July 2017: Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

ABOUT LEVAIN BAKERY

So…. I had never heard of this place and I’ve even been to New York City before (only once though). I obviously didn’t do my research before that trip because this is a place that I would have 100% visited prior to going gluten free so I could partake in all the beautiful cookies and baked goods that they make.

Recently, someone that I follow on Instagram (@sara_ourbestbites) took her family to the big apple and this was a must on their “to do” list.  She posted all of the cookies that they purchased and I have to say folks, it made me drool.  These cookies are extremely large and soft.  It’s almost like they wanted the middle to be cookie dough…. but not.  It’s super hard to explain but I do know that they try to intentionally under bake them so the center is gooey.

Levain Bakery was created by two women who ran a lot and need extra calories to keep them going (SAY WHAT!?!?!?!).  So they set out to create the greatest chocolate chip cookie ever.  Once they did they said, “heck we should open a bakery and sell these guys!” and the rest was history.  You can visit their site at levainbakery.com and order their gluten filled versions that will be shipped directly to your door.

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LET’S MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE

Of course when I saw these delicious, ooey – gooey cookies on Instagram I just had to figure out how to make them gluten free.  I mean, why do we have to miss out? I have to say, it actually was pretty easy to find a recipe to convert.  Regulating my oven on the other hand wasn’t so great but more about that later.

Of course Levain doesn’t publish their recipe online though if you go to YouTube you can find a video of the owners making a batch (which is sort of helpful and a lot entertaining).  They show all of the ingredients but do not go into detail.  That left me to my pal Pinterest.

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FINDING A LEVAIN COPY CAT RECIPE

I fired up my trusty sidekick, Pinterest, and started searching for Levain copy cat cookie recipes.  There were a ton out there and they covered the flavor gamut (OMG = dark chocolate peanut butter chip!!!) but I wanted to stick to the original chocolate chip walnut. Of course every recipe I found was full of gluten but that’s ok,  I just need a tiny bit of a starting point in order to convert the recipe over to a gluten free one.

I settled on a recipe from the blog A Bountiful Kitchen.  This lady seemed just as excited as I was into recreating these buddies and her original recipe contains tons of details & tips that you must go read before starting: A Bountiful Kitchen Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The best tip on the blog noted above is that if you want to sub out the walnuts you must replace it with something else or the recipe WILL flop.  I only tested it with the walnuts included in the recipe so if you decide to take them out… you are on your own – please try her tips to make it work.  I will not be responsible for how they turn out.  I’m glad we had this talk.

One last thing before we jump into the recipe…. these cookies are GIGANTIC.  They are meant to be that way.  The hand model in the picture below on the left is my lovely twelve year old daughter. Granted she does have small-ish hands but seriously, HUGE cookies are coming your way if you decide to make this recipe!  I put a picture of my not so small hand (on the right) with a cookie in it next to her picture so you can at least get a gist of the size of these things….  You will not be disappointed if you make some and you can probably feed your entire neighborhood with one batch!

THE GLUTEN FREE LEVAIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE WALNUT RECIPE

Adapted from the recipe on the blog A Bountiful Kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter cut into tablespoons (I always use salted!!)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 385g gluten free flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups walnut halves coarse chopped (I like them a bit smaller than halves)
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

 

*I used cup4cup for this recipe because it is more like cake flour than other gluten free flours.

Instructions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees and set rack in middle of oven.
  2. Place butter into bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment turn it on low.
  3. Add the sugars and beat butter until smooth on medium speed. Mix until the butter pieces are completely blended with the sugar and is no longer visible in pieces.
  4. Add the eggs and beat on medium just until incorporated with butter and sugars.
  5. Turn the mixer off. Add the gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients on low until everything is mixed together.
  6. Pour the walnuts into the batter all at once. Mix them in on low (alternative is to hand mix these in).
  7. Pour the chocolate chips into the batter and mix them in on low (alternative is the hand mix these in.)
  8. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Use your hands to shape cookies. Do not use a cookie or ice cream scoop. The cookies are meant to be roughly shaped. Do not flatten the dough.  I also place a few extra chocolate chips on the top so that it looks good and I say more chocolate chips the better!
  9. Bake 4 cookies per pan, for 10 minutes or so…. **
  10. The cookies are done when the top is a bit golden and the bottom is also golden.
  11. Do not over bake. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

**This is where it gets interesting for me because the blog recipe I used to convert over to gluten free had instructions for regular ovens and convection ovens.  I have a convection oven (I’m pretty sure anyway) but when I baked them at the lower time period noted in the original blog recipe – they were not done.  When I baked them at the longer time, they definitely were a lot browner and less gooey, so I stuck with 10 minutes.  I also tried to chill some of the dough before baking and I didn’t really see that it made any difference in this recipe.

 

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