one very substantial cookie...
one very substantial cookie…

So i’ve been making these cookies over the past few months… and i can’t seem to get them out of my head.  i’m talking days later… i find myself wandering through my kitchen in the morning, wishing there was just one more to savor.  it’s a copycat recipe for a chocolate chip cookie from the famous Levain Bakery in Manhattan.  Actually they have three locations i believe… one on the upper westside in Manhattan, one in Harlem, and one in the Hamptons (long island) off of Montauk Highway.  Supposedly… and through research, i’ve heard this claim from more than a handful of epicurious peeps… they are said to have the largest and most delicious chocolate chip walnut cookies in Manhattan.  They are said to weigh in at a whopping 6oz. each!!   i scored this recipe from another blog i follow, brown eyed baker.  of course, in hoxbox hipster fashion, i yanked it around a bit and made it my own.  i took out the walnuts (mostly because my tots don’t dig) and substituted broken and crushed pretzel sticks… approximately one cupful.  i never measure additions such as this… i kinda just go by feel.  this ended up being both of my hands cupped together and full of pretzel fragments! -and into the bowl they went.   the recipe calls for 3 cups of bread flour… i have no clue what bread flour is- nor did i care to seek it out or spend extra $ on it- so i used a cup of self rising flour (which i had stashed in the pantry from another recipe) and 2 cups of my regular flour. (which i cut 75/25 with wheat flour as a rule, PS.)  i keep my flour in a huge glass vessel on my countertop, so when i have to replenish it with a new bag or two, i add in the wheat as well and mix it with a wooden spoon until it’s incorporated.  i’ve been doing this for years, and it just helps get a little more whole wheat into cookies and cakes, etc. – and the difference is negligible.  anywho, yes- you will likely need to purchase the self rising flour to nail this recipe- but trust me, you will be making these enough that you will burn through that bag in no time flat. just stash it in your cupboard!

OK here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups  regular flour

1 cup self rising flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt (if not kosher, just use a 1/4 tsp)

2 sticks butter, COLD and cut into cubes

3/4 cup + 4 tsp light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, cold, lightly beaten in a separate bowl

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup of broken up salted pretzel sticks (the itty bitty sticks- not the rods)  if i had to give you instruction here- i would say to do this in a large ziplock bag, and half of them crush pretty well- and the other half, leave as larger -maybe one inch pieces)

1 cup of dark or semi sweet choc chips (go with the dark if you’re going out and buying a bag special)

1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (if you only have all chocolate- it will be fine- just do a cup and a half of straight chocolate)


line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, bkg powder, bkg soda and salt; set aside.

using an electric stand mixer- beat the cold butter (make sure it’s cold) on medium speed until it comes together in a cohesive mass, about a minute. Add both sugars and continue to beat for another two mins til all of the sugar is incorporated into the butter.  graduallly add the beaten eggs and the vanilla, and beat another minute or so, stopping to scrape down the bowl once.  batter WILL be lumpy.  with mixer on low, add your dry ingred’s little by little until just a bit of flour remains not completely mixed.  stir in the pretzels and the choc chips with a strong spoon or rubber spatula.  (this batter is STIFF yo… this takes some muscles.)  i usually resort to my clean bare hands at this step, and make it happen.

once mixed, Levain bakery then divides this dough into twelve sections – making HUGE cookies.  i think i got about 18 or 19 out of my last batch- and i still felt they were adequately large. 🙂  so take a nice handful of dough- and form it into a loose ball- these will not be smooth… you want the rustic and bumpy appearance.  slightly smaller than a tennis ball is what you’re aiming for.  arrange them on two cookie sheets- and refrigerate them for 30 minutes. < (this is an important step… do not skip it)  – about 2o mins in, preheat your oven to 375*.  take these out of the fridge and into the oven.  ONE SHEET AT A TIME PLEASE. Bake for 20 minutes- and immediately take them out and let them sit on the pan for five mins.  then move them off of the pan and onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.  they keep well in an airtight container for 4 days.  i would bet the FARM they will NEVER EVER stick around that long.  🙂  enjoy!!!

sixteen beauties... all in delicious rows.
sixteen beauties… all in delicious rows.