If there’s one Instagrammable cookie that has always caught my eye it has been the iconic NYC Levain Bakery cookie. Every time this or any copycat-type cookie pops up on my feed I am in awe of how thick and humongous it is while looking like it’s maintaining all of the textures that a chocolate chip cookie should have.
Crisp outsides and warm, chewy and gooey in the center. Although the real deal does actually have a gluten-free version, for people with celiac disease like my husband, that doesn’t always mean you can still have it. Unless there is a dedicated kitchen or at least a kitchen space, it’s near impossible to avoid the puffs of flour that fly through the air. That fact makes it a little more difficult to enjoy such deliciousness even if we were able to go on a trip right now! We always want what we can’t have right?
Well, celiac and gluten free friends, want no more. If you can read a recipe, you can make your own Levain bakery inspired cookies at home!
I’ll be honest, having never actually even eaten one myself, I researched high and low. I read reviews, I googled “Levain bakery cookie taste,” and I read every single copycat recipe and piece of info I could get my eyes on about this cookie!
I spent hours doing research on cookie chemistry and baking chemistry in general and applied that to gluten free baking. I won’t get into detail here, but since gluten is a main component in baking, it obviously gets more tricky when you eliminate it. If you’d like to nerd out on some of that research that I did, check out this site or this one to read about the nuances of baking powder vs soda, what oven temperature yields what kind of cookie, and when you should use melted vs softened butter. You’re welcome 🙂
This cookie took several tries to perfect the ingredient amounts and technique, so although you’ll find this cookie recipe breaks some of the rules (starting with cold butter and eggs, what!?) just trust the process. Unfortunately this recipe doesn’t allow for diary free substitutions without compromising the texture or rise, but if you’d like to experiment, go for it!
You may also notice that original cookies have walnuts. I like walnuts, but I like pecans even better and since I created the recipe, I made them how I like them 🙂 If you prefer walnuts, you can substitute them directly for the pecans.
Please note before you start this dough has to chill overnight but, trust me, it will be so worth it! Especially when you are baking with gluten free flour, I have found that some time in the fridge for doughs to hydrate always gives the best results.
I’ve also created a range of time for you to pull out your cookies from the oven since every home oven is slightly different and even climate affects our baking. Start with the lowest recommended time and check them every minute after. They should be a nice brown color on the outside edges, but they will still look underdone in the middle. This is the sweet spot to pull them out. They take at least 20 minutes to set up after removing them from the oven. It’s a hard wait, but your patience will be heavily rewarded!
Shop the Ingredients:
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour:Bob’s Red Mill Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, 22 Ounce, Pack of 4
Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips: Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Chips – 20 oz. (567g)
Giant can of the best baking powder (yes please): Clabber Girl: Double Acting Baking Powder, 22 Oz
Levain Bakery Inspired Cookies (Gluten Free!)
- 1 Cup (2 sticks) cold salted butter cut into tablespoon pieces
- 3/4 Cup brown sugar (always pack brown sugar when you measure it)
- 1/2 Cup granulated white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons gluten free flour (I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour or Cup 4 Cup Wholesome blend flour)
- 1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips (Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)
- 1 Cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 Cup whole or halved pecans
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat 1 Cup butter, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, and 1/2 Cup white sugar for one minute on medium speed.
- Add 2 eggs and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Do not overmix. There will be some lumps.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 Cups + 2 Tbsp gluten free flour, 1 1/8 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp baking soda.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture one half at a time, mixing after each addition but do not overmix. Note: make sure after the first addition, you stop the mixer to make sure you’ve scraped the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so everything gets incorporated evenly.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add 1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips, 1 Cup mini chocolate chips, and 1 Cup pecans. Mix briefly. The batter will be stiff so a stand mixer is best for this, but you can mix in by hand as well.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on the work surface and place the dough onto it. Forming the dough into a disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After unwrapping the dough, it will be very firm. Using a kitchen scale, break off the dough into 5.5 oz portions. The last portion may be slightly smaller than the others, but it bakes up the same. If you do not have a kitchen scale, split the dough into 9 equal pieces.
- Form the dough into large balls* and bake on a parchment or silicon mat-lined baking sheet three at a time in the middle rack of the oven for 19-21 minutes pulling them out when the edges are browned, but the middle still looks slightly under-baked. Note: Place the other balls of dough into the fridge to keep cold while the other cookies bake.
*Tip: if you would like to make these cookies look extra special, after forming into balls, press some extra chocolate chips and pecans onto the outside of the cookie ball before baking.
Gluten Free Flour: Not all gluten free flour blends are created equal. I have tested this using the flours listed in the ingredient list only. Most baking blends are pretty similar in how they function these days, so feel free to use whatever blend you are accustomed to but realize your result may differ slightly.
Using regular all purpose flour: This recipe has also been tested using all purpose flour. If you are not sensitive to gluten, using regular flour is an option as well.
To Freeze Dough: After preparing the dough and chilling overnight, shape the dough into balls as you would normally, flash freeze on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Then, place the dough balls into a zip top freezer bag removing as much air as possible. Thaw for a couple hours on the counter before preheating the oven and baking as normal.
To Freeze Baked Cookies: Make sure the cookies are cooled completely before placing them in a single layer in gallon sized zip top freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and freeze. To thaw, place on the counter for 1-2 hours. To “restore” cookies, preheat the oven to 300 degrees, place cookies on a baking sheet, and bake for 3-5 minutes until they are nice and warm.
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