Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

When it comes to food in New York City, I feel like I’ve done a pretty well for myself as a tourist over the years.  I’ve eaten bagels (hold the cream cheese… yuck) at Murray’s, waited in hours-long lines for brick oven pizza at Grimaldi’s, and slurped down frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity.  I’ve eaten my fair share of Magnolia Bakery banana pudding, Shake Shack frozen custard, and sidewalk pretzels (Sigmund’s are 3498x better though!).  But for whatever reason, trip after trip to New York, I had never made it to Levain Bakery, a bakery on Manhattan’s upper west side, which is known to bake some of the best (if not the best) cookies in the city.

Last weekend, while enjoying a great weekend with friends in the big apple, my friend mentioned she wanted a really good chocolate chip cookie.  While she started to Google best chocolate chip cookies in New York, I mentioned Levain Bakery, and as fate would have it her Google search led her to Levain Bakery. 🙂  In no time at all we found ourselves outside the teeny tiny bakery on the upper west side, eating cookies the size of a frisbee.   As soon as I took my first bite I knew I had to try to recreate the cookies at home!

Some quick Internet searching led me to a variety of “copy cat” recipes for Levain Bakery’s famous cookies, and after some adaptations, I had myself a chocolate chip walnut cookie that tastes very close to the real deal!

If you can’t tell, these cookies are monstrous in size.  I laughed when an entire batch of cookie dough yielded just a dozen cookies!  But it’s all worth it when you’re enjoying bite after bite of crispy edges and gooey centers.  Just make sure you sit down for a bit afterward… sugar. coma.

In comparing the cookies to Levain Bakery’s, the flavors are definitely close.  Texture wise, I think the Levain Bakery cookie is a bit more crispy than mine, but that also might have to do with the fact that the humidity in upstate New York has been about 99% for the past 72 hours. 🙂

[print_this]Levain Bakery Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

A “copy cat” version of New York City’s famous Levain Bakery chocolate chip walnut cookie, adapted from this recipe.

Makes 1 dozen very large cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, until mixed well.  Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch, mixing until blended.  Gradually add the flour, mixing until just blended.  Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts, ensuring they are evenly distributed in the cookie dough.

Divide the cookie dough into 12 equal parts.  Loosely form each part into a ball (does not need to be perfectly shaped), placing 6 cookies on each cookie sheet.  Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown (it is okay if the cookies are still a little gooey in the middle!).  Allow the cookies to cool 5 to 7 minutes before removing from the cookie sheets.[/print_this]

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67 thoughts on “Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies”

  1. OMG LIZ. I am freaking out. These cookies look SO PERFECTLY thick and soft, I am constantly on the hunt for that perfect THICK chocolate chip cookie. I must, must, must remake these. I am so glad you posted this recipe!!! Made my day. 🙂

    1. Oh, you’d love this recipe then, Sally! They are so thick, you just plop the mounds of dough right onto the pan!

  2. I can’t wait to make these. I’ve been obsessed with Levain Cookies since seeing them on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. But I’ve never been to NY and I’m allergic to chocolate, so they haven’t really been a possibility. I’m so excited to give these a try with white baking chips!

    1. I remember seeing them on TV too, I think they were on Throwdown with Bobby Flay too? Anyway, I bet you’ll love this recipe even if you swap the regular chocolate chips for white!

  3. 20 to 25 minute baking time? Wow…i would NEVER have thought to bake them that long but yes, these are giant cookies, aren’t they!

    Everyone raves about the Levain Bakery cookies and I either need to try the real thing or make the copycat. You did an AMAZING job on the recreation!!!!

    1. Haha, definitely the LONGEST that I’ve ever baked a cookie! A cake can almost cook itself in that time! Try the copycat recipe, but if you’re every in NYC, definitely try the real deal… it’s insane, and the aroma of the bakery alone is worth the trip inside. 😉

      1. Have you ever tried the Cooks Illustrated recipe? Would love to hear your take on the two. I love the C.I. recipe and pretty much have found my perfect cookie…but….I never say never…. 🙂

      2. I haven’t tried that recipe, but if you say it’s your all time favorite, I obviously have to give it a try!

  4. I was obsessed with their cookies ever since I saw them on Best Thing I Ever Ate. When I finally made it to New York, it was at the top of my list of things to eat. My mom & I walked 28 blocks (one way) from our hotel get get these babies. They were SO GOOD we made the trip again a few days later. YUMMY!

    1. They are pretty close to the real deal — but I don’t think anything will ever actually replace the real Levain Bakery!

  5. For those of you who think that 25 minutes is way too long, I baked them in a convection oven for 9 min. 10 sec. Then, I let them sit for an hour before trying one. This let the soft center form a bit. It’s not the Levain, but it’s a bit crispy on outsides like theirs, and it is one good homemade chocolate chip cookie!

  6. oops, forgot to say that I don’t make the huge ones…i get about 20 mid size….so i don’t know if 9 min 10 sec will be the correct time for the large ones

    1. Hi Ann, thank you for the feedback. Mine definitely weren’t dry and stiff, but I’m sorry that yours were! I actually have a chocolate chip cookie recipe up my sleeve for later this week, and I can assure you’re they’re not dry at all!

  7. I’m a cookie freak and Levain devotee, and have tried a number of copycat recipes. Most don’t come even close to recreating the super-thickness of the Levain cookie. This recipe was the first I ever tried that nailed it. I was alarmed that the balls of dough seemed not to melt at all, but it was really that they were rising as they melted. I may have overcooked them a little because they came out a little bread-like and not as gooey as hoped. I also used dark brown sugar because that was what I had on hand — not sure what side effect that might have caused.

    1. Hi Alex, I’m a fellow cookie freak 😉 I’m glad this recipe was able to come close! As for the dark vs. light brown sugar, I don’t think it makes a huge difference with the texture — it’s typically a flavor difference. But hey, it’s worth a shot!

  8. I have travelled down the blog rabbit hole and happened upon your site… not sure how exactly! but love that you tried this recipe too! I’m not sure where I got my copy, but man is it a great cookie!! My favorite ever. Can’t wait to visit the actual bakery!!

    1. Glad you found my blog, Patti! And yes, you need to visit Levain Bakery in person! It is a tiny little bakery, which means the second you walk inside, you’re overwhelmed with an amazingly sweet aroma. 🙂

  9. I just made these…and they are TO. DIE. FOR. I ended up using a little less flour (just 3 cups) because the dough seemed super sticky/dry, and it made no difference. I had ONE and I’m laying on the couch with my sister in a sugar coma. Thank you thank you thank you for this awesome recipe!

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed the cookies as much as I did, and yes, one is definitely enough to put you in a sugar coma. 😉

  10. Thanks Liz for thr recipe, I seem to be doing something wrong. I put parchment paper on the cookie sheet as instructed but my oven starts to smoke. So I took it out and tried to bake without it. Im actually baking right now. Will let you know the outcome. Any advise on the smoking.

    1. Hmm, smoking parchment paper isn’t something I’ve ever experienced! I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened to waxed paper, since that can’t handle the heat of the oven very well. But parchment paper, you’ve got me puzzled!

  11. You where right Liz,I mistakenly used wax paper. Anyway, I removed the wax paper and continued baking. Cookies came out great ♥ Thanks for the advise and recipe….

  12. Holy Moly! If you have recreated the recipe for hands-down the BEST chocolate chip cookie in the world, then you are my new hero! We stumbled upon them on our last trip to NYC and I have been dreaming about them ever since. My sweet husband even had some delivered to us (via NYC friends) here to TN a couple of weeks ago. I am going to try them this weekend! Life to the full, Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa – first, you are so lucky to have had Levain Bakery cookies shipped to you! They are worth the trip to NYC alone, don’t you think? Anyhow, I do think the cookies come *close* to Levain’s, however I’d never go so far as to say they’re as good or identical to the real deal. That said, you should definitely give the recipe a try. 🙂

  13. my cookies are coming out cakey any advice anyone? i followed the recipe exactly i remember the levian ones were abit crunchier and chewier

    1. Hi Sara – I’m not sure why your cookies would be coming out cakey, but perhaps try using a bit less flour (next time, as I am guessing you are already finished making this batch!). Baking can be finnicky in terms of measurement, so sometimes you have to play around a bit. I’m sorry they didn’t come out the way you expected!

  14. Thank you for your copy cat recipe! I made them this last weekend, and they were glorious. I received rave reviews, though my boyfriend and I both agree it would be difficult to find a perfect replacement for the real deal 🙂 As for people getting dry/cakey cookies, in addition to using a teensy bit less flour, make sure to also pack your brown sugar! There’s a lot of moisture (and delicious flavor) in there. Oven temperatures can also be quite volatile, so maybe check your cookies at 23 min to avoid over-baking if your oven runs hot. Thanks again!

    1. Oh, you’re very welcome. 🙂 I agree, it’s near impossible to replicate the real thing, but it’s good to have a backup recipe for when we can’t get to Levain Bakery, right? 🙂 And thanks for leaving the tips for the others who have run into some issues!

  15. Thanks so much for this yummy recipe!! I baked these today and they were utterly divine. I found they were just right after about 17 minutes, with a lovely bite and a soft, gooey centre. Oh, and I also added a bit of vanilla sugar to the recipe 🙂 My friend is coming over tomorrow and I can’t wait for her to try them. I just hope I won’t work my way through them before she gets here – ha!

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Lou! I’ve never had vanilla sugar, sounds like a great add though! Good luck not eating all of the cookies before tomorrow. 😉

  16. Hi there- can these be hand mixed or is an electric mixer essential to the recipe? I want to make these cookies this weekend but don’t have an electric mixer!

    1. They can definitely be hand mixed! Most of my recipes can either be mixed by electric mixer or hand. I frequently just use my hands, less clean up!

  17. Could I make these slightly smaller using a scooper? Will I need to cook them on 325* I prefer to bake at that temperature with my other cookie recipe I’m in the south.

    1. Of course, you can make them smaller! If you typically bake at 325 degrees I’m sure that would work fine – just keep an eye on them until they seem done!

      1. So I used mostly light brown sugar then 1/4 cup dark and 1/4 white and used mixed chips. I made them smaller and they came out kind of soft and bread like so I put it in the fridge and baked one big one on 350 and took it when it had slightly wet looking a bit in the center. I let it cool for about a minute then slid it off the parchment to a cooling rack then off the parchment after it set a little more. It was deliciously soft, thick, gooey, and not too sweet with a slight crisp! Yummy!

      2. Glad you enjoyed the recipe — the big cookie sounds delicious, I love gooey cookies! Thanks for sharing your recipe adjustments, too.

  18. I just baked. I don’t like at all. I am a pastry chef. So I know how to bake. But I am always looking for something new. I having been using Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie recipe and it is the best I hv ever eaten. But I thought, why not give this a try.. Forget it!!!! This does not compare to Jacque’s!! I use only the best ingredients. I use Belgium chocolate. These look like hockey pucks. I feel too much flour. If I were any of u, I wud try Jacques Torres and see what a great chocolate chip cookie should taste like. Remember not to over bake. I bake mine at 18 minutes at 350 degrees. But every oven is different.

    1. Hi Lynn – Thanks for the feedback. I’m sorry you weren’t happy with this recipe, but I appreciate you letting me know. I’ve never tried the Jacques Torres recipe before but perhaps I should!

      1. Oh god, there is no comparison!!! Trust me. I did look at other blogs and other recipes for this cookie and they do use less flour. The 3 1/4 cups is just way too much. The Food Network looks best to me. But as far as I am concerned I am sticking with Jacques. I also don’t like nuts in my cookie. I am the same with my brownies. What can I say? I am a purist. But I went to Cordon Bleu and got my diploma in Patisserie. So I kind of know what I am doing. Jacques cookie uses cake flour and bread flour and you have to let it sit in the re fridge for at least 24 hours. I weigh out mine at 3.5 oz. they really are fabulous. Use the large disks of chocolate. That is the key!!!! And don’t over bake:)

  19. Pingback: The Virtual Binge
  20. Liz,
    AWESOME COOKIES! By far the best I have ever had. I made a batch and rolled the dough into the size of a racquet ball / tennis ball (6 oz) and froze them over night. I would pull one or two out of the freezer and bake them (about 22 minutes in my oven) and just followed your instruction. I believe the corn starch and freezing the dough was key as they had a slight crisp on the outside and a nice chew on the inside. By the way, like Lynn above, I consider myself a purist, not becuase of a culinary degree but rather the fact I weigh 325 lbs have eaten my share of cookies and feel I know what I am talking about. Again, thank you for the recipe.

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