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Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever.

If any of you watch Bobby Flay’s Throw Down show, you most likely have seen the Chocolate Chip cookie episode. And if you have, you were also drooling over the amazing Levain Chocolate Chip cookies! You could almost taste how decadent, gooey, and wonderful they were, not to mention going into a sugar coma by the mere size of these cookies. I was devasted after watching the episode to learn that Levain Bakery did not release their cookie recipe! Don’t they realize we can’t all just hop on a plane and head to New York for their cookies? Yes, I was heartbroken. Thankfully, another blogger Lisa Michele figured out the recipe, or at least close enough for my liking. I’ve never had the Levain cookies, so I can’t know for sure. But I do know I am addicted to these cookies. I crave them and make them several times a month. When people have them for the first time, they too become addicted!
I haven’t modified the recipe much, but have put a couple spins on it. One, I love to use turbinado sugar. It gives the cookies a slight crunch. Very slight, but oh so delicious. Second, I always use vanilla, which is suggested by Lisa Michele, but the Levain bakery insists that they do not need vanilla. And, when I’m feeling up to it, I like to add toasted pecans. The chocolate and pecans really go well together. As if we needed another reason to love these cookies! And cold butter is a must! The butter should be your very last step.
Good chocolate is absolutely essential here. Nestle and Hershey’s or any generic brand will do disservice to these cookies. I use Guittard (52%), but Callebaut or even Guiradelli’s will work. Just as long as it is good quality chocolate. A trick to knowing if it is decent chocolate: the first ingredient should be: (shocking!) cocoa! Not sugar or anything else, but cocoa. ‘Nuf said. I also add the vanilla during the creaming stage – you get more vanilla flavor that way!
I usually make them small, using a tablespoon scoop, but it is fun to make them big once in a while! It’s a great treat. I also bake them until they are slightly golden on top, which makes them crispy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.
These cookies also freeze very well. I will sometimes make the dough and just bake a couple of cookies, then freeze the rest of the dough. That way I’m not eating too many cookies!

Thank you, Lisa Michele and Levain Bakery!

And now, the recipe

  • 2 sticks ‘cold and cubed’ unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar – not packed.
  • 1 tablespoon good vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups AP flour – Spoon and Sweep method.I usually stick with 3 1/4 cup.
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon baking powder (just under 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (I use Guittard)
  • 1 cup pecans (Toast for more flavor)
DirectionsPreheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars and vanilla until well blended and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time.. and beat until well incorporated.
2. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chunks and nuts, or add to the mixer at teh very end, careful not to overmix.
3. Finish mixing chocolate and nuts with a wooden spoon.
4. Using a scoop (size is your preference), place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper or silpat and bake in the preheated oven until very lightly browned, taking care not to overbake. Let cool on rack and store what you don’t immediately eat, in an airtight container. Microwave for a few seconds to make them warm and gooey again!


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