Sunday, August 18, 2013

Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

I went to New York City a few years ago and one of the items on my must-do list included a stop at Levain Bakery on the city's Upper West Side.  I had read about the famed chocolate chip cookies, I had seen them on TV, and I just knew I had to try them.  Well, the cookies did not disappoint.  They were huge, wonderful creations filled with nuts and chocolate chips, with a crisp exterior and a super thick, chewy interior.  Bloggers have been trying to recreate the recipe for years, and this one comes pretty close.  To get the proper texture and feel of a Levain cookie, you must make these into the very large size cookies indicated in the recipe.  They will be huge, but making them small will not yield a cookie that mimics Levain's, and the whole point of this recipe is to make a copycat.  You will definitely impress your friends with these wonderfully decadent treats.

Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies
From Brown Eyed Baker

3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 cup + 4 teaspoons (6 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, cold, lightly beaten in a separate bowl
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until it forms a cohesive mass. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating on medium speed until mixed, scraping the sides of bowl once (the batter will appear lumpy). Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the flour mixture until just a little bit of flour still remains. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts with a rubber spatula.

4. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces, just grabbing it by the handful and roughly shaping it into a ball (it should not be smooth). Place them (evenly spaced) on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes, or until light golden brown on top. Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

My birthday was last month, and as usual, I made my own cake.  I love making my own birthday cake because I can get exactly what I want and I know it will be delicious.  I paired this icing with a  chocolate cake and added chopped Heath candy bars as a garnish.  I made a homemade caramel sauce, but you could also use a high quality jarred caramel sauce.  This recipe makes enough to frost about two dozen cupcakes or an 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake.  You may need to make extra if you want to pipe decorations onto the cake.  Also, it is critical that your caramel sauce is completely cooled (chilled is fine) to prevent melting the frosting.  Overall, I had another great birthday, and needless to say, this cake was amazing!

From Brown Eyed Baker


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (cooled completely)
4 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until combined and fluffy. Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined.

2. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fudgy Brownies

I am on a never ending quest to find delicious fudgy brownie recipes, and I will definitely be adding this one to my repertoire.  The brownie is fairly thin, with a crackled top and a delightfully chewy texture.  This brownie is somewhat reminiscent of a boxed mix brownie, so it would be an ideal recipe to try if you are trying to kick the boxed stuff.  The recipe is super easy to follow, and even my non-brownie loving husband thought these were good.  Ditch the box and give these a try!

Adapted slightly from Cookies and Cups


1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 325°

2. Line a 8x8 pan with parchment or mist generously with non-stick spray.

3. Melt chocolate and butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat. Whisk both sugars into the chocolate mix. Add in eggs, one at a time and then add vanilla. Whisk until just combined, taking care not to whip too much air into the batter. Stir in flour and salt until evenly incorporated and pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake 28-32 minutes until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center has no more than a few moist crumbs. Let brownies cool completely before cutting into squares.