And so, it begins... (copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies)

My baby started his SENIOR year of high school today. Senior. Year. 

copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I know, it's such a cliche: Where did the time go? Wasn't he just starting Kindergarten? Time goes by in the blink of an eye. I'm still 29, right? Yada yada. Well, IT'S ALL TRUE. 

As he left today, I wondered if I should have a good cry, a stiff drink, or throw up. All three? 

copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Instead, I'm distracting myself with cookies. There's a rule in this house: cookies are mandatory for the first day of school. No exceptions. Cookies for lunchbox, cookies for after school snack while rehashing the day. 

Levain Bakery in New York City

When I was in New York recently, some friends stopped by Levain Bakery before my flight arrived. Julie bought extra cookies so I wouldn't miss out. (Julie is a true friend.

{That is ONE cookie, split in half!!!

I've had Levain's chocolate chip cookies before and they are a revelation. This time, I also had the chocolate peanut butter chip. Now, normally I'm not a huge fan of the chocolate cookie. Cookies with chocolate chips, yes. Chocolate cookies with other chips, no. These changed me. For life. 

copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies |

Levain cookies are BIG. HUGE. MAMMOTH. Six ounces of puffy, life-changing cookie. The cookies have an exterior that's slightly crisp, while the inside is thick, soft, and, when the cookies are warm, gooey. *sigh* 

There are lots of copycat versions of Levain cookies. I took inspiration from Jessica, Michelle, this blog, and this one

A few notes on making Copycat Levain Cookies...

I used a mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour. The New York Times cookie uses bread flour, but this one had a different texture to me. Do NOT substitute regular whole wheat flour.

For the chips, I went with a combination of peanut butter chips and peanut butter-filled chips. I hoarded the peanut butter-filled chips when I found out they were discontinued. If you are not a hoarder like me, please use all peanut butter chips. Reese's chips are good. (I believe the peanut butter-filled chips have been discontinued.)

These are some BIG cookies.

The cookies are, um, substantial. Six ounces! You'll get seven 6-ounce cookies and one smaller (but still big cookie).

When measuring the cookies, you'll need a scale. (I like this works like a charm, is small, and inexpensive.)

You'll also need to press the dough together. It's a little dry and that's ok. Don't be alarmed. 

How to make cookies craggy and bumpy on top instead of smooth.

The Levain cookies are a little ragged looking. Not ugly by any means, but not the perfectly round cookies we're used to seeing on blogs and in some bakeries. I used the tip here from Fran of breaking the cookies in half once measured and then pressing the rough edges together.  

After they're all measured, they'll rest in the freezer for 1-2 hours before baking. For baking, I used these commercial cookie sheets lined with parchment, figuring these are what they use at Levain. 

Now, speculation is that Levain Bakery bakes their cookies in bread ovens. This got me thinking of bread baking and how steam in the oven creates a nice crust on bread. So, when I baked the cookies, I kept a pan on the lowest rack of the oven. When I put the cookies in, I threw some ice cubes on that bottom pan and closed the oven quickly to trap the steam. 

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, move them to a wire rack to cool.
Please, though, PLEASE eat one warm. I'm telling you...they're life-changing. 

Here's what I plan to do: stock my freezer with the dough, then pop a few in the oven when friends come over. Gigantic, warm, gooey cookies fresh out of the oven. There's nothing better. 

(copycat) Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
{makes 8 cookies}

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
14 TBSP unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
10-ounce package peanut butter chips
1 cup peanut butter-filled chips (or more peanut butter chips) 

Whisk the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. 

Cream the butter with the sugars until combined and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. In three additions, add the flour mixture, just until combined. Stir in the chips. 

Pressing the dough together, measure out 6-ounce portions. (You'll have one that is around 4 ounces.) Place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Break each portion in half, pressing the smooth sides together well and leaving the rough edges exposed. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 1-2 hours. 

Place one oven rack in the center of the oven and one on the bottom rack. Put a cookie sheet on the bottom rack. Line another sheet with parchment. Preheat oven to 375. 

Place 4 cookies on the lined cookie sheet. Place the cookies on the center rack, while pouring a cup-full of ice on the cookie sheet on the bottom rack. Quickly close the door to trap the steam. 

Bake the cookies for 19-22 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies feel done, but the insides are still soft. Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool. (The smaller cookie can bake for 17-19 minutes.)

Serve warm. For room temperature cookies, heat in the microwave for 10 seconds, if desired. 

copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Jack has one in his lunchbox...and one waiting for him when he gets home from school today. Our last first day of school at the kitchen table with cookies. Oh, I'm going to soak up every detail. ♥

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