Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies


Mar 06

Thick, rich, and chewy, these chocolate peanut butter chip cookies will have you thinking you’re sitting on West 74th Street at the popular New York City bakery.

Hi friends! Forgive my absence from writing this past month. It’s been a busy one as I’ve been out of town for work a little more than usual, and spent my time in town baking cakes and teaching cake classes. I have so many new cake flavor ideas that I’m dying to test out and share with you, but decided to put those on hold for a bit longer because after my recent trip to New York, where I made yet another visit to the popular Levain Bakery, I simply couldn’t wait another minute to recreate their Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie – one of my all-time favorite cookies EVER!

I know Levain is probably best known for their Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie, but in my opinion the Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie takes the cake! I know I’m a little biased because I’m shamelessly obsessed with peanut butter, but even non-obsessed PB fans love this cookie because it’s simply delicious.

Like the classic Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie is slightly undercooked on the inside, but perfectly cooked on the outside and filled with baking chips, making it thick and rich!

Recreating anyone’s cookie, without the actual recipe, is not an easy task. My friend Si, from A Bountiful Kitchen, spent hours and hours recreating the Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie and did an amazing job. But based on her experience, I knew it was a mountain to climb – mostly because people’s expectations would be so high.
Lucky for me, my best friend Lisa is also obsessed with peanut butter and chocolate and was eager to get started on recreating this cookie after I brought her one from New York a couple weeks ago. However, after eating her first version of the cookie together, we both looked at each other with the same thought in our mind, “why didn’t we think of saving one of the cookies to compare all our versions to?”  (Well, obvi – because the cookie is so flippin’ good that you literally cannot think of anything else but eating the cookie while you’re eating it.) Oh well, at least we got started on a recipe while the memory of the cookie was still fresh in our minds.
Lisa’s first try at the cookie was a great starting point for me. I then made the cookie three more times, with small variations each time. I changed some of the all-purpose flour and cake flour ratios, as well as the amount of baking powder. I wanted to make sure these cookies were nice and thick, but not too dense. I also increased the amount of kosher salt and the peanut butter chips (not sure you need a reason for that). Lisa and I also agreed that the baking temperature was too high and the outside of the cookie was getting too crisp, so we decreased the baking temperature from 400 (which we both saw a lot in other versions of the cookie) to 375 degrees F.
One of the things Levain is known for when it comes to their cookies is the size of the cookies. They don’t mess around, people! Each cookie is weighed out to 6 ounces before going on the baking sheet. That may sound huge, but it makes the cookie what it is.
The Levain cookies are also known for being packed with baking chips (and nuts, in some cases). The chips and nuts help to create the height in the cookies. I put nearly a bag and a half of peanut butter chips in my cookies here. I think it’s perfection but I had a couple taste testers, who have also had Levain’s cookie, say they thought my cookie had a few too many chips in it. I totally respect that and if you think you might feel this way too, I’d just suggest omitting 3-5 ounces of the peanut butter chips. Your cookies may not be as tall as mine, but they should still be pretty thick, and the flavor won’t be much different.
I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Enjoy!

Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Yield 12 Cookies

Thick, rich, and chewy, these chocolate peanut butter chip cookies will have you thinking you're sitting on West 74th Street at the popular New York City bakery.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I use Extra Brute Cacao Powder - Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder is a good alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg, extra large
  • 1 egg yolk, from an extra large egg
  • 1 bag (10 oz.), plus 1/3 cup Reese's Peanut Butter baking chips*

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cold butter and sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the whole egg and egg yolk and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for about 30 more seconds.
  5. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the dry ingredients in three separate additions, only mixing until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Stir in the peanut butter chips.
  7. Measure 6 oz. of cookie dough and shape into balls. Place 4 cookie dough balls on the baking sheet and bake for 11 minutes. There should be enough dough for seven 6 oz. cookie dough balls and one that is about 4 oz. 
  8. Let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes and then serve while still warm. To eat later, heat a cookie in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. 

*Please don't use any other brand but Reese's! I've tried every peanut butter baking chip out there and these are simply the best. They make a huge difference to the flavor of the cookie and any other peanut butter chip just wouldn't be the same.

**I used nearly a bag and a half of the peanut butter chips, which may seem excessive. Feel free to cut it down a little, but keep at least 10 oz. of chips in the cookie. This helps to keep the cookie nice and high.

14 thoughts on “Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

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  1. I’ve tried to figure out Levain’s recipe, too. one thing I do is omit the levening completely. Their cookies are so dense and basically come out looking the same as when they went in, other than being cooked. Mine actually turn out really well. Luke nice, big mountains of lush cookie.

  2. I’m looking for a substitute for the Reese’s baking chips as I cannot eat one of the ingredients in their chips. The only thing I’ve found is on nuts.com and I don’t really like having things like that shipped because they melt! Maybe homemade??

  3. First off, THANK YOU so much for this recipe! I love these cookies at Levain but also love to bake, so this recipe is one I will definitely keep forever! For those asking about weight for the butter, it is 200 grams. Also, if you don’t have cake flour, you can use all AP flour, removing 4 tsp of the flour and adding 4 tsp cornstarch.

  4. Oh My Gosh! I just got back from NYC and after tasting the Levain Chocolate and Peanut butter chip cookie I was on the look out for the recipe AND THIS IS IT!!! I made these last night and all the divine gooey-ness is in this cookie! Thank you a million times for this recipe, as I can now re-visit a taste of NYC in my own kitchen thanks to you!

  5. Question: will using large eggs as opposed to the extra large it calls for make a serious difference?

    Also, at the top of your recipe you say this recipe yields 12 cookies. Then later on go on to say that only yields 7 and a little bit. A little frustrated at this discrepancy as I needed 12 cookies for what I’m making these for. Will the cookies still get the levain feel if I only do 4 oz or 3 oz cookies?

    1. No large eggs are fine. Anything smaller and you’d want to add an extra egg. Sorry about the confusion – definitely depends on the size you make. The 4 oz cookies won’t be quite as big, but they will be more LEvain like than the 3oz cookies.