The Ultimate Cookie to Bring to Your Christmas Cookie Swap

Holiday Cookie Swap Ideas -- Levain Copycat Recipe
Holiday Cookie Swap Ideas -- Levain Copycat Recipe
Photos: Nathan Davison

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.

Holiday Cookie Swap Ideas -- Levain Copycat Recipe


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.

Holiday Cookie Swap Ideas -- Levain Copycat Recipe

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.

Nutcracker cookies by Nathan Davison

Just Like Levain's Chocolate Chip Cookie
Kitchen gadgets needed: Measuring cups, electric mixer, mixing bowl, spoonula, oven mitts, baking sheet, parchment paper, oven
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
  • 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)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.


3 Comment

  1. Jeremy says: Reply

    Nothing like cookies at Christmas … hope you have a most excellent holiday season!

  2. […] The next time you make cookies, try adding some in and feel your tastebuds throw a ticker-tape parade in your honor for putting something so delicious in your mouth. We’ll even give you a recipe (nay, THE recipe) to try, courtesy of our sister site, Collegiate Cook: […]

  3. […] Levain Bakery-Style Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies (with M&Ms!) […]

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