Friday, March 17, 2017

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies - Levain Bakery copycat #4 from Parsley Sage Sweet

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies - Levain Bakery copycat #4, made dough on February 24, 2017, adapted from Parsley Sage Sweet
Baking time just after middles are barely cooked
My saga to find a decent copycat of Levain Bakery's chocolate chocolate chip cookie continues. Although I'm finding that I need to space out the experiments a bit more than when I tried out chocolate chip cookie copycats. Mostly because I can't handle too much of the richness of the chocolate. At least if the cookie is done right. I need a longer break between getting my chocolate quotient. Which is fine because it does make me appreciate each new attempt a little more.
Took out a little sooner than normal

The good news is, while this still doesn't quite make it, it's closer than the others I've tried so far. Partly because I'm learning what to adapt and adjust/look for in a copycat recipe, especially regarding baking times, and partly because I think this recipe is genuinely closer.

What I learned with the previous attempts is, to replicate the Levain cookie with any accuracy, you can't make smooth cookie dough balls and bake as is. You either need to glop the dough mounds by hand and leave the rough, jagged exterior to bake as is or, if you make dough balls, break them in half and smush the rounded sides together to form the middle and leave the "broken halves" to form the outside, also garnering a more craggy appearance. That will help the craggy edges bake a little more and crisp up while the rest of the inner cookie remains fudgy dense.
Baked a little longer, cooled to just past lukewarm

For this recipe, you really need to underbake to get the fudgy texture. I tried a couple of baking times and the one that was the best at room temperature is when I took out the cookies even though the middles were just slightly still "wet looking". Usually I pounce and take them out a bare few seconds after the middles are no longer raw or shiny looking in the middle. For best results, I took these out a bare few seconds right before it seemed like they were past that stage. I don't have time estimates on the "perfect" time to take them out since all ovens are different plus it depends on how big you make your cookie mounds. But be sure to use a light-colored, thick baking sheet (USA pans are my favorite) and line with parchment paper.
Baked a little less time, cooled for several hours
This didn't maintain the crisp-crunchy exterior of a true Levain cookie but it's the closest one so far in terms of the dense interior. I'm starting to think a key component of that "crust" is to bake at high heat just long enough to set the outside but short enough to keep the inside fudgy, similar to baking bread where you have a crusty outside and a mealy inside. I care more about the inside but will keep experimenting with the outside.
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups chocolate chips
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until well-blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Beat in cocoa powder.
  2. Mix in flour, salt and baking powder until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Divide dough into 4-ounce portions, cover and chill for several hours or overnight. 
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly space dough portions. Bake 16-20 minutes or until middles are no longer raw and edges are set. Remove from oven and let cookies cool completely on wire rack.


  1. This sounds pretty good to me. One question. The ingredients list says cold butter cut in tablespoons. The instructions make it sound line the butter should be room temp. Why cold?



    1. The butter warms up as you beat it. If you start off with room temperature butter, it may get too warm as you beat in the other ingredients, in which case, your dough could become too soft or greasy. If you have a stand mixer, it's easier/better to start off with cold butter. You can beat it creamy and mix with the other ingredients before it gets too warm.