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 cake 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
- 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)
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