Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Levain Bakery copycat #10 - Bustle

Levain Bakery copycat #10 - made dough December 13, 2016 from Bustle
Wait! Don't go on that New Year's resolution diet yet! I'm blogging out of order and hurrying up to get this post up before everyone's good intentions to eat healthy kick in. Because you'll want one last sugar gasp, right? Something to tide you over before you start eating more vegetables, drinking more water, hauling your post-holiday butt to the gym, and counting your calories. Trust me, this is last-supper worthy.
You know I've been obsessed with Levain Bakery cookies. I've now been to the actual Levain Bakery in New York (more to come on that in a future post) and know what the real thing tastes like. But I've also tried so many copycats (you can see I'm now numbering them so I can keep track) that I've decided I'm not actually trying to recreate the actual Levain Bakery cookie. As scrumptious as those are, let's not kid ourselves. I just want to make big, thick, chewy, equally scrumptious cookies. Because the copycats haven't really been coming that close to the real deal of Levain cookies. But for the most part, they've been really, really good.
And I'm happy to tell you that this one, copycat #10, is the best one so far. Seriously. Not necessarily the most authentic to Levain but it doesn't matter because it's that good. There's room in my heart for more than one favorite chocolate chip cookie. My love is boundless and unconditional. In fact, this one may knock off some of my earlier favorites as well. I know, my love is fickle as well as boundless and unconditional. Yours will be too when you make this.
The main thing that's a pain in the butt is, if you want to be authentic to the Levain Bakery process, apparently you should mix this by hand. Erk. I have a mixer for a reason. I don't do hand work. Not just because it doesn't seem as sanitary even though I fanatically scrub/wash my hands clean. But also because I don't like that dough sticking to my fingers and having to be washed off when it could conceivably remain in the bowl and later be made into cookies instead of washing down the drain. I can't scrape my hands clean of dough as well as I can a mixing bowl. #firstworldproblems But I was faithful, at least the first time, and followed the recipe's instructions to get my hands in on the mixing action.
The other kinda pain-in-the-butt is, unlike other recipes that use the entire egg, this one measures the egg by tablespoon. You ever try measuring goopy egg by tablespoon? Pain in those soon-to-be-firm butt cheeks. But soldier on because this cookie is worth not only that first world problem but it's also worth penance time in the gym to burn those cookie calories off. ETA: Forgot to mention, one of the reasons you almost need to mix by hand is the dough seems rather dry at first. The warmth from your hands will help bind it together. You can add up to 1 extra tablespoon of egg if you can't get it to bind, especially after you've add the chips but don't add too much. This isn't a sticky dough.
This is the kind of cookie you definitely don't want to overbake or even fully bake or you won't get the soft, chewy, moist texture you see here. It's like baked cookie dough but better than cookie dough and better than a "normal" chocolate chip cookie. I don't know why I like it so much but you know when my jaded taste buds clap, this is a cookie worth making.
This cookie also breaks my "wait 10 minutes out of the oven" rule. As in, you actually want to cool it almost completely before you eat it. I know, talk about test of willpower. But the wait will be worth it. If you eat it while it's too warm, it'll be too mushy. Optimal texture is at room temperature or, if you're just dying for a nibble, at least lukewarm. Not hot, not warm - control yourself. You'll thank me later even if your waistband doesn't.
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (I left them out)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon eggs (add up to no more than 1 tablespoon if your dough isn't sticky enough)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, sliced into cold one-inch pieces
2 3/4 cups + 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Guittard chocolate chips
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and walnuts if using. 
  2. Add eggs, vanilla and butter to the mixture. Knead with your hands to incorporate.
  3. Add flour and chocolate chips to the mixture. Continue mixing together with your hands until it forms a thick dough. 
  4. Portion the dough into 6 to 8 large dough balls. Gently flatten slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly space chilled dough balls. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

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