These cookies are way more than just amazing cookies.
These cookies remind me of my best friends from undergrad at IU. The ladies who met me freshman year, and never stopped being with me. The ladies who taught me fun games like Bananagrams, and life lessons like how to speak up for yourself. The ladies who got me out of my funks and let me cry when I needed to cry. The ladies who planned crazy tailgates with me and danced and laughed and sang loudly at the bars on Thursday nights at Dunnkirk.
These cookies remind me of last year's spring break. One of my best friends, Aava, and I flew out to the East Coast to meet up with 3 of our other close friends, Arpita, Amal, and Aida. We went to Princeton first to see Aida, and then spent the rest of the week with all of them in New York City, where Arpita goes to school. While not a complete reunion (we were missing a few girls!), it was an incredible weekend full of sightseeing and catching up. Arpita took us up and down the city, subway station after subway station, and crossing streets boldly like the New Yorker she's become.
And then she took us to Levain Bakery. And my whole view on cookies has never been the same.
Levain Bakery is known for their incredibly thick, rich cookies. We are talking about an inch tall cookies, with perfectly baked outer edges and soft, gooey centers with melted chocolate. I got a dark chocolate chocolate chip one when I was there, and it was quite possibly the greatest cookie I have ever eaten. I went inside the shop with the intention of saving half the cookie for after dinner. One stroll through Central Park later, and I had nothing in my hands except for some cookie crumbs and chocolate smudged on my lips. This cookie was irresistible.
So when I saw a recipe for Levain Bakery style cookies, I couldn't help but try them out. Instead of using chocolate chips, I added white chocolate chips and dried cranberries that I had leftover from the cranberry ginger almond cake. With the buttery cookie base, the smooth white chocolate and the tart cranberries made the perfect combination. I took my first bite when they were fresh from the oven, and I was immediately taken back to walking around NYC with my girlfriends.
These cookies are probably my favorite things I've baked so far. As an added bonus, the recipe was fairly simple, and you could honestly add any sort of mix-ins that you'd like. I've already been tossing around the idea of adding coconut, walnuts, and milk chocolate chips, as well as trying one with dried cherries and dark chocolate chunks!
Go make some of these for your loved ones. They are the perfect cookies for Valentine's Day!
Levain chocolate chip cookies
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 cup + 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, cold, beaten in a separate bowl
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter until it comes together in one lump (about 1 minute). Add in the sugars and beat for another 1-2 minutes until the sugar dissolves into the butter.
Low the speed to medium low, and mix in the eggs and vanilla (the batter will be lumpy)
Gradually add in the flour mixture, beating until a little flour remains.
Fold in the white chocolate chips and the cranberries with a spatula
Divide the dough into 12 even pieces (about 1/2 cup each). Shape the dough roughly into a ball, but do not roll it. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (but you can keep it in the fridge for up to 12 hours).
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake cookies for 18-22 minutes, until light golden brown. It is better to take these cookies out early as they will continue to cook as they cool. Be careful not to overbake! Once cool enough, dig in - these taste incredible fresh out of the oven!
Fat cookies filled with love.