I did the damn thing! I made a vegan Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie! Yippee!
I have spent time living on the Upper West Side of New York City, and UWSers and tourists alike are all familiar with the famous Levain Bakery.
They have these ginormous, cookies that are unbelievable delicious, with a perfectly crisp exterior, and a gooey almost underbaked center.
I remember my first Levain Bakery experience. My mom was visiting me while I was at NYU and I had heard of this place called Peacefood on the Upper West Side (yup, before they had a downtown location!) that I really wanted to try. So I dragged her from the East Village to the Upper West and we had a delightful lunch at Peacefood. I got the Asian Greens salad and Chickpea fries (still two of my favs on the menu). And then I said, “hey, since we’re over here, we should go to this famous cookie bakery.” And she agreed.
We got one chocolate chip walnut, and one double chocolate. The OG stood out to me. It was almost like the double chocolate was so chocolately it didn’t let the other elements of the cookie shine. Anyways, I digress, that cookie stayed in my mind for a very long time.
Back in my NYU days, I rarely trekked up to the UWS, but during my MS at Columbia, I ended up reluctantly relocating there. And I ended up loving it. To this day, it is still one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC.
But since my NYU days, I have gone vegan. Which means my options at Levain bakery include their whole wheat raisin walnut rolls (which TBH ARE SO GOOD), and a few other bread products.
So here we are. I veganized the Levain Bakery Cookie. And I’m pumped about it.
These vegan Levain Bakery style chocolate chip cookies are delicious. Full of chocolate chips and whole chunks of walnuts, they are a texture junkie’s dream. They also have that gooey middle thing going on in the best way possible. Paired with a glass of almond milk these are utter perfection. Now let’s get on to how I did the damn thing.
After doing some research online, I decided to play around and give them a whirl. A common characteristic I noticed in copycat Levain recipes was the use of cold butter. If you’re a baker, you know that typically cookies are made with room temperature butter. Yet all Levain cookies had this in common, so I went with it.
I also used half cake flour and half all-purpose. You can use all AP if you want. I also tried half bread flour with a pretty good result. Do you, honey. Use what ya got (with varied results).
I highly reccomend chilling the dough before baking. I think it helps them maintain that gooey middle quite a bit. If you’re low on time, pop them in the freezer for a bit….