This photo of this cookie up close is seriously heavenly to me. Sigh! What a fun blog to get for my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month. What blog is that, you might ask? If you know anything about Levain Bakery’s cookies in NYC, you’ll know just whose blog I’m talking about. It’s none other than the queen of Levain Bakery Copycat cookies, Lisa, from Parsley, Sage & Sweet. I’ve been following (not literally following around like stalking, hehe) Lisa (okay, her blog) for years, probably since not long after I started mine in February of 2008. I just think she has the most amazing photos, delicious looking food, and tells the best stories! (Write a book, Girl!)
Six ounces of chocolate chip cookie goodness! (I made one in the Levain Bakery traditional six ounce size.)
You MUST check out her blog if you never have. You’ll droll, be amazed at what she does with recipes, and you’ll laugh. What better way is there to spend your time on the internet?
I spent all this last month since getting my assignment looking back through Lisa's blog and wanting to make something really special. On top of that, I was sick, we went out of town, and I just knew I wouldn’t be able to do any of her recipes all that much justice. Have I mentioned that you must go look at what I'm talking about?
Lisa has been cooking and baking along with the Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers groups for years. She makes some amazing looking French macarons. She bakes bread and makes savory dishes and delightful sweets. What I love is that she never just makes a recipe as written, she makes them all her own and she owns it. You need to check out her Recipe Index, then stop by each recipe post and go crazy and drool and be jealous that you didn’t get to taste her food. ;) After that, pick something and go make it.
I have been dreaming of this Butterscotch Peach Cobbler since she posted it a few months back. I was delighted to see/remember that she and I have made some of the same recipes before—including Best Ever Brownies from Baking With Julia, which I made for TWD and she made the same Chocolate Zucchini Cake I’d also made around about the same time in 2009. Oh, there’s more—her blog offers much, much more.
Some already know, and those who do not, need to know that I recently announced some health issues new in my life. I have MS (multiple sclerosis). This is a nasty, dreaded disease that my family knows all-too-well. My older sister died in 1999 at the age 33 from MS. It was horrible to her life and body. After some issues over the last few years, I have been diagnosed with MS as well. (My maternal grandmother also died from the then much-less-known-about MS in 1947 at the age of 24 when my mother was only 2 years old.) And they say MS isn’t hereditary. Anyway, my case of it is totally different from what my sister went through and I’m now 43. AND I plan to fight it with everything I’ve got. Why must I tell you this? It’s because I have decided to make some dietary changes in my life. I am going gluten free, refined sugar free and processed foods free. We’ll see how long I keep with the gluten free, though even if I do ever change that, I plan to stick with whole grain. My doctor advised me to not go all crazy with any particular diet, to just eat a good, healthy balanced diet.
Never fear or fret and certainly don’t stop reading my blog—I still plan to blog delicious things I make for my family and friends. I also plan to share some of the new recipes I discover with those healthier alternatives as well. The best of both worlds. So, as much as I was aching to make Lisa’s Butterscotch Peach Cobbler and many other things she’s posted, I went with something simple and truthfully probably my favorite thing she’s ever posted--the Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies. You might be thinking—“another chocolate chip cookie, big whoopteedo”. What you must know is this New York City bakery cookie is probably my favorite cookie and if you’ve never had one, you just don’t really understand. It is delicious. It stands on its own, in its own league of chocolate chip cookies. Oh, there are many other recipes for the chocolate chip cookie that I love, my go-to favorite chocolate chip cookie, adapted from Jacques Torres/NY Times that everyone I make them for raves about to name one.
But this big, fat gooey Levain Bakery cookie is different. I’ve loved Lisa ever since she cloned this cookie the best I’ve ever tried—and back when my infatuation with this cookie began (2008), I tried many copycat recipes and have stuck with hers since then. I actually haven’t made the cookie for a while. Why? I don’t know, but now I really wish I would have because this became the biggest test of my will power when I made them just last week for this post—and I didn’t taste even the slightest bit of dough or cookie because of the new changes I’m making in my diet. I knew if I even tasted part of one, I’d want to eat the whole thing.
What is nice to know is that if I do ever decide to splurge and have a cookie, it won’t kill me. I know I’ll be just fine. Just for now, I am sticking with and going strong on the gluten free/sugar free road. So yes, I say a big SIGH over this cookie. The real Levain cookies are six ounces! These that I’ve made, just as Lisa's recipe suggests are only a mere four ounces. ;) I’m not going to post the recipe—go get it on the links I’ve left here from Lisa's blog (oh, look, there’s another link!). She suggested using the best quality chocolate chips and that she’d heard Levain uses Guittard chocolate—so that is what I used—Guittard semi sweet chocolate chips. She also added a note that someone heard Levain freezes their ready-t0-bake cookie dough mounds for a short time. So I did that, too. I baked them for 18 minutes as Lisa does. Once I took them out of the freezer, I let them sit for a while, maybe 30 minutes before I baked them. You don’t have to let them freeze completely, just enough to really give them a good chill. It just worked out for my baking that I had them in the freezer until the next day, you can just freeze the mounds of dough for 30-60 minutes, then put them on a baking sheet and bake them. And last, but not least, if you’ve made these and they have sat in an airtight container, or are no longer still just a little warm from the oven, you really should reheat them ever-so-slightly to get the true Levain texture and taste.
This copycat looks mighty similar to the real thing (photo below)! The taste and texture is right on, too.
You will not be sorry to give these best-ever Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies a try. Lisa also has on this same post her copycat version of Levain’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies, too. If you are a chocolate and peanut butter lover, you’ll love these!
Check this out—here I am, sitting on the bench outside of Levain Bakery in November 2008 with a cookie in my hands. Funny that after sending a copy of this photo to Levain years ago, they like it so much they have posted it on Pinterest and in articles that rave about their cookies. My hands are famous. ;)
Actual Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie, Nov. 2008
Someday I’ll get back to New York City again and I’ll definitely splurge on one of the real Levain cookies. I’m sure that someday I’ll even splurge on these great copycat cookies as well. For now, I was actually pretty content to just make them again, drool a little over them and share them with more family and friends. I’ll for sure be back to drooling over Lisa's blog, Parsley, Sage & Sweet again, too. And you must, as well. Go now.