper measuring of ingredients is essential, which is why I strongly recommend using a scale over measuring cups. I’m happy with the results I get using Lisa’s basic recipe with the changes I mentioned above. Of course, like Lisa I also constantly experiment, so I’m continually working on these. Good luck with your next batch!

      • lisamichele says:

        Judy..thank you so much again for all the detailed info! Can I hire you one day? ;D

      • Judy says:

        Certainly. I need a job. Oh, I did fiddle around with the recipe…. combining bread and cake flour, reducing the sugar, salt and baking soda. I didn’t like the results. They had a soapy aftertaste taste which could be because I didn’t reduce the baking powder or could be from the cake flour which is bleached (I use only unbleached flours when I can). Thus it’s back to your recipe here with my modifications. What I really need is an actual Levain cookie to work from. If you ever plan a trip to Vegas please let me know.

  63. caroline says:

    Hey there!
    This is my first time responding to a blog…thank you for inspiring this new venture for me! I’ve tried your recipes and I think you are so close! Personally, I increase the salt quotient to balance the sweetness and I’ve found that the brand of flour used makes a huge difference! According to Cooks Illustrated (my new bible!) King Arthur Unbleached AP flour is the best all around flour to have in one’s pantry and the cookies baked with this flour maintained their shape beautifully! Also, as I have what is affectionately referred to as “harlem heat,” I need to refrigerate the dough before baking it as I can’t control the apartment temp!
    I’ve also tried various versions or the c.c peanut butter ones. I tried chopped Andes mints instead of the PB in one version (quite nice for the holidays…) and a version with milk chocolate in place of the PB. The triple chocolate ones were outrageous!
    Anyways, thanks for inspiring me and my new baking interests!

  64. caroline says:

    Ooooooh! Also….I bake the cookies at 360 for 16-17 mins. and then I broil them for ~2mins. (I must include that I have what amounts to an Easy-bake Manhattan oven so watch your own broiler very closely because it must be more powerful than mine!) This gets them soft on the inside and a little firm on the outside like the Levains. Those are my little contributions…enjoy!

    • lisamichele says:

      Caroline..thank you so much for your two cents and tips. LOL@ your easy bake Manhattan oven and harlem heat..I’ve been there!!! That said, I’m about to embark n yet another Levain attempt..and you’re right about the KA flour, it is the best for cookies and holding the shape. However, a little birdy whispered to me that Levain uses two types of flour in their cookies, and after some research, I came to the conclusion that it’s either pastry or cake flour, as they add tenderness to cookies, which my copycat is lacking when compared to Levain’s. Thing is..I wouldn’t know how much to add, from a few tablepoons to cups (???), so a lot of experimenting is in order again! I’m also with you on the salt, and the browing deal, but Levain’s aren’t very brown on top maybe that’s the closest I’ve For a long time, I didn’t have a Levain cookie, so I thought I had it down pat the first time UNTIL a friend bought me one back in Feb or March. This is why I had to go back to the drawing
      Thank you so much for stopping by, Caroline, and please keep checking back, as I should have some new ‘experiments’ posted in the coming months. I’m also so glad to have inspired and motivated your baking juices! Baking is therapy for me..and delicious therapy at that!

  65. erinn says:

    The last two Fridays my husband has brought me home cookies from Levain, his office gets them every once in awhile, and now I am hooked.

    I just tried to make them using your first recipe, sadly when I searched that is the one that came up, and as you know they are not exactly the same. I just found this post and read through it as well as some of the comments and noticed that you are talking about different flours. Have you ever made the NYT chocolate chip cookies ( They use a combination of bread and cake flour. They also let the dough refridgerate for at least 24 hours and up to 72. I wonder if that would help them. From what I have read about the NYT cookies the refridgeration help to dry out the dough a bit.

    Just food for thought, I can not wait to try a new recipe. Sooner or later they will come very close if not the same!

    • Bebop says:

      The overnight refrigeration isn’t to dry out the dough… The reason for refrigerating overnight is so that the flour can fully absorb the eggs. The longer the dough sits in the refrigerator, the more complex the taste becomes — like a fine wine in a cellar.

      Sure enough, after 36-48 hours in the refrigerator the caramel flavors are through the roof.

      Also, adding a single egg-yolk to nearly any chocolate-chip cookie recipe will eliminate cookie hardening, since the added fat will act as a tenderizer. However, it may affect the height of the cookie in some instances.

      • jh901 says:

        does Levain prepare the dough several days in advance?
        i don’t think they mentioned this on Food Network…

  66. jh901 says:


    Would you be able to update your recipe with more specifics such as brand? And, of course, any developments?! Caroline is correct about the flour, for example. My first attempt at your recipe was done using King Arthur unbleached, unbromated AP. Quality is king and it would be nice if we could get more specific- sugars, butter, eggs, and choco of course….the brand is very critical. I did see your note above about the potential use of two types of flour. Interesting.


    • lisamichele says:

      JH, the best quality of anything is going result in a better product. If I knew the exact brands they used at the Levain Bakery, you bet I would post them. That said, I do know they use Guittard chocolate. When I test these cookies (still in testing phase), I use KA flour, Domino’s sugars, Plugra butter, and the freshest eggs.

      • jh901 says:

        I guessed right on the choco. I recommend switching away from Domino. Pick up some organic sugars. Once you open the package, the wonderful aroma will win you over immediately. I also use free range eggs and I’m working on the butter (I have Plugra now).


  67. sugar plum says:

    Wowowowo,u ‘ve really studied and researched a cookie…i’m still on my a-b-c of cookies coz i lookout for crunchy crispy cookies and aint big on the chewy cakkey type so yeah have jus learnt v little and dnt knw if am right,for one no oaty cookies and less or no eggy yellows…and i think think ,aint sure maybe brwon sugar too gives a chewier cookie…that said would love to learn from ya and yeah am so tempted to try this recipe-its looks so so gorgeous but want a crumbly ,crnchy crispy cookie and its also what goes in then just increasing the baking time and i have this habit of cooling ’em in the oven too…(i think it adds to the crunch….

    And thanx a ton for suc a lovely post and thanx to sweet& savoury’s Chaya coz of whom i landed rite here and boy am i thrilled….

    MErry Christmas and happy hols
    Boas festas e bejinhos…

  68. i heart cookies says:

    I’ve been researching a lot of chocolate chip recipes and I was wondering if using a combination of cake flour + bread flour instead of AP flour makes a difference? that’s what Jacques Torres recommends and I don’t know if those divine bits of heaven from Levain do the same but if you could figure that out, that’d be amazinggggg!

  69. Marj says:

    Hello! I am Trixie’s friend. I used 1/4 cup of Hershey’s Special dark and 1/4 of shaved dark chocolate. The insides are a very rich dark brown/black but the outsides are not. The cookies at Levain are seriously almost black.

    • jh901 says:


      Hershey’s (or any mainstream brand) is really not a good choice. Pick up some Guittard and you will very much enjoy the improvement.


  70. Diane says:

    Okay, I am baking a batch of these cookies as I type. I just took out a the first batch from the oven. This is a wonderful recipe! I am a chocolate chip cookie FREAK! This is a wonderful recipe and NOT a toll house similiarity. Toll house come out flat like cow pies, these are a great looking cookie and hold texture well. They taste wonderful! I toasted the walnuts and that gave great flavor.

    I live in Colorado so my cookies didn’t come out as full as yours but by adding flour I am sure that would have taken care of this.

    I have never had Levain’s as I have not been to NY but I can tell you these were wonderful. I have made Alton Brown’s recipe and a lot of people like them but these are different. Alton’s are more carmely b/c of only using brown sugar and the egg yolk; these are more of a traditional cookie adn I like these much better!

    Thank you for sharing. Love them and can’t wait for my family to try them!

    • lisamichele says:

      Diane – I’m SO glad you had so much success with them!! You can even make them more ‘caramely’ by upping the brown sugar and reducing the white sugar, in the recipe 🙂

  71. Cynthia says:

    I just made the recipe, but added 1 extra yolk, added 2 tsp. vanilla and used 3 cups all purpose flour. Used a 375 degree convection oven. Baked six 1/4 cup sized mounds for 9 min. 45 seconds. Let cool on cookie sheet for at least one hour (for the soft gooey middle to finally have that soft middle)…..and…..perfection! — beautifully colored with a slightly hardened outside and soft and chocolatey inside.

  72. Karen says:

    Hi, I made this recipe yesterday and I think I did something wrong. Mine were flatter than pancakes and I’m wondering if you used more baking powder than stated? The cookie was amazingly good though, but I wanted a “bulkier” cookie! Thanks for any insight!

    • lisamichele says:

      Hi Karen 🙂

      No, I didn’t use more baking powder than what’s in the recipe. Did you try chilling the dough prior to baking them? Did you use the full amount of flour in the recipe?

      • Karen says:

        Thanks for your reply! Yes, I used the full amount of flour and I did chill the dough for 24 hrs. I am going to make another batch with different powder, maybe mine is bad?? I’ll let you know how they turned out! I was so excited to find your recipe, as I used to live in NYC and had many Levain cookies (PS, I tried a copy cat of their choc choc chip and it was divine!)

  73. lisamichele says:


    First off, try increasing the flour to 3 1/2 cups or a little more. On certain days, the batter just takes more rainy, humid etc.
    Also, maybe it could be tha baking powder. I’ve forgotten to test mine in the past, after having it a while, then wondered why my cookies or cakes didn’t rise lol That said, these cookies do not taste exactly like Levain’s. Levain’s have a certain richness and brown sugary sweetness these are lacking (I’m still working on Levain Copycat – Take 3 lol).
    Many readers have mentioned adding an egg yolk along with or in lieu of one of the eggs and I think the brown sugar should be increased even more while the granulated sugar is decreased. However, this is a good chocolate chip cookie. Let me know how they turn out for you in the end! 🙂

  74. tarvagirl says:

    Hi, this post is great. Thanks so much, I will bake this. Judy’s kitchen has a similar post, I’m so excited to follow both your post to make the cookies.

    Great job.

    • lisamichele says:

      Thanks, tarva! I hope they turn out great for you. If you get a chance, read through the comments of this entry and ‘My Much Discussed Levain Copycat Cookie’ entry for hints and tips for making this cookie taste closer to Levain’s. Regardless, it’s still a yummy fat and chewy chocolate chip cookie!

  75. Alicia says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I have used your original recipe many times and found the cookies to be spectacular! My children and husband couldnt be happier. And now I’m thrilled to find out you have another version to try which I have just printed out and will be making here in a few minutes. (Yes, I’m a little slow but with three small children, my computer surfing and reading time is limited)

    Thank you for sharing with us via your blog, the beautiful pictures, recipes, and instruction!

    • lisamichele says:

      Alicia, I just LOVE to hear that! I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed this take on the cookie and I hope they love the other one too! 🙂 Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Let me know how the other version turns out for you!

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  78. astheroshe says:

    I have to tell you I got my Levain cookies today. They were not even a day old. Double choc, regular chip, and oatmeal. I love the size and texture. Very rawish center. However, i was not crazy about the flavor?.. They seemed dull? I guess, i was expecting…something???….spectacular! They were just ..OK..for me. :0 . WHEW! ..maybe i am just wierd. 🙂

  79. Meredith says:

    lisa, these are wooonderful! so good i blogged about your recipe today! when i say levain bakery on throwdown with bobby flay, i couldn’t get my mind off those cookies. and goodness, your cookies were amazing!

    here’s my site, where i mentioned your fabulous recipe. happy baking!


  80. angela says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I made a batch last night. The cookies were great but not like Levain’s. Copycat tasted more sugary and had intense caramel flavor, while Levain was doughier (even after a day). The copycat cookie was darker in color and more ‘packed’. I think Levain’s was doughy in a fluffy way…hard to describe.
    I did stray away from your recipe: 2 3/4 Cups AP flour plus 1TBS cornstarch, 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk.

    Overall, I liked the flavor of your cookie; it had more depth than Levain’s. However, the consistency is not quite there. Maybe it is hard to come up with the perfect cookie (in my likings) that is caramel-y yet doughy.

    • lisamichele says:

      Angela – Still not quite yet there, but both recipes are still a good fat and chewy chocolate chip cookie! I love that you took the recipe in a different direction as it helps us get closer 🙂

  81. angela says:

    now I thought about it more. The Levain chocolate chip cookie has almost the same consistency as their peanut butter chip chocolate cookie. I wouldn’t be surprise if Levain used cake flour in their chocolate chip cookie, just as the way cocoa powder works in the chocolate cookie.

  82. Hope says:

    Thanks so much for these modifications. I tried your copycat recipe after watching the throwdown episode and my cookies came out a little pale and dry. I tried baking them at 350 and again at 375 degrees. I can’t wait to try this new adaptation. The taste was very good though and not too sweet. Thanks again

  83. Erin says:


    Just saw the episode of Throwdown with these cookies at work (I work at a restaurant and all the employees are obsessive foodies) and we couldn’t stop talking about trying these cookies. Imagine how sad we where to discover they don’t share their recipe! So i volunteered (as the resident baker) to look around for a copy cat. Have spent the last hour reading your recipes and comments and formatting a plan for my own attempt. I definitely think i’ll try using a cake flour, AP flour blend. Only because in researching for a sugar cookie recipe from a local bakery that i was obsessed with, when i finally found their recipe, they used all cake flour. And the thing i loved about their cookie was the light fluffy consistency that seemed to melt in your mouth. Can’t wait to try these and thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into researching this recipe.


    • lisamichele says:

      You’re so welcome, Erin! I’ve long believed they might use a combo of flours, so please let me know how your cookies come out with all or some cake flour! Wish I had a coworker like you! 🙂

  84. josephine says:

    I saw the Bobby Flay Throwdown and was tempted to try to recreate the cookie when I found your recipe here, will definitely try this! The main thing I noticed was that the judge Nick Malgieri really emphasized how sweet the Levain cookie was and it looks like your cookie has less than sugar than other ccc recipes.

    • lisamichele says:

      Hi Josephine, I lessened what looked to be a cup of sugar of each precisely because Nick said they were too sweet. You could add more sugar if you like them sweeter 🙂

  85. astheroshe says:

    You are on a mission! I can’t believe how determined you are! I found a recipe online that said they bake it at 390 degrees and they add..One Tablespoon cornstarch ! i think it decreases the spread??..but do not quote me….

    as for these cookies I love the size..but i found there Chips and Oatmeal –horrible Soorrrry :/ .but i already told you that 🙂

    • lisamichele says:

      I heard the conrstarch also tenderizes the cookie, but I think it’s a combo of flours. As for you trying the real levain cookie and not liking it..I remember you saying that and actually being shocked, although I have heard that it’s just ‘too much’ from some, especially those who prefer a thin or thinner chocolate chip cookie.

  86. katy says:

    lisa – i tried your recipe yesterday, and although they are wonderfully soft and delicious, mine still came out with domed, smooth tops and a “cakey” interior… not at all like the pictures. i used about 3 cups of flour, the dough was still sticky and unable to form by hand, so i refrigerated it overnight; it was still sticky the next day but i could work with it. i even did the “make balls and break them in half” method… hoping it would make the tops less smooth. what i was looking for was a nice, dense, gooey, chewy cookie with a craggly top… any ideas what i might have done wrong??

    • lisamichele says:

      Katy, I’m sorry you’re having some troubles. OK..let’s start by you adding in another 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour ..the dough should not be that tacky at all – you should be able to handle it without much sticking to your hands and it should still be cool since you start with cold butter. Also, since you’re getting a ‘cakey’ like interior in lieu of chewy gooey, you could try using 1 cup of bread flour and 2 1/4 to 1/2 cups AP flour instead of all AP flour, as bread flour makes a chewy cookie.


      Secondly, after forming them, place them on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for about 4 hours. You could also try eliminating the cornstarch, as that stands as a rumor right now lol I haven’t made them with cornstarch yet.


      Thirdly, did you add the full amount of walnuts and chocolate chipe? Some of those raggedy lumps are actually the nuts popping up beneath the dough – the lump of dough browning slightly.

      Finally, try baking them at 400 for about 8 minutes, after chilling.

      I know it’s a lot of tips..but just trying to give you every option 🙂

  87. astheroshe says:

    I acxtually Love the size and Texture of the Levain! ( i am no flat cookie girl) I am trying to make mine like that.. so i keep experimenting too…. maybe one day they will have a cookbook. Good luck! I am sure you will get it soon.. 🙂

  88. Stacy says:

    Hi, Lisa!

    I was so pleased with the cookies I made last weekend that I decided to experiment some more this weekend. After reading your blog, I recognized these cookies are very heat sensitive. Last weekend in California it was much cooler. This weekend it is very hot and humid. My cookies did spread more, and I noticed the need to add the additional flour. I made some modifications after watching Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. Reference was made to the caramel taste which I didn’t have in mine, and so I reversed the amounts for your light brown and dark brown sugar amounts. I used 1 cup dark and 1/2 cup light (both firmly packed) and kept the granulated as is. I continued with the 1 T of cornstarch and also added 2 tsp of Madagascar vanilla because I love the smell and taste. Initially, I set the oven to 350 by mistake. Those cookies did not rise as high as the ones I then baked at 375. I think the higher temp may have something to do with it, especially with varying oven temperatures. I am so thankful to discovering you on the web. This cookies make me proud to have people eat. Thank you again!

  89. lisamichele says:

    Thank you for your lovely and informative comment, Stacy! You are so right about these cookies being weather sensitive and you’re also right about upping the dark brown sugar to achieve more of the caramel taste the Levain cookie posseses. If you watch the Throwdown episode, they only show light brown sugar being added, but I can hardly imagine getting that caramel taste without some dark brown sugar, so I think they use all three sugars, but chose to eliminate that from the episode as they do not want to give all their secrets away.


    That said, love the modifications you made to get the cookie you wanted. Also, baking them at 400 for 6-8 minutes is another option that can help with the rise and browning (after they’ve been chilled, of course)…sort of like puff pastry..cold dough – super hot oven, big rise and golden pastry.


    All in all..I’m so glad you liked them, and hope you keep checking back (I will be making a third attempt) and sharing your results trying different methods. Looks like you’re pretty close to or right on the money 🙂

  90. jill says:

    I can’t wait to try these. I was recently in NYC and made it to Magnolia which was a bit disappointing in my opinion. It opened in LA yesterday but nothing compares to Levain.

    Have you tried Milk Bar? When in NYC in May we went there for the first time. They make a corn cookie that is like nothing I have ever tasted. I would be curios how to recreate it.

    Thanks again, going to bake….

    • lisamichele says:

      jill..I have been to the Milk Bar and Christina Tosi is genius. Are you referring to the Cornflake, Marshmallow, chocolate chip cookie? I think I could actually jump off a bridge for one of I’ll be baking and posting about the Blueberries and Cream cookie within a month. Funny about Magnolia..they really are hit or miss. Sometimes very good, sometime just good, but the Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting is great!


      With that said, my copycats are not quite Levain’s yet, but they’re good 🙂 Feel free to post any moderations you think could make them closer!

  91. Pingback: Dessert with Jack and Diane | Cold-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  92. lisamichele says:

    Hi all..I wanted to add this email I received from a gal named Seyi. Very helpful and interesting tips!

    Hey Lisa,

    I stumbled upon your blog after visiting Levain’s website. I used to live in New York and it was part of my summer routine to grab a cookie on my way to Central Park. I relocated to Florida and Publix chocolate chip cookies weren’t doing it for me.

    Given the hefty price to have their cookies shipped, I decided to find the recipe and try my hand at it. I made 4 batches through the week using your recipe. Here are a few of my notes.

    •1 tablespoon of cornstarch ruins the cookie and leaves you with a horrible stomach ache. The amount should be decreased to at least 2 tsp.
    •Use mini semisweet chocolate chips instead of regular size to have more chocolate in each bite.

    •Go for the chopped walnuts instead of regular and add a 1/4 cup more for tad bit more texture.
    •Adding a 1 tbsp of cake and cookie emulsion ( after the eggs provide a fuller taste.

    •Reduce flour to 2 1/4 cups
    •Bake at 350 degrees for 8 min. (This maybe just for me because I have super strong oven and use the convention bake setting instead of regular bake. Who knows?)

    I just wanted to provide some feedback, especially since the rumor of a 1 tbsp of cornstarch is totally incorrect.

  93. Cheryl S. says:

    Hello Lisa
    I’m so glad people are still commenting on the chocolate chip cookie a la Levain.
    I just finished baking the chocolate chip cookie that I think is even better than Levain’s!
    Mine came out very high, thick, perfectly browned on both the top and the bottom and a perfect chew on the inside.
    Utterly delicious!
    I don’t know how to upload the photos I took but trust me, they even look and taste better than Levain’s.
    I can’t even tell you how many times I experimented with this recipe and frankly, had given up hope on perfecting them however, this last time turned out to be the charm.
    How I tweaked the Lisa recipe:
    Instead of 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar and 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, I reversed it and used 1/2 Cup Light and 1 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar.
    2 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour was all that was necessary and I added 1 Tablespoon of Cornstarch.
    I used 3/4 Cup 53 % Valrhona Chocololate Feves 1/4 Cup and 1/4 Cup of Callebaeut 75% Chocolate from a block that I chunked up.
    I kept the pieces about twice as large as a chocolate chip.
    I did toast the walnuts and kept them in fairly large pieces as well.
    It is really important to cream the cold cubed butter and sugars till very fluffy and after each egg addition to scrape the bowl and beaters well.
    I did not use the vanilla as in this recipe it does not enhance the finished product
    I didn’t divide the dough but took the 2 oz. ice cream scoop and plopped 2.2 oz of mixture onto the silpat.
    I preheated the oven to 400 degrees then turned it down to 375 and baked for exactly 15 minutes.
    So, thanks again Lisa for starting the chocolate chip cookie charge and inspiring the rest of us.


    • Brenda says:

      Thank you for the tip about the brown sugars and cornstarch. I made them last night and they were all gone this morning, delicious.

  94. Cheryl S. says:

    Ooops….It’s just me again Lisa I want to correct an error on the amount of chocolate chips in the cookie.
    That was 1 3/4 Cup 53% Valrhona feves NOT, 3/4 Cup.

  95. Brenda says:

    I love your recipe and think it’s perfect. It’s hard to find a cookie recipe where they are big, most recipes turn out flat cookies. I never tasted the original Levain one’s but your recipe is awesome.

    Any chance you’re getting close to an oatmeal cookie recipe? I’m actually going to take your recipe and combine it with my oatmeal cookie one and cross my fingers. Luckily my boys love to eat so if they don’t turn out that great, I have 2 human trash compactors who will eat them no matter what, lol

    I’ll let you know how they turn out. I’m a fan 🙂

    • lisamichele says:

      Brenda- I’m so glad you like them! I haven’t had a chance to try and duplicate Levain’s Oatmeal Raisin yet, but when I do I will email you with the link. However..I am, very interested in learning how the combination of this recipe with oatmeal and raisins turn out! Please post back and let us know! Until then, enjoy feeding your human trash compactors giant cookie love 🙂

      • Brenda says:

        Hi Lisa – I made them with the oatmeal…AMAZING!!! I did cut back on the flour and used 1 cup oatmeal. Delicious 😉
        My son came home from school today and told the teacher that I would make cookies for the entire class for their xmas party. Thank you for spreading the recipe all the way up here in Canada. I’ve never tasted the Levain cookies but after seeing Bobby Flay’s Throwdown episode, I knew I had to find this recipe. Happy Holidays to you and your family and all the best in 2011 😉

      • lisamichele says:

        Oops…I was so busy with the holidays, I missed your comment, Brenda! Regardless, hope your holidays were great, and so glad you liked the cookie!!

  96. Mrs. Renee says:


    I tried this recipe using all light brown sugar and the cornstarch; the other ingredients are as the recipe states. OMG, these are hands down the best chocolate chip cookies, I have ever eaten. While I have not tasted Levain’s but I cannot imagine that they are any better. During the Bobby Flay “throwdown” the judge mentioned that they were very sweet. I did not find these cookies overly sweet, but perfect. I didn’t use vanilla extract and didn’t miss it. I have found the “perfect” chocolate chip cookie.

    Thank you!!

    • lisamichele says:

      Mrs. Renee, I am so glad you liked them! They aren’t exactly like Levain’s, since Levain has a richer, more tender, gooey thing going on (will still make a few more attempts at it), but I still think these are pretty fabulous too 🙂

  97. Denise says:

    O.M.G! Just made version 2—this is the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe out there! Made exactly as posted—used 3 cups of flour. Can’t believe how great these came out!

  98. Michael says:

    I just made version 2, with the addition of the cornstarch. I used 2 3/4 C AP flour, and 1/4 C cake flour, 1/2 cup dark brown, 1c light brown, 1/2 white sugar. I did add vanilla. I used a silpat and doubled the half sheetpan at 375, turning the pan at 10 minutes, and pulling at a total bake time of 18 minutes. WOW. I portioned them out to 3 oz, and I pressed the first 6 cookies down a little, and they spread. They baked up nice and tasted good, but didn’t have the appearance. Second batch I just put the dough on the silpat in a ball, same cook time and they looked like they came out of Levain’s oven. I’ve never tasted the real version, but my goodness, this is an amazing cookie. My second batch came out crisp on the outside, lightly golden, gooey and almost still raw in the middle. They had that raggedy look. Thanks Lisa! These go into the repertoire for a looong time.

  99. Tiff G says:

    Is it best to use European butter or will regular unsalted butter work just as well?

    • lisamichele says:

      Tiff, sweet European butter will always give you a much richer and most likely ‘better’ result than your average supermarket unsweetened butter. Go for it! 🙂

      • Tiff G says:

        Lisa you’re my cookie angel!!!!! These are by far the best cookies I’ve ever made. The European butter worked beautifully. The cookies were rich and decadent. I also used 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup each of dark and light brown sugars. The extra egg yolk also added great richness. I didn’t use the cornstarch, but I don’t think I missed it. On my next try I will experiment with cake and bread flours. Any suggestions for the ratio amounts? Overall this is a wonderful recipe. Thanks, Lisa for sharing.

      • lisamichele says:’re my cookie angel because I’m dying to try your tweaks on the recipe!! No doubt the yold really enhances the richness 🙂 Keep checking back for my next attempt, although I really do love this recipe!

  100. juliej says:

    Re the Toll House cookie comment, I think I can speak for most of us when I say it was the first CC Cookie we learned to bake. It tastes buttery, good. But from there I, and it seems like most of the bakers who read your blog, have spent their time trying to make a bigger better cookie. In no way is the Levain cookie or yours, a rip off of the toll house cookie. It is a CC Cookie on Steroids, and my goal is to make a cookie for myself and my family that I would want to go out and spend major coin on. If that is ripping off the TH Cookie, then so be it. I am in love with the cookie recipes that you have provided and that I have reworked over the years 🙂

  101. lisamichele says:

    Julie – Bravo, couldn’t have said it better myself. As I mentioned in the entry, 95% of basic chocolate chip cookies consist of the same ingredients – butter, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, leavenings and chocolate chips. It’s the amounts of each ingredient, the temp and the size of the cookie that can be futzed with until you get something you really like. In fact, a contestant on Top Chef: Just Desserts won a challenge with a chocolate chip walnut cookie similar to my first Levain attempt (My Much Discussed Levain Copycat Cookie entry), a small difference in the flour and leavening amounts, but it’s also similar to the recipe on the back of the Nestle bag! LOL One little tweak, and you really do get a different cookie.


    Having said that all that, thank you so much for your kind words!! Love to hear that I played a part in your successful and delicious cookie endeavors 🙂

  102. gracie says:

    These are amazing! I used 3 cups of flour. Not using vanilla really lets the butter shine through. Wow. I took them to a small party. So many admirers.
    * Next time I´ll try with the cornstarch.

    Thanks so much.

    • lisamichele says:

      You’re so welcome, graice, and I’m thrilled that you and the partygoers loved the cookies! There is a reason they don’t use vanilla, and you hit the nail on the head 🙂 Let me know how they turn out for you using the cornstarch!

  103. farrah says:

    i just want to ask, how much flour should i use, 2 3/4c or 3 1/2c? i’m a newbie in this and i’m not sure which to follow. how you could help. thanks so much!

    • lisamichele says:

      Hi farrah. Start with 2 3/4 cup and if the dough is still really sticky, slowly add more flour in 1/4 cup increments until you reach the feel of cookie dough in a tube that you buy in a supermarket – meaning you can handle it easily without it sticking all over your hands. Good luck and let me know how they turn out for you!

    • Whatever your current weather is like will dictate how much flour is “needed” … If it’s dry, then it won’t take as much as if it’s raining/humid …

      Also, if you leave out the nuts … It will need more flour …

      • lisamichele says:

        Thanks tiamat! farrah, that’s a good explanation as to why you add the remaing flour, up to 3 1/2 cups, in small inccrements. You probably won’t need 3 1/2 cups (unless you omit the nuts, as tiamat mentioned), but that’s put there as a limit for these cookies.

      • I think one time I made the cookies when it was raining … omitted the nuts … added 3 tablespoons of vanilla … and actually put 4 cups of flour in it … LOL

  104. Fariba Kerendi says:

    Lisa…any second attempts at the dark chocolate chip cookie?

  105. Rochelle says:

    These are the best cookies I have ever baked!! I used the cornstarch & they look just like theirs. They turned out being 1″ thick & they are amazing!! Thank you, thank you!!

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  107. jax says:

    hey, a few notes:

    for a really chewy cookie try using bread flour. bread flour has more gluten than AP flour which will give your cookie more structure. also, after creaming your butter and sugars, add your eggs and beat well to develop structure.

    Be careful not to overmix your dough after you add your flour or the cookie will be tough. i watched the video of them baking and although the sugars in the bowl look about equal, i’d probably say that the brown sugar is more like half the amount as the white, just because it wasnt packed and it tends to seem to have more volume than it actually has when lightly poured out.

    bake at 375 for a shorter time to get that slightly underbaked middle.

    -pastry chef friend

    • lisamichele says:

      Thank you, jax! No doubt that will help many. That said, I’m thinking they also cut pastry or cake flour into the cookie for a more tender crumb – preventing too much hardening upon cooling. Thoughts?

  108. Molly says:

    First of all–WONDERFUL recipe. If you’re considering trying this out, you will not be disappointed (unless you royally screw something up). I’ve never had a Levain cookie (much to my dismay) but regardless of how close these are to the original, this is literally the only chocolate chip recipe I consider good enough to be my go-to (I’m very particular). They are thick, not cakey, extremely chewy, and I just had one more than 24 hours after baking them and it was still delicious. I used half milk half semisweet chips, and I might go all milk next time. I followed the recipe exactly, using 3 cups of flour, and I yielded 13 massive cookies. Also–I calculated the calories for each cookie. Depending on your yield, each cookie will be about 560 calories. THEY’RE SO WORTH IT. MAKE THEM NOW.

    • lisamichele says:

      Molly, I’m so thrilled to hear you loved them! It’s comments like this that make my day, as nothing like a good chocolate chip cookie to brighten other’s days (and tummies lol). It may not be quite Levain’s, but it’s definitely a good cookie. Keep on enjoying, and please check back for my next Levain ‘attempt’. Who knows, maybe I’ll get an even better cookie that’s not quite ‘Levain’ LOL

  109. Joelen says:

    Well, I’m anxious to try this out! I’m attending a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cook Off and have chosen your copycat recipe to make. I’ve never had a Levain cookie but ever since watching the Throwndown episode, it’s been on my mind. I appreciate your effort in coming up with this copycat – I’ll be sure to post the results after my cookoff (which will be on April 3rd) 🙂

    • lisamichele says:

      Wow, Joelen..I’m so excited and hopeful that you win! Thing is, will the judges be fat and chewy chocolate chip cookie fans or thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie fans? LOL Also, this started as a Levain copycat, but since it’s not quite like Levain’s, especially in the super, duper rich category, it’s taken on a life of it’s own..which I’m kind of enjoying. Good luck to you, and I can’t wait to hear the results!! I’ve got my fingers crossed!

  110. Guest10100 says:

    not sure if this helps at all but i noticed that they had very many medallion all-purpose flour bags in their store today. have you ever tried this brand?

  111. lisamichele says:

    Thank you, Guest 🙂 If it’s AP flour, then I don’t think it would make much of a difference and any AP flour could be used. However, looking to see if they have cake or pastry flour would really make a difference.


    That said, I’ve heard that they now have a dry mix for the Levain cookies, so no one who works in either of their stores can ever decipher the dry ingredients and amounts of them. Very smart lol

  112. juliej says:

    Ok so I made the CC cookies (I had made the CC Peanut Butter chip cookies and they were excellent). I used an xtra egg yolk, KA flour, european butter, and all DB sugar, with 1/2 cup sugar. Also, I used 2 tsp cornstarch. They turned out awesome. I froze them, and I take them out to bake them a couple at a time. I have a convection oven and I bake them at 375 for 16 mins (rotating at the 8 min mark) I wondered if anyone has done them with and without the cornstarch and what the results were. Thanks! Julie

  113. Judy says:

    This recipe is really amazing. My family loves it. Thank you so much for all your hard work!!
    I’m wondering if it’s possible to get the cookies to be softer as opposed to chewy… I’m not a fan of crispy of the outside…..i’d love a uniform softness to the cookie. Would using half cake flour do the trick?

    • lisamichele says:


      Thank you so much! As for the flour, I’ve been wanting to try cutting in cake or pastry flour for a while now. I’d be interested to hear how ALL of either flours worked! Try all or half of either flour along with the AP flour. Looking forward to hearing how it turned out 🙂

  114. Judy says:

    Hi Lisa. My recent attempt was substituting 1/2 cup cake flour for the AP flour. The cookies seemed to be a bit softer but not there yet, so my next attempt will be to sub more cake flour and see if can get them to be softer.
    I did like the fact that there was no puff but rather a uniform thickness!

    • lisamichele says:

      Judy, any luck with subsequent testings w/ the cake flour?

      • Judy says:

        No, unfortunately i’ve not tried again just yet….the family is getting real sick of chocolate chip cookies (way too many trials) so i needed to take a break…LOL! I will try soon and post results. 🙂

  115. Fiora says:

    Hey Lisa,

    You mentioned in some of your previous comments that you were going to do some more experimenting. Have you had any more success, or have you not tried to make these again since March 2009 =P

    • lisamichele says:

      Hi Fiora 🙂 No, I’ve tried several different takes, but the original is still better. When I hit one, I’ll post it. My next experiment is pastry flour..all or cut in with AP flour. My experiments were interrupted by a knee injury, physical therapy etc. Usually try again every few months.

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  117. Gia says:

    We tried your ccw recipe and even though they are not Levain’s, my family loves them. Everyone in the family has tasted Levain’s by the way. I used all purpose flour, cornstarch, and both light and dark brown sugar. THey came out great!
    We also tried to make the Oatmeal Raisin. They didn’t come out like Levain’s. I think they use more flour than Oatmeal. Ours came out very oatmeally. I don’t know where I put that recipe that a blogger sent you. If you find it, could you please email it to me? If you get a hold of any info regarding their Oatmeal Raisin their recipe, please let me know.

    Thank you so much for the amazing ccw recipe that you worked so hard to perfect.!


    • lisamichele says:

      Gia, why am I not recalling any oatmeal raisin recipe posted here?

      • Gia says:

        ithink it was a recipe that a follower thought she would try out. I have to keep going over your blog. Maybe there were suggestions. None the less, I will keep reading and searching. I have not found the Betty Crocker Cookbook as of yet, so I will keep looking and I wiil definitely keep you posted. The recipe was not yours. It was a suggestion. Sorry for the confusion.


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  124. bobbie says:

    Hi Lisa, what’s the difference between the cc/walnut part 1 + 2? I found you in the search for Levain copycats and have been following along with all the interesting ideas.

    Also looking for there banana chocolate chip bread, which I haven’t seen anyone copy yet. thanks for your devotion to such a great cookie!

  125. Marcela Garcia says:

    Dear Lisa,
    thanks so much for your work on the Levain copycat recipe! I tried these cookies more than 10 years ago and still miss them! I was very excited to find your blog and finally! tried out the recipe yesterday (semi-sweet chips are hard to find in Germany where I live). I was disappointed because I read every single comment and tip, but they didn’t come out right. They were flat, and wouldn’t set, they stayed raw on the inside, no matter how much longer (at lower temperature) I left them in… I know from the discussions that there are a lot of factors, but I had the impression it was just too much sugar (also from the taste, just too sweet), and probably too little flour. I tried to stay on the lower amount of flour that you give, because that would make them stay tender, as you said. But maybe it was too little.
    I tried to go by weight, since I wasn’t sure I understood the scoop method for measuring, and for the sugars I used the conversion you mentioned in a comment, and for flour the weight that Judy mentioned. For sugar, that weight was indeed more than the 2 cups, but I figured the difference had to do with how packed the sugar could have been… My question now, if you could please help me: I still have more than half of the dough in the fridge. Is there any way I could fix that remaining dough? I thought at least of adding more flour, but could I add flour with a little bit of baking powder in it, or is it too late for that? For the flatness I could try freezing them (one ball is already in the freezer) but I think there really is just too much sugar in the dough…
    Also I wanted to ask you about the flour kinds. I live in Germany and they don’t sell flour according to the same categories you guys mention (bleached, unbleached, all-purpose, cake, bread, pastry…?) Apparently it is illegal to bleach flour! They use a number system, which apparently goes from 405 for very white flour that has little minerals, then 550 which is the regular kind, all-purpose, I guess, to higher and higher up to 1700 which is full wholemeal and has little gluten. So I guess the lowest number (“ash mass”, as I just found out) is the pastry or cake flour, but I’m not sure how high the “bread flour” would be that some people have mentioned here.
    Yesterday I used 550, all-purpose. But I also have 405 -cake flour- at home (maybe I should try adding this one?)
    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Marcela. I’m so sorry you’re having so many problems with the cookie. I don’t think it’s the sugars because everyone has had success with the current amounts. Is it possible the sugar in Germany is heavier? Also, I have a friend from Germany I can ask about the flours and what would be the best substitute. Give me a few days on this one..I have to wait until she gets back to me 🙂

      The scoops and sweep method is simple. Fluff your flour, then fill up the measuring cup by scooping it into the bin of flour, then level off with the handle of a knife or any utensil that’s flat and straight.

      • Marcela says:

        Dear Lisa, thanks for answering. Actually you’re right, it probably is the German brown sugar: it looks like regular sugar only slightly brown, not moist at all. So probably it is lighter than US brown sugar and because I measured weight instead of volume, I used too much. Darn! Question, then: since we don’t have “real” brown sugar over here, I want to try substituting brown sugar for molasses. How much should I use? (in combination with white sugar)
        Thanks again for all your help!

      • Lisa says:

        Oh, yeah, the German brown sugar is definitely lighter if it’s like a light brown granulated sugar, so you are using more of it in the cookie. To make an Americanized version of light brown sugar, add 2 tablespoons of dark molasses to 1 cup of white sugar and mix thoroughly. Brown sugar should pack into a cup tightly and stay together. I’ll find out tomorrow about the flours 🙂

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  127. Nina Rubin says:

    I don’t know if you’re still checking this blog or amending the recipe, but I made the cookies today. I used 1 3/4 Cups AP Flour and 1 Cup Bread flour. I also refrigerated the dough overnight and baked the next day for 15 minutes. They are marvelous. Thank you for the recipe and your hard work!

    • Lisa says:

      Yes, Nina..I am always checking, and I’m thrilled the cookies came out great for you! You are SO welcome – it’s comments like yours that make me smile 🙂 I’ll try your bread flour to AP flour ratio soon!

  128. Nicole Madison says:

    I chose this recipe out of numerous other copycat recipes as it had the most comments. I am so glad I did. Although I’ve never had a Levain cookie, you have described it as the kind of cookie I would love. I made these for the family tonight and got fantastic reviews. The only amendments I made were to try the 1 T of cornflour. I used 3 1/4 cups AP flour and once I shaped the cookies onto baking sheets, I refrigerated for about 3 hours. I also baked the first 10 minutes at 375 then about 4 more minutes at 350 (convection). This will forever be my go-to CC cookie recipe. Plain and simple it’s a fantastic recipe, Levain or not. Thank you for taking the time to put it out there!

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  130. Erika Hamilton says:

    I had never made cookies before (love to bake but not a huge fan of cookies) Since my husband is moving to another state next week for a job opportunity (and I can’t go with him just yet), I’m trying to spoil him a bit. All I have to say is that he was SOOOO happy with the result!!!!! he said it was the best cookie ever and felt so loved! Thanks for a great recipe that made my husband feel special 🙂

    • Lisa says: I said to another person who voiced similar sentiments about this cookie, what you just told me is what makes food blogging worth every second. I’m so glad your husband loved them and felt the love from you through them 🙂 Your comment made my day!

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  132. well done blog, bookmarked page, I’ll be back later.

  133. Anne says:

    what is AP flour

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  136. Vivian says:

    Hi Fellow Bakers!! after watching Bobbys Throwdown again…I dreamt about this cookie… I tried again..I doubled the recipe…because I have…I used 2 cups of bread flour and the rest ap flour…2 T cornstarch..although next time I will try 1 T..and I used mostly brown sugar with some white sugar…They came out great!!! Awesomeeee….Never tasted Levains but I can only imagine!! But Mine where great!!

  137. Vivian says:

    PS…I also used 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk..

  138. Holly says:

    wish I could duplicate the awesome ones I made only once by accident when I
    was in high school that were the best cookies ever. No one believed I made them myself! did not have enough white sugar and added more brown sugar
    but cannot remember exact amounts.

    • Lisa says:

      Holly…have you tried this recipe? You could take most chocolate chip cookie recipes and increase the brown sugar while decreasing the white sugar and see if you can replicate that perfect cookie 🙂

  139. Ronnie says:

    Are you any closer to a part 3?

  140. Kathleen says:

    Lisa – First off, THANK YOU for this recipe! This is the best BY FAR Levain knock off. I always follow your recipe to a T, but I did find a unique way to keep the cookies fat and not flatten as much during baking. I put my raw cookies in a 400 degree oven and then after 2 minutes, turn the temp down to 350. This creates a quick crust to hold the shape and does not burn the bottoms at all. (I use parchment paper). This idea came to me when I was cooking a roast beef. The initial higher temp creates a crust to keep in the beef juices. So I thought, maybe this would work with the cookies. And it did.

    • Lisa says:

      Kathleen, thank you for that amazing tip! It would make complete sense because the Levain ladies have stated different baking temperatures on different shows, so it leaves us completely perplexed. Maybe this could be part of their secret? That said..I’m so glad you like them and can’t wait to try your method! Thank you, again!

      • The Levain girls mention different baking times based on which oven they’re using … When it was the big multi-slot bread / pizza oven, it was like 500 or 800 degrees … When it’s the small (portable) convection oven, it’s 350 degrees (which is equivalent to about 375 in a regular oven) …

      • Lisa says:

        Thank you for that, T! Long time, no are you?

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  142. alexandria says:

    hi, i’ve read through your post and i see many comments from you dated back to 2009 saying within a couple of months you were going to do a copycat 3, im just wondering if you ever did it or do you have any modifications since your last attempt, i’ve never had a lavain cookie but i really wont to try your recipe so i kinda was waiting for attempt 3 so i can try it, also i live in louisiana so any modifications i need to do since i live in the south?

    • Lisa says:

      Hi, copycat 3 yet, but if you follow some of the suggestions in the comments, or the recipe by itself, you still get a delicious, fat, chewy chocolate chip cookie not unlike Levain’s. Copycat #3 will happen when I get ack to Levain and get some of more of their cookies to experiment with. 🙂

  143. judith says:

    Hi , how long does it refrigerate the cookies before baking? Thanks!!!

  144. Nina says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I made the cookies again. I had a really strange thing happen, though. Here’s the story: I quadrupled the recipe. At first, I had all the ingredients in my standing mixer, but they wouldn’t fit, so I took about half out and made it in two batches, then left it in the refrigerator for about 6 hours. When I baked about 20 of the cookies, they were perfect — thick, chewy, sort of puffy, great color (1.75 c ap flour, 1 c bread flour was the ratio). I did 350 degrees, 6-7 minutes per side (moved the tray around) in my friend’s oven. The remainder of the dough was left in the fridge overnight. Then, today, I balled up the remaining cookies and baked in my oven. My oven gets really hot because I have fire bricks in it (which usually is not a problem). Today, my cookies spread and flattened. They still tasted good, but DEFINITELY not like yesterday’s exceptional batch. I ended up lowering the temp to 325 and cooked a little longer, but they were still flat. Another difference was my cookie sheets. I have one volrath half sheet pan and the others are cheap. I was thinking that in the future, I will have to do single batches. What are your thoughts? Have you ever experienced such a wide array of differences in a matter of 24 hours? Could it have been the weather? I used the exact same dough!
    Thank you, Nina

    • Lisa says:

      Wow, Nina..and all of the above confirms what we all knew anyway…baking is a science! I think the weather played a role in the batch held in the fridge longer, flattening, because since it was held longer than the perfectly puffy cookies, that batch should have puffed even more. Was it humid out when you made the flat batch? Personally, I’ve never experienced such a fluctuation in my cookies, BUT, I’ve only made one batch at a time..have yet to double or quadruple a batch 🙂 If I did, I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them!

  145. April McDaniel says:

    I have made the older version a couple of times and they are awesome! My family loves them!

  146. April McDaniel says:

    I just made these & OMG! Think they are the best cookies I’ve ever tasted! Yum! Thanks for sharing!

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you, April..I’m thrilled you and your family love them! Some people like this version, others like the old version. Hopefully there will be a third version, one that finally nails Levain’s cookie perfectly!

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  148. Lisa says:

    Hi, would you consider publishing this recipe by weight? Also, I am looking forward to your third attempt!

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  150. Desirae says:

    I went to NYC last month and waited 45 min in line for a levain cookie. Came home and wished we had a levain bakery in dallas. So i started searching for a copycat recipe and came across yours on Pinterest. I baked them tonight and they are AMAZING!!!! THANK YOU for all the researching, trial and error!

    • Lisa says:

      You’re so welcome, Desirae! I still have more sleuthing and experimenting to do, eventually, but for now, I think both versions are pretty close! 🙂

  151. lisa g. says:

    Hi Lisa, I hope your feeling better! I don’t know if you have heard about this tip but I think I will use the method in making cookies as well as CCC and btw I want to make your Levain copycat CCC recipe some time. At the NielsenMassey Vanilla website theres this tip- To enhance the flavor intensity of cookies cream the vanilla into the butter and sugar first. This step encapsulates the vanilla and helps prevent flavor loss in low mass/low moiture/high heat cookies. This includes cookie baking at 350° so I think this tip is very helpful in maintaining flavor. Pure vanilla extract dont bake out like imitation extracts so thats another tip but you probably know this. Thanks for your CCC baking adventures for us to devour!

  152. Alex says:

    Love the recipe ideas. I’m confused which flour measurement you use though? Seems like one or the other would make quite a big difference.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi, Alex! Yes, estimating the amounts of flour is confusing and not the norm in cookie baking because baking is a science! However, in the case of this cookie, the dough needs to be the consistency of dough you find in those tubes of cookie dough at the supermarket. Not sticky, but moist, and on some days (humid and/or muggy), it takes a little more flour to get there. So, 2 3/4 cups is the base, but if it still feels sticky, add a little at a time until it doesn’t, but no more than 3 1/4 cups :). I hope this helps!

  153. ccarnes says:

    Any updates to the recipe that you have made? I’d like to see you change the actual recipe when you find something that works, so we don’t have to read thru all of this. I know, I’m lazy and demanding.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi, ccarnes. I’m sorry that I never got to it, but I’ve been sick for some time now, and can’t guarantee I will get to it soon. The updates are tips people email me, some who claim they have worked at Levain Bakery, so of course I want to share them with you all. That said, a friend brought me one the other night, and I’m beginning to think it might be just a giant tollhouse cookie! It was joked about, but nothing can be ruled out 🙂

      • lisa g. says:

        Hi Lisa. Im sorry to hear your still not feeling well. I will pray for you. I had a cute off-hand idea and thats to buy a big tube of Nestle CC cookie refridgerator dough, make them Levain size and see how they turn out in comparison. LOL. But seriously the only thing I came across online about Levains “secret” to making the cookies came from Pam and Connie themselves. One of them said “the secret is to use very high quality ingredients”. Its what I knew all along with many other peeps Im sure. Expensive upon expensive ingredients that wont enable home bakers to replicate their recipe exact in quality and bakery measurements. Unless of course you have money coming our ears we wont know it. Im sure their flour ratio is specifically blended for them as there is a flour manufactorer near them in New York that does such work for multitudes of bakeries. Its King Arthur Flour. Thats one secret. Another is European unsalted butter not found in reguar stores. Another is organic white & brown sugar and organic eggs direct from a farm daily to their store. With all this high cost Im sure the dont add any “extras” to make the cookies special such as corn starch. It wouldnt be needed. The baking time with temperature adjustments during the oven baking process at home is whats really key here, at least for me. Start with a very high oven temp for a few minutes for crisp exterior, then lower the temp to finish bsking for a soft gooey center. Levains oven dont require that. But its how a basic oven at home can. Btw, specific flour blends with different ratios would allow their cookies to be pulled from the oven at a certain time and achieve the texture their cookies have. Thats presto to me. Anybody agree or disagree. If I had all that going I wouldnt share it either. As for employees that worked there, don’t they sign papers staying that such recipes are kept secret on and out of the store. Besides, Connie and Pam make the dough and employees bake them.Tgc Lisa.

      • Lisa says:

        Hi, Lisa! Good to see you again! Thank you for this wealth of information. Unfortunately, I can’t bake right now, so I’ll have to live vicariously through you and others. I think you’re right along the lines of the top quality ingredients. I also think their super powerful bread ovens play a part to get the perfect crispy exterior/gooey interior. But, like I mentioned in a comment above, I’m beginning to wonder if the Levain cookie isn’t just a giant Tollhouse cookie, give or take a few measurements lol. Wouldn’t that be crazy/ I also believe all the hoopla about pastry or cake flour and/or adding cornstarch is just that, including my cold butter idea. I think they just make a really good, really big, basic chocolate chip cookie with top ingredients and perfect baking times in those incredible bread ovens.

      • lisa g. says:

        Hey Lisa! Your right. Cornstarch plays no role in CC cookie baking as it has nothing to add being its a thickener. If I want to use corn starch I will use it on chicken when I make chinese food. That why there’s baking powder and bsking soda. They probably use more baking powder for a big puffy cookie plus being portioned softball size helps as well. So why fridge the dough. If indeed its a Toll House knockoff with different measurements to perfect their cookie- then they are the biggest baking copycats and cheaters in the baking industry, and Mrs Wakefield will need to wake-up (bless her heart) and sue Levain. I mean look at the mess she created..its everywhere like flour out of its bag! No control at all. LOL.

      • Lisa says:

        Yep, I don’t think there is any secret to their cookie other than great ingredients, great ovens, and the love they put into creating them. When I’m better (knock wood), I’m going to whip up a batch of tollhouse (maybe futz with the measurements, like the brown sugar), then apply all the Levain chilling, baking (with my little, not powerful, oven) theories, and see what I come up with. 🙂 10 points for the Mrs. Wakefield reference!

  154. FernLaPlante says:

    I always remove or reduce the white sugar in cookies and replace with a package of vanilla instant pudding. The gelatin causes the cookies to be much puffier and gooey-er

  155. alyr says:

    That’s funny you were so indignant about the original guy you deleted for saying your recipe was just a Tollhouse then you came to that same conclusion a couple years later.

    Of course it is…the ingredients are literally the same. Only the technique varies. Heat, cold etc.

    I’m not searching for a chewy/wet center; I’m searching for a crispy FAT yellow CC cookie which is cooked all the way through…a recipe I had lost from the 1980’s. But considering a member posted that she saw them using General Mills HG 14% flour – I believe this may be true – a commercial flour sold in 50 lb bags. I also believe the higher heat theory because of time limitations and also the chilling of the dough.

    Anyway, this reminds me of cooking for Thanksgiving. By the time you sit down to eat you’re so sick of the food you don’t even want it anymore. LOL.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi, alyr! Yes, when you think about it, pretty much ALL chocolate chip cookies basically have the same ingredients (butter, brown sugar, white sugar, flour of some sort, leavening, salt, eggs and chocolate chips), but what varies is the amounts of each ingredient, whether or not the butter is melted, the amount of dough scooped per cookie, the baking time and temp etc, SO, technically, they all stem from the original Tollhouse cookie recipe!

      That said, as I mentioned, although I love an almost raw, gooey center, I always get a belly ache after more than one cookie of that nature, so I usually bake mine to ‘just chewy’, and appease others with pans of the former if they prefer. I’m sorry you lost your perfect CC cookie recipe. I’ve lost many, and continue to search. If you can recall where you found that recipe, email or call the magazine or paper you found it in so they can search their archives. As for the flour, I don’t doubt that plays a role, although, again, I don’t think the ingredients are anything other than stated above; just the quality types/brands they use.

      Finally, like I’ve said about Thanksgiving, the day after I need steak or pasta!! After all that cooking and two or three helpings, I’m DONE with it for a while!! Happy New Year!

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