Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie Clone

July 18, 2013

in Cookies,Desserts

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New York City’s Levain Bakery is famous for its outrageously decadent, gi-normous (6 oz. each!) cookies.  For several years now, bloggers have been trying to recreate these big, fat, insanely delicious cookies in their own kitchens.  Never one to shirk a recipe challenge, I, too, joined the hunt for recipes to rival Levain Bakery’s cookie offerings.

I’ve previously made and posted copycat recipes for three out of the quartet of cookies Levain offers—Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  To finish up the grand Levain cookie quest, today, I present to you a copycat version of their Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie.

Now, I could have taken my cloned version of Levain’s Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies and simply added peanut butter chips to it—but where would the fun in that be?  Too easy!  Instead, I found a reverse-engineered version that caught my attention with a nice approach to it by the blogger (a male for a change).  He used a combo of all-purpose and bread flours to duplicate the pastry flour we bloggers suspect that Levain Bakery uses.  After cutting the dough into large segments, he ripped each chunk of dough in half and rejoined them so that the ragged edges were exposed.  This helps to create the craggy surfaces you see on all of Levain’s cookies.

Shortly before I made this copycat version, I ordered a 4-cookie sampler of Levain’s cookies (two of each flavor).  When the cookies were delivered, I immediately whipped up a batch of this clone recipe.  I, thus, had the opportunity for a true side-by-side comparison between Levain’s original Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie and the recipe you see posted here.

Levain’s cookie weighed in at approximately 6 oz. whereas I scaled mine down to 4 oz. which I thought was plenteous and abundant.

The four-ounce size was big enough to allow for a variety of textural contrasts all within the same cookie.  It went from slightly crispy on the outside to gloriously chewy and gooey as you ate your way to the middle of this quarter-pound cookie.  The instructions that came with the Levain cookie delivery said to reheat the cookies for that just-baked freshness, and I did so to have a reasonable comparison.

I know, I know…you want to hear the results of the taste comparison.  Folks, I don’t think it was a fair fight.  When heated, the Levain cookie was quite delicious…but the hands down winner was the freshly baked copycat version below.  If you like the peanut butter-chocolate combo and if you like big, fat, chewy, crispy cookies, don’t waste another minute and get thee to the kitchen!

One year ago:  Shrimp Francesca

Two years ago:  Cold Zucchini Soup

Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie Clone

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour (do not substitute)
  • 5/8 cup high-quality cocoa powder (you can increase to 3/4 cup of cocoa for a slightly darker cookie)
  • 5/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 5/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup small chunks of good quality semisweet chocolate (I prefer Ghirardelli and used their chocolate chips)

Directions

Sift dry ingredients together; set aside.

Beat cold butter until pasty.  Add sugars and beat until incorporated.  Add vanilla and eggs. Beat just until ingredients are incorporated so as not to warm the butter.

Add dry ingredients and beat just until the flour mixture is incorporated.  Add peanut butter chips and semisweet chunks (or chips) and fold in until evenly distributed.

Roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter.  Cut into twelve 1.5 inch or so segments.

Rip each segment in half and conjoin the smooth ends, leaving the ragged ends exposed.  The whole point is to increase the raggedness of the surface area to maximize crunch in the final product.  This step is a common practice to produce a cookie top with a craggy surface and really does improve the cookie.

Place all the uncooked cookies on parchment paper and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Freeze for 1-2 hours.

Cook in center of oven for 17-18 minutes at 375o.  Adjust oven racks as needed to make sure the bottoms don’t burn.

Cookies are done when they are mostly firm on top (as opposed to doughy.  They will still be delicate.)  There should still be some darker spots here and there of not-quite-done cookie dough in most of the cookies.

Place on rack immediately.

Source:  A recipe from Knewton’s Blog

10 comments on “Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie Clone

  1. I am wondering how you ensure the cookie dough is moist enough. We made this recipe in Denver and found we needed to add water to the mix to avoid an incredibly dry batter. Any tips for something that may be better than a water alternative? Or, have others experienced a very dry dough as well?

  2. You mention AP flour and pastry flour up top, but the recipe calls for AP and bread flour. Is bread flour the one to use?

    • Mindy, you have sharp eyes–thanks for the catch! I misspoke initially but, thankfully, the recipe was correct all along. You are supposed to use a combo of all-purpose and bread flours as the recipe states. I have corrected my initial misstatement in the narrative.

  3. The first time I made these, I accidentally used 1 3/4 cup of butter. The cookies were great. On my second batch, I used 1 3/4 sticks of butter. The second batch did not turn out at all. They were a lot drier. Could your recipe be incorrect?

    • Kiki, the amount of butter is correct as stated in the recipe, 1 3/4 sticks (not 1 3/4 cups which would be 3 1/2 sticks, almost one pound of butter). Do you live in a high altitude? Another reader who lives in Denver mentioned experiencing a dry batter and having to add water. I haven’t run into that problem making these cookies. They always come out moist and fudgy. If you don’t have a problem using the higher amount of butter and like how the cookies come out, then I say go for it.

  4. Sarah P. on said:

    I went to Levain Bakery a few years ago and had these cookies— I’ve been dreaming about them ever since! This recipe is SPOT ON. If you measure the flour properly (spoon & sweep), the dough is not overly dry. Using the highest quality ingredients possible here is also key (good butter, farm eggs, Valhrona cocoa powder, real PB chips). Thanks so much for the great recipe, I LOVED the cookies!

    • Sarah, you made an excellent point re the spoon & sweep method for measuring flour which I routinely follow. It’s such second nature to me, but I realize that many people aren’t aware of it. Professional bakers always weigh rather than measure flour because it settles if not lightly spooned into a measuring cup before leveling it off. If you do it properly, you can tap on the side of it and you should see the level of flour fall below the top of the measuring cup as it settles. That lets you know you’ve measured properly. So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  5. Hi, this is super important that I pick the right copycat recipe since it is for my birthday. No one seems to realize that Levain bakery doesn’t use any chocolate chips in their peanut butter chip cookies. Why do yours have chocolate chips? Other copycats do as well. I called Levain and they DO not use chocolate chips at all in the peanut butter chip cookies. Could you please explain and also tell me if you tried other copycat recipes and if these truly are the closest to levain’s? I can’t afford the shipping. 4 cookies comes out to 62 bucks! Please let me know asap since my bday is this week.

    • You can easily leave the chocolate chips out without any harm to the recipe, but I thought they were fabulous as is. The other copycat recipe I used had the chocolate chips included, so I used them as well. I ordered the actual Levain cookie from their online store and did a comparison to my copycat version, and I thought mine were better!

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