These almost Levain bakery knockoff double dark chocolate cookies are insane. Insanely decadent. Insanely chocolate-y. Insanely delicious. I’m not sure I’ve met a cookie that defines my soul quite like this one.
If you just take a moment and gaze deeply and thoughtfully into the depths of that cookie pictured before you, there’s a really good chance you’ll see right into my soul. I think this may be THE cookie that defines me and adequately showcases my love of dark chocolate.
Obviously today’s cookie is not for the faint of heart. It’s big. It’s fat. It’s double dark chocolate. And it is insanely delicious.
I almost hesitated even throwing out “Levain knockoff” anywhere in this post for a couple of reasons.
First, I’ve never been to the famed Levain bakery to experience a real, live Levain cookie (I know, I know, a travesty…but is it? read on). Second, after reading hundreds of reviews of the actual Levain bakery and knockoff recipes online, I’m coming to realize the world is quite polarized in their opinion about Levain cookies.
Some of you love them and think there is no comparison. Others of you think cookies from the actual bakery are over-hyped. And still others feel like the Levain bakery cookeis and any knockoff recipes are an over-exuberant and unnecessary display of mounded cookie dough that doesn’t add much to the cookie world…and apparently makes you a little irritable.
My feelings clearly aren’t that strong. I see Levain cookies as thick, enormous, in-your-face cookies that have their place as long as they taste amazing.
Of course when I decided to finally make a Levain knockoff, I went straight for the ultra-chocolate number. And since the common theme with Levain cookies seems to be a relatively sturdy/crisp outer crust with a gooey middle, I went all out in accomplishing that.
You can see from my take on these double dark chocolate cookies that I took gooey to a whole new level. And we weren’t sad about that at all. Granted, my cookies could have used another 68 seconds or so in the oven, but we don’t mourn underbaked cookies around here. No, no. We throw them right in a bowl, warm as warm can be, and get out the ice cream.
These decadent cookies will most likely not pass any official Levain bakery test even if I did start out with that intention, but that’s ok, because they ended up being some of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever made, Levain tested and approved or not.
For dark chocolate lovers, these are the cookies to end all cookies. And also, rumor has it (ahem) that if you refrigerate the gooey, slightly underbaked cookies overnight, the chilled cookies are actually, almost, probably, most definitely straight up amazing straight out of the fridge. Think: lots of chilled brownie vibes going on in this cookie.
A few cookie notes
-You certainly don’t have to make these as obnoxiously big as I do in the recipe. If you make them smaller, just adjust the time as needed (and understand the gooey level may be minimized a bit)
-Cake flour? Do I have to use it? Even though it’s a bit of a pain, the cookies are better with it. The outer crust of the cookie is wafery crispy without the heaviness 100% all-purpose flour will give. But hey, I’m also not going to force you out to the store when you quite possibly haven’t even put pants on for the day, so here’s a quick and easy way to make cake flour yourself. And don’t stress if you use 100% all-purpose (just measure with a light hand and make sure to report back on results).
-Let’s talk about cocoa powder for a sec. I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa for this recipe. I highly recommend a dark/Dutch-process cocoa. I haven’t tried this recipe with regular, unsweetened cocoa. I’m sure it could be subbed in, but the cookies won’t be as dark and rich and they might be slightly more bitter tasting.
-Seriously, cold eggs and cold butter? Who are you? Just trust me on this one and go with it, k? It’s important that the butter and eggs be cold (counterintuitive to most cookie recipes, I know) for these large and in charge cookies to stay puffy. It takes a while for the butter and sugars to mix together, but it’ll happen. It’s also a reason a stand mixer is best for this recipe.
-Can I use milk chocolate? No and no. I’m glad we had this talk. However, peanut butter chips thrown in the batter would be goooooood.
10 big fat cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces), cold butter straight from the fridge cut into tablespoon-size pieces (I use salted butter)
- 1 cup (7.5 ounces) lightly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, cold from the refrigerator
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
- 1/2 cup (1.75 ounces) dark or Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder (see note)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cold butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Start the mixer on low (the butter will fly around a bit since it’s cold) and gradually increase to medium speed. Mix for 4-6 minutes until the mixture is creamy and very well-combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined and the batter is light in color, 2-3 minutes. Add the flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together (and so the dry ingredients don’t fly everywhere). When just a few dry streaks remain, add the chocolate chips or chunk and mix just until combined and there are no dry spots.
- Scoop very large balls of dough (I measured out about 4-4.25 ounces for each cookie) and place several inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. I did five cookies per sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes until set on the outside but still soft in the middle. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets to cool for 5-7 minutes before removing. These cookies are amazing warm (with ice cream), chilled, or at room temperature.
I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa for this recipe. I highly recommend a dark/Dutch-process cocoa. I haven’t tried this recipe with regular, unsweetened cocoa.
It’s important that the butter and eggs be cold (counterintuitive to most cookie recipes, I know). Just go with it. It takes a while for the butter and sugars to mix together, but it’ll happen. It’s also a reason a stand mixer is best for this recipe.
Here’s a quick tutorial on making your own cake flour. If using cup measures (instead of weighing the ingredients), don’t pack the flour (cake or all-purpose) into the measuring cup. Fluff the flour, scoop in the cup gently and level off.
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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by lots of knockoff recipes online)