Thursday, April 28, 2011

Levain's Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Article first published as Levain's Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars on Blogcritics.
One of my favorite celebrity chefs is Bobby Flay. I respect his straightforward attitude towards food and enjoy watching him on his show, Bobby Flay's Throwdown. In this show, he challenges folks known for a specialized food or dish by creating his own version. The dishes are judged by a blind panel and in some cases, Bobby wins. One of the most recent episodes I watched involved a chocolate chip cookie throwdown against New York City's famed Levain Bakery. Ever since watching it, I've been craving chocolate chip cookies. After some searching I came across a copycat recipe for Levain's popular cookie. I took the recipe and adapted it by making these Levain's Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. If you're a chocolate chip cookie fan, these will knock your socks off!

I need to preface this recipe by noting you won't be able to make this today. Why? Because to really get the butterscotch and caramel notes that most people love about chocolate chip cookies, you'll need to wait about 2 days. Yes, that's 48 hours folks. But I promise you the wait is worth it! During that time, the cookie dough does some magical things. The flavors really meld and makes the dough much tastier and fragrant too. Once you've tested your patience, you'll be able to place it in a baking dish and devour them once fresh out of the oven. I can't even explain how good it is!

Levain's Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
recipe adapted from Parsley, Sage, Desserts & Line Drives

2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon table sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.. and beat until well incorporated.

Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Place the dough in a covered storage container and chill for no more than 2 days/48 hours.

Once ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish by lightly greasing. Place dough into the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven 25-30 minutes depending on how gooey you like the interior, until very lightly browned, and be careful not to over bake. The edges will look done but the middle may still be a bit soft.

Remove from oven and let the pan cool on rack. Once cooled, cut into large squares and store what you don’t immediately eat in an airtight container.