I wouldn’t call this a Levain Bakery copycat recipe and it isn’t meant to be one. Instead, it’s a jumbo chocolate chip cookie with sea salt sprinkled on top. I’ve come across several variations of the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies. I don’t think they’re an urban legend like the Neiman Marcus cookie but there are several versions because the New York Times printed several versions over the years.
I know I’ve tried an earlier version and didn’t think there was anything special about them so I wondered what all the fuss was about. That earlier one was fine but it just seemed like a typical chocolate chip cookie. Remember, I have jaded taste buds though.
This version was pretty good. It did make for a nice big cookie with crisp edges and it caramelized nicely for a chewy texture in the middle. It’s not a cakey-cookie in terms of texture but was a chewy cookie-cookie texture. The sprinkles of sea salt, which the original authors insisted was a must to send this over the edge, was fine but I liked the cookie just as well without it. I’m not big on the salty-sweet with chocolate chip cookies as I prefer the flavor profile to be more focused on the chocolate and the brown sugar caramelization.
Any time you make big chocolate chip cookies, I advocate using either the mini chips to get more chocolate in every bite or use big chocolate chips or chunks as befitting a behemoth cookie. You can use the regular Tollhouse-sized chocolate chips if you had to but it isn’t as impressive. Go big or go mini but don’t go regular. It's hard to tell from the pictures but I actually did use Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips that are slightly bigger than Tollhouse. But the cookies were so big in size that they made the chips look smaller than they are. Guittard milk chocolate chips might've been a more size-fitting choice.
1 2/3 cups (8.5 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 lbs bittersweet or milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.
- Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds.
- Fold in chopped bittersweet chocolate. Press plastic wrap against dough and chill for 1 hour. Portion into golf-ball-size dough balls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 72 hours but at least for 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly space dough balls onto sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes then transfer cookies onto another rack to cool.