Copycat Levain Bakery Lemon Cookies

June 11, 2024

Make bakery-style cookies from the comfort of your own kitchen! My new Copycat Levain Bakery™ Lemon Cookies are the perfect replica of the famous New York cookies. The lemon flavor is a limited edition in-store, but you can make my recipe year-round!

A stack of lemon cookies.

What is Levain Bakery?

Levain Bakery ™ is a beloved New York City institution that has garnered a cult-like following for its legendary cookies. Founded in 1995 by Connie McDonald and Pam Weekes, the bakery originally aimed to create the perfect fuel for their triathlon training. However, their decadent, six-ounce cookies soon became the star of the show, captivating locals and tourists alike.

Levain Bakery’s appeal lies in the indulgent, gooey centers of their cookies, juxtaposed with a crisp, golden exterior, creating a textural symphony that cookie aficionados crave. Beyond cookies, the bakery also offers a delightful array of breads and pastries, all baked fresh daily with high-quality ingredients. This commitment to craftsmanship and the sensory pleasure derived from every bite has solidified Levain Bakery’s status as a must-visit destination for dessert lovers around the world.

Lemon cookies on a yellow backdrop.

Copycat Levain Bakery™ Lemon Cookies

On a recent visit to New York and Boston, we stopped in at one of the Levain Bakery locations in Boston to try their new, limited edition Lemon Cookies. Similar to their signature chocolate chip, the lemon cookie is a huge, thick, delicious cookie, filled with flavor and chips.

After recreating the Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies a few years ago, I knew I needed to and could recreate these.

The goals, for me, when making a copycat Levain cookie are:

  • Similar look
  • Similar texture
  • Similar flavor

I worked off my first Levain recipe to make the Lemon Cookies. I, of course, didn’t use cocoa powder here, but instead subbed that ingredient with more flour. The combination of the all-purpose flour and the cake flour provide the perfect soft and chewy texture we want.

What if I don’t have cake flour? If you don’t have cake flour, you can make your own following the instructions in this blog post: Everything You Need to Know About Cake Flour. If you don’t want to make it, you can use all-purpose flour for all of it, but note two things: one, use ¼ cup less overall and two, the texture will be slightly different than intended in my recipe.

To ensure the look and texture are correct takes into account more than just the ingredients. You also need to make sure you measure the dough to get 6-ounces per cookie and bake at a higher heat to get the crispy edge.

Tips for Making the Best Cookies

Let’s make sure these Copycat Levain Bakery Lemon Cookies turn out perfect! Here’s a rundown of the tips for making these the best cookies:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 F. Because these cookies are so big, and we’re trying to get that crispy edge and soft center, you want your oven at a higher heat like this.
  • Use cold butter and eggs. Using cold butter and eggs will help ensure your cookies keep their shape. To mix the butter when it’s cold, I cut it up into cubes first.
  • Don’t over-mix the dough. Once you add the dry ingredients, mix on low until no flour streaks remain.
  • Follow the recipe. This may seem obvious, but just to cover all our basis, be sure to follow the recipe as it’s written to get the most accurate result.
  • Make 6-ounce cookies. This is a signature Levain move – HUGE cookies. Trust the process and just go with it.
  • Let the cookies cool to room temperature. I know this one is hard, but to have a true Levain-style cookie, you want the cookie to cool to room temperature so it’s the right texture inside.

More cookie recipes to try

A stack of lemon cookies.

Copycat Levain Bakery Lemon Cookies

5 from 8 votes
These Copycat Levain Bakery Lemon Cookies are huge, just like the originals! They're slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, filled with white chocolate chips and lemon flavor.
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold and cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) brown sugar, packed tightly
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, about two large lemons
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons (5.2 g) lemon extract or lemon emulsion
  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (143.7 g) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • 16 ounces white chocolate chips

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In another medium size mixing bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, and lemon extract. Beat until combined.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and stir on low until incorporated.
  • Fold in the white chocolate chips.
  • Measure the dough into 6 ounce balls. Place four balls of dough on the baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes. The outside of the cookie should be golden brown.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature before eating. (This allows the middle to set properly).
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Keyword: cookies, Lemon, lemon cookies, levain bakery cookies

Join the Conversation

  1. Mary Ellen says:

    5 stars
    I just made these are they are amazing!! The recipe was very straightforward. I ended up mixing the wet ingredients in my stand mixer–the cold butter wasn’t mixing well with my hand mixer. The cookies look and taste so good!

  2. hello. can i substitute fresh lemon juice for the lemon extract or emulsion?

    1. No because you would need a lot more juice to add the same flavor and it would change the texture of the cookies.

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