Monday, February 25, 2008

Throw Down Show Down! It's Cookie Time

As many of you out there know Bobby Flay has a show on the Food Network called "Throw Down with Bobby Flay". Each week he challenges cooks and bakers who are the "master's" at a recipe or food to cook/bake-off against Bobby's recipe to see who is the ultimate "Master" as deemed by guest judges. Last week he did a Throw Down for Chocolate Chip Cookies against New York City's Levain Bakery. The Levain Bakery's famous Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies come in at a whopping 6oz a piece! That is SOME cookie and made Bobby's flat little cookie look like a pancake! Needless to say they won hands down.

Many home bakers watched the Throw Down and excitedly logged on the the Foodnetwork website in eager anticipation to copy the Levain cookie recipe and to recreate those monstrous winners at home. Sadly, the recipe was never released leaving the recreation of the recipe up to the home baker. Thankfully there is a wonderful blogger, sugoodsweets who created a blog post where a whole group of bakers out there who banned together to try and recreate this cookie. I took the recipe posted by Lisa, which seemed to have the most success at producing a close replica of the winning Levain Cookies on Throw Down. I did make some minor changes as reflected in my posted recipe.

I have never been to the Levain bakery nor tasted any of their cookies so I can not claim that these are a match. The outside texture of these cookies is slightly crisp and the inside produces a dense yet delicate crumb. It is not quite cakey, I would describe them as thick with a chew (thanks to the baking powder in the recipe). I am unsure if they will maintain their chewiness after a few days of storage.

The recipe I based these off of did not include vanilla. I added 1 teaspoon and would probably add a tad more next time as I felt the flavor was a little flat. I also did not have any nuts and find it hard to believe that a whole cup of nuts would fit into the batter along with the 2 cups of chocolate chips called for. I would go with your gut and not a measuring cup when adding in the chips and nuts. It was indicated on Throw Down that the Levain cookies are kind of "doughy" inside. If wanting the same texture I would suggest baking a test cookie and checking at the minimum baking time until the doneness you are looking for is achieved.

Will this cookie replace all other chocolate chip cookies in my kitchen. No. But, I doubt any cookie will ever be good enough to replace all others. That is what keeps me baking and creating! I would suggest others try this recipe and be the judge to their own Throw Down.

Copycat Levain Bakery Throw Down Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (next time I would add more)
3 1/4 cups flour (use a tad more if dough seems too sticky)
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips (I used half semisweet and half milk chocolate) (can use up to 2 cups, you be the judge)
1 cup walnuts (I omited)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in eggs, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. The dough will be stiff and thick. Finish mixing by hand if needed until just combined. Gently fold in chips and nuts if using.

Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop out dough balls. Place dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. You can make smaller dough balls but be sure to adjust baking times as needed to prevent browning.
Bake 15-25 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies and your oven) or until cookies are pale brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy. I baked my cookies for 17 minutes exactly.
Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack until cooled completly. Serve or store in airtight container.

11 comments:

chelley325 said...

Oooh I'm so glad that someone tried these! They look great - can't wait to give them a shot!

madebymel said...

That was the best throw down ever! So glad you found this recipe, they look great!

Jaime said...

wow, these look huge and so good! i'm sad i missed this episode of throw down....

Ally said...

I have got to make these! They look so big and delicious! I have a couple of your bars bookmarked. You site makes me drooooool! : )

Katie said...

Oh my gosh, your blog is my crack! These look to die for! They are so thick and look so soft and delicious. I feel like Homer Simpson with all your goodies! Mmmm...cooookies...lol.

Emiline said...

Looks great! I'm going to have to try these.

Hallie Fae said...

Those cookies look really amazing. I do have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I may have to try these and see how they compare. I love how they stayed so thick, usually chocolate chip cookies can have too much butter in them and melt away into crispy thin cookies, which some people like, but I prefer the thick chewy kind.

rdposcar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
annieseats said...

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eatme_delicious said...

Ooo these look good! That's awesome that so many people tried to help figure out what the cookie recipe would be. :)

Marcella said...

I saw the cookies from the Levain Bakery on the Food Network and was so disappointed when I saw that the website does not release its recipe! However, I followed the link to this website and used the recipe you wrote and it was AMAZING! Everybody loved them!

I recommend these cookies to everyone!!!