Levain Cookies (step-by-step with pics)

I wasn’t happy with my previous post about the infamous Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies (this) because it didn’t feel… enough.

So, I decided to bake those Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies again, while taking pictures to document the entire process for this post.

Unfortunately, I had the carpenter over, with the electrician on the way (remodeling my place… or rather modeling it for the first time lol) and ended up burning the cookies, just a bit.

I was supposed to leave them in the oven for 20 minutes, instead I left them for 25 minutes, and that made all the difference, sadly.

In any case, they still tasted pretty great (according to the familia) if a bit harder than usual lol

For reference, the first time I made these was back in March 2020 (dis).

I’ll list the substitutes and everything below.

2/3 cup White Sugar (large refillable tub in the back)
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
2 sticks of Butter (100g each)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda (I use Bicarbonate of Soda, same thing, right?)
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/4 cup Cake Flour (or 1 cup AP Flour + 2 tbs Cornstarch)
2 cups All Purpose Flour (regular flour)
2 Eggs
2 cups Chocolate Chips (whole bag)
1 cup Walnuts (chopped)

I believe I got these Colourworks Measuring Spoons from Lakeland (Marina Mall) back in 2016.

They were such a good purchase because, as you can imagine, they’ve come in super handy over the years! I’ll always pull them out and use them for literally every single dish I’m making!

Since I didn’t have Cake Flour or Self-Raising Flour, I had to make my own substitute.

I figured I’d make it beforehand, to get it out of the way.

Basically, you needed 1 cup of All Purpose Flour.

I used my trusty Lakeland Measuring Spoons to measure out 1 cup and poured it in my favorite Purple Mixing Bowl (I bought 4 or 5 of those from Ikea ages ago).

Then, you were supposed to remove 2 tablespoons of All Purpose Flour from the 1 cup of All Purpose Flour already in the Purple Mixing Bowl.

Then, you were supposed to add 2 tablespoons of Cornstarch to the All Purpose Flour already in the Purple Mixing Bowl.

Now I didn’t have any Cornstarch on me, so I had to borrow some from my sister-in-law.

She just popped the little thing of Cornstarch in the dumbwaiter in her Kitchen and sent it down to the main Kitchen (ground floor). Once I took what I needed, I sent it right back up the dumbwaiter.

The last step in making a substitute for Cake Flour is to sift all the contents together (All Purpose Flour + Cornstarch) at least 5 times.

Ideally, you’d place something larger than the actual sifter, under the sifter, so whatever you were sifting wouldn’t spill out.

According to google, I had just made a substitute for Cake Flour!

The recipe called for 1 and 1/4 cup of Cake Flour, but I really couldn’t be bothered with doing the math, so 1 cup of Cake Flour Substitute would just have to do.

I left the now completely sifted Cake Flour Substitute (AP Flour + Cornstarch) that I’d just made on standby (to be used during a later step).

Next, I chopped up the Walnuts into a slightly smaller size and left them on standby (to be used during a later step).

I believe that was pretty much it for the “prepping”.

First, you were supposed to add 2/3 of a cup of Brown Sugar.

I googled it real quick on my phone and found that 2/3 Cup was equal to 157.725491 mL

So, I figured I’d use the Green 1/2 Cup Measuring Spoon (118.32 ml) and the Pink 1/4 Cup Measuring Spoon (59.16 ml) to roughly get around 160 ml or 2/3 of a cup, as the recipe calls for.

Next, we do the same (using the same spoons) to add 2/3 of a cup of White Sugar (also known as regular sugar or granulated sugar, but I say white to make it easier to differentiate it).

The next step was to cut the Butter into little cubes.

All the various recipes really stressed the fact that the Butter had to be very, very cold.

If like me, you didn’t have a KitchenAid with the dough-kneader attachment (no clue what it’s actually called), then I’d suggest cutting up the Butter into smaller pieces, because whether you mixed them by hand or used an electric mixer, you were going to struggle.

The recipe called for 2 sticks of Butter and the ones I used were 100g each.

Next, I added the 2 sticks of cold, cubed Butter to the 2/3 cup of Brown Sugar and 2/3 cup of White Sugar already in my Purple Mixing Bowl.

I tried mixing everything together (like they did in the videos) using my Siemens Perfect Mix Electric Hand Mixer (two whisk attachments), but that just made everything fly out of the Purple Mixing Bowl (creating a mess).

Instead, I had to resort to manually mashing the Sugars and Butter together using a handheld whisk.

It took so much effort to mix them together (like, my arm was actually aching), which reminded me why I rarely made these cookies.

If you were going to be mixing them by hand (using a spoon or whisk or whatever), be prepared for a work-out lol

If you were going to be using an electric hand mixer (with the whisk attachments), then I’d suggest using a deeper mixing bowl (so there’d be less of a mess).

That said, I do believe the Siemens Perfect Mix 350w actually came with the dough-kneader attachment as well, but it got lost because this baby is ancient (plus, we moved houses back in 2012-2013).

Next, I added 2 cups of All Purpose Flour to the Purple Mixing Bowl.

Then, I added the 1 cup of Cake Flour Substitute (AP Flour + Cornstarch that I’d made earlier, sifted about 5 or 6 times and set aside).

Ideally, you’d use Cake Flour or Self-Raising Flour. Since I couldn’t get my hands on either of those, I googled a substitute, made it and used that instead.

Notice that you’d alternatively see a normal spoon (which I’d use for mixing) or a handheld whisk (which I used for mashing) because this stuff was so hard to mix! I kept alternating between the two lol

Next, I added 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder.

And 1/4 a teaspoon of Baking Soda

and 1/4 a teaspoon of Salt.

Then, I cracked 2 Eggs in a separate bowl, whisked them and slowly added them into the Purple Mixing Bowl.

The mixture was perfectly crumbly (as described in the videos), up until I added the Eggs.

Figuring that the Eggs would’ve added enough moisture to the mix (also, my arm hurt), I decided to try using my Siemens Perfect Mix Electric Handheld Mixer again.

As you can see, the mixture was still too dry and was consequentially flying everywhere! I was even digging out some of this stuff afterwards from inside the toaster lol

Eventually, I conceded defeat and added a little bit of Water (tablespoon or two).

The Water made such a big difference!

As you can see, the mixture was much easier to ummm… mix.

I continued mixing it using my Siemens Perfect Mix Electric Handheld Mixer 350w until it became so soft, smooth and creamy!

Next, I tore open (well, I used scissors) a whole bag of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chips (275g).

Some recipes call for Dark Chocolate (which pairs nicely with the Walnuts), but I prefer Milk Chocolate.

You can use whichever. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Adding the Hershey’s Chocolate Chips renders the Siemens Perfect Mix Electric Handheld Mixer 350w pretty much useless, unfortunately.

So from that point on, I had to go back to manually mixing by hand, using the spoon seen in the photo, as opposed to the white flexible mixing spoons people usually use for baking.

I find those flexible mixing spoons way too bend-y and effectively useless at mixing, which is why I prefer something much stiffer (like the spoon shown in the photo).

Anyhow, once again, it’s a work-out and a half, to try to mix everything together (making sure the Choco Chips are sorta’ evenly distributed in the mix).

Next, I added the Walnuts (that I’d chopped into smaller pieces earlier and set aside on standby).

I mixed everything together with a spoon, for the final time (thank goodness for that, because my arm was killing me lol).

Then, I formed the Cookie Dough into big round balls.

Ideally, they were supposed to be 6 ounces or 125 grams each. Honestly, I don’t have a scale so I just eyeballed it.

Next, I placed the balls of Cookie Dough on my Silicone Baking Sheet (also from Lakeland at Marina Mall, also circa 2016 lol), wrapped them in plastic wrap and popped them in the freezer for 90 minutes.

After about the halfway point, I turned on the oven (it needed quite some time to get fully hot), while the Cookie Dough Balls chilled in the freezer.

Some recipes suggest you keep them in the freezer for two hours, while others claimed an hour and a half was sufficient.

I was impatient, so after about an hour and a half, I took them out of the freezer.

To keep the bottom from burning, I decided to doublestack my pans.

First, I took a small, round Pizza Dish and flipped it upside down.

Then, I took the large Baking Sheet and stacked it on top of the now face-down Pizza Dish (you can sorta’ see it peeking out, in the photo).

Next, I sprayed some Crisco Butter on the Baking Tray and transferred the balls of Cookie Dough from the Lakeland Silicone Baking Sheet and onto the Baking Tray making sure to keep them evenly spaced out.

Finally, I popped them into the pre-heated oven (which had been on, for about an hour or so).

That little square cut-out in the corner with the blue flame coming out of it was one of two sources of heat. That little blue flame is also known as the Pilot Light.

The other source was the broiler on top (not turned on) which only broiled in a straight row (meaning I had to continuously keep turning the Baking Tray to get everything broiled equally).

I’d usually turn on the broiler for a minute or two and then keep moving the Baking Tray around inside, to make sure the broiler hits whatever is in the oven at the time, from every angle.

Also, those little white flecks are remnants of rolled up newspaper that the driver uses to light the Pilot Light, because he’s afraid of using the Kitchen Gas Lighter (with a long tip) which is what the rest of us use.

In any case, there’s no way to control the flame (temperature numbers are irrelevant). There’s either a medium flame (which is what we all use) or if you turn the knob, a high flame (which pretty much burns everything).

Same for the broiler on top. Medium heat and high heat.

All in all, it’s a pretty horrible oven, but it works lol

Unfortunately, after 20 minutes, instead of turning the oven off, I turned the broiler on (to give the Cookies some color).

A few minutes later, while consulting with the Carpenter, I excused myself and went back to the kitchen to turn the Baking Tray (so the top part of the Cookies wouldn’t burn).

As the Carpenter was leaving, the Electrician arrived and I got a bit caught up in the discussion and didn’t make it in time back to the kitchen.

The Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies ended up being a bit burnt on the bottom and top :(

I served them at the weekly family gathering (only immediate family members) which was the same day and everyone complimented their taste. So I took one and munched on it as well.

Honestly? Despite their appearance, not bad.

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween ♥

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