As you may know, we’re on an endless quest for the best chocolate chip cookie. It’s endless because the more we research, the more we realize just how widely tastes vary when it comes to constructing The Perfect Choco Chipper.
We’re fans of gooey, oversized-and-undercooked monsterpieces ourselves, which is why we had, had, HAD to try a knockoff recipe for Levain Bakery’s chocolate chip cookie. Tucked away on an unassuming street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, you may only notice Levain exists when you see a line curling out the door and around the sidewalk. Even in less than 40-degree weather. That’s how good these cookies are.
They’re roughly the size of a softball, with a slightly crispy exterior that gives way to a molten goo-ball, is-this-still-dough center. And it’s blissful. (And they’re $4 apiece and probably crack the 2,000-calorie mark, but we won’t delve into that.)
As I (Candace) read through The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book—yes, such a tome does exist, and are you really surprised that’s what I read in my spare time?—I stopped short when I saw a copycat recipe for Levain’s chocolatey delight.
We made them a bit smaller, so one batch makes about 16 cookies, just shy of 1 1/2 dozen; ditched the walnuts (bleh), upped the flour every so slightly to make up for it, and reduced the molasses just a teensy bit, since the flavor’s a bit strong. But whoa, what a difference that molasses makes. It may seem odd at first, until you think about how brown sugar is really just white sugar with molasses added to it. So basically, adding a little molasses just ups that brown sugar, caramel-like flavor that’s so critical to a chocolate chip cookie.
If you really want to blow people’s minds, use a mix of semisweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate chunks and M&Ms. It’s an unstoppable combination.
Need proof? Even the nutcrackers couldn’t resist ’em.
- 2 sticks butter (or 1 cup shortening + 4 tablespoons water), cold
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1½ tablespoons molasses (NOT black strap)
- 3¼ cups + 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup M&Ms)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cream together the butter, brown sugar and regular sugar, until the mixture is light and fluffy. (It should be moist looking, more like a batter than wet sand.) Beat in the eggs, then the molasses, until just combined.
- Slowly stir in the flour, salt and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chips and any other mix-ins you desire. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup (yup, that big) to scoop out the dough. Fill it about ¾ full, and place each dough ball about 2½" apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (No parchment paper? No problem. It just makes cleanup easier.)
- Cook for 9-11 minutes, or until outside is lightly golden. The cookies are so massive that if you take them out when they still look undercooked, they'll continue to cook a little as they cool and will be the perfect, chewy-gooey consistency.