I first heard of Levain Bakery from the glorious food blog that is Picky Palate. On her recent trip to New York City, Jenny (of Picky Palate) said–of all the places she could choose to go in that fine city–she hoped to be headed to Levain Bakery for chocolate chip cookies.
Well, yum.

I’d never heard of Levain, but I trust Jenny’s knowledge of food. I did me some investigating (read: Googling) and discovered the phenomenon that is Levain. It seems they open their NYC store to a line of anxious customers each morning, sell their half-pounder beauties easily for $4 or so, AND they recently won a throwdown for the finest chocolate chip cookies. The finest. Now, that is saying something.

Ever more intrigued, I did some research. They don’t share their recipes. But a lot of people have tried to duplicate them. Known for their pure ingredients, high-in-the-sky shape, crisp cookie exterior, and gooey-chocolate centers, it’s no easy task trying to recreate these gems.

But, I had to try.

I think I might just have it. A misfortune in the kitchen last week became this weeks secret, works-like-magic ingredient.
And above all that, my husband & Dadinlaw raved buckets about them.

I think we found ourselves a winner.

Call me Le Vain Copy Cat Cookies

1 c. butter

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

Cream all above ingredients until fluff-a-licious.

Top with:

2 1/2 c. flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla


1 Tbsp. Cornstarch

Mix all ingredients with an electric beater until incorporated and a thick, creamy dough is created. Then mix in:

2 cups of {nearly} crushed walnuts

3 cups of {good quality, small} semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat again with electric mixer. Pour onto countertop and knead dough to completely mix dough (this tip comes from the Levain gals themselves.)

Gently pull lemon-sized hunks of dough. Keep the dough loose and air. Place mounds on cookie sheets.

Bake 390 degrees (read: just above 375, not quite 400)for 10-12 minutes, or until the tips of the cookies have turned light brown.

Remove from cookie sheet. Cool for just a moment.


chew and smile. chew and smile.

chew and smile.

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28 Responses to “Copycat”

  1. 1

    Jenny on October 17, 2008 at 11:01 am Reply

    What a great post! I have got to get to Levain someday! Yours look perfect!

  2. 2

    Meg on October 18, 2008 at 12:53 am Reply

    Brooke Mcclay!! I found you!! I have wondered where my FAVORITE dollar tree loving friend had gone!! I wore my Anne of Green Gables hat today and couldn’t help but google you! And I found you! How are my sweetest friends doing? How are the highschool musical singing children? When am I going to see you again?! I love you dearly! Thanks for being such a fun, laughable, sensible, real person! Have I told you yet that I love you! Thanks all for today but I will be visiting you on your blog OFTEN!

  3. 3

    Anonymous on October 28, 2008 at 9:46 pm Reply

    Hi Brooke! This is such a fun blog. . .however, the cookie recipe did not work out so good. Kim is calling me a new bride!!!! Is it really 2 C. of butter? That is a ton for the amount of flour. Just checking. . .have fun!

  4. 4

    ConversationsWithACupcake on October 29, 2008 at 6:35 am Reply

    Anon-THANKS so much for checking in! It was TWO STICKS of butter, or 1 CUP. SO SORRY! Total mistype! I do hope you’ll try it again and discover the gloriousness that is Levain! :)
    Happy Day!

  5. 5

    lilly on November 6, 2008 at 7:05 am Reply

    did you really mean 1 Tablespoon of baking powder or is it 1 teaspoon, I am anxious to make these.

  6. 6

    Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer on November 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm Reply

    Your secret is safe with me.. Copy Cat and I am so glad you are – these look great and the secret ingredient of cornstarch got me – never seen that playing in the sandbox of cookie land…

  7. 7

    mysweetestday on November 19, 2008 at 6:54 am Reply

    ooo i love secret ingredients. i really wanna try this one out!

  8. 8

    Brittony Shean on December 10, 2008 at 3:24 pm Reply


    I made these today. They were de-light-ful. Though I ate too many and I’m a little sick to my stomach, I still want more. You are a genius and should be on TV. And have your own magazine. And many cookbooks.

  9. 9

    Anonymous on March 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm Reply

    Just checking before I make these – it is a full one tablespoon (not one teaspoon) of baking powder? So excited to try them! Thanks!!

  10. 10

    Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 1:29 pm Reply

    These cookies were absolutely perfect! Everyone loved them and my husband keeps asking when I am making more. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  11. 11

    Anonymous on August 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm Reply

    is it really 1 tbsp of baking powder?

  12. 12

    Anonymous on August 16, 2009 at 10:15 pm Reply

    I'd like to make these too after just seeing the throwdown on t.v. Does anyone know if it's 1TBSP of baking powder or 1 tsp.? Thanks so much.

  13. 13

    NancyK on November 14, 2009 at 8:12 pm Reply

    The 1 TBSP sounds right, since scones and muffins use large amounts like this to create height. I think that might be the key to a breat copycat recipe!

  14. 14

    Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul on December 6, 2009 at 12:02 am Reply

    I will be testing these soon. I've been testing many recipes, and have yet to find 'The One'. Hope this one is it! :) Wonderful blog!

  15. 15

    Clear Pink on December 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm Reply

    My husband has brought me home the Levain cookies the past two fridays and I am hooked. I wanted to try to make them at home and tried a different coycat recipe. It is not exactly right.

    I'll have to give yours a try. I think I will omit the vanilla, from what I have read Levain does not use it in theirs. Do you know what the corn starch does? And, like the question others have asked, really one tablespoon on baking powder?

  16. 16

    Jo on December 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm Reply

    Awesome Receipe. I used it to make my daughter a giant birthday cooking. I cooked it in the deep pampered chef deep dish pizza stone. It took about 17 minutes and was DELIGHTFUL!!!

  17. 17

    BeeHive on April 28, 2010 at 8:53 am Reply

    Made them and they're delicious. Thank you!

  18. 18

    Anonymous on May 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm Reply

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  19. 19

    raisingkaine on May 14, 2010 at 11:54 pm Reply

    I happen to swoon over the chocolate chocolate chip Levain cookies. Have any tips on conquering this recipe? They admit to using cocoa powder, and semisweet choc. chips. Any suggestions and I'll be eternally grateful.
    Thank you,

  20. 20

    Liz on June 2, 2010 at 9:14 am Reply

    I live in northern NJ and Levain is my FAVORITE cookie place in the city. The cookies are $4 each, but I'd totally pay more for those bad boys. I am a total cookie-snob and even I think they are amazing. BUT…the chocolate chip cookies aren't the main attraction at Levain in my opinion. It's the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip cookie that is worth the trip to Levain. I would LOVE to find a recipe for that one.

  21. 21

    Violette on August 29, 2010 at 1:47 pm Reply

    I've never had a cookie from Levain but after hearing about them on Food Network I have been dreaming about them nonstop. The thing that got me is that the chips stay gooey forever apparently?

    While I havent been able to test if this recipe lives up to that tale just quite yet I can tell you they are fluffy, gooey, light, and perfect. Great recipe, thank you!!

  22. 22

    Kirsten on January 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm Reply

    I can't wait to make these! I have been obsessed with figuring out the secret ingredient to make huge fat cookies…..and it was cornstarch all along!
    P.S. I LOVE your blog. I have been a huge fan of yours for over a year now. Your style and charm are absolutely addictive. Thank you for this awesome space!
    Kirsten- AKA Miss Slice

  23. 23

    Tracey on March 11, 2011 at 10:24 am Reply

    This recipe sounds great, however; I wonder if just adding the cornstarch to my original recipe would work as well, I might just try them both just to see, anyhoo….thanks for the recipe! :)

    • Brooke replied: — March 11th, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

      Let me know which works best! Good luck!

  24. 24

    Sarah Johnson on March 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm Reply

    These cookies are the best! I love Levain cookies, but they are kind of pricey and not easily accessible (which has saved me $$ and calories). This recipe is an excellent copycat-many people that have had both think these are fabulous. I always get asked for this recipe and made them once a week last summer. Thank you for this fabulous recipe!!!

    • Brooke replied: — March 16th, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

      Wow! Sarah! I’m perfectly delighted to hear that they worked as well for you as they worked in my house! Happy baking!

  25. 25

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