Gluten-Free Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies – Learn how to make Levain Bakery style thick gluten-free chocolate chip cookies at home. You’ll love their gorgeous texture and show-stopping size!
After spending most of the last decade eating gluten-free, I don’t really feel the same sadness or stress about it that I did in our earlier gluten-free days. We’ve got lots of yummy gluten-free recipes to make at home, a reliable list of restaurants to choose from with gluten-free options, and endless cookbooks and blogs to enjoy when we need some inspiration.
But every once in a while, I still get some sad gluten-free FOMO (more like SOMO–“sadness of missing out”). And Levain bakery chocolate chip cookies have been one of those things. Have you seen them? This New York City-based bakery is famous for their enormous 6 oz. (that’s 4″ wide and 1.25″ thick!) cookies.
They’re a great example of specializing and doing something exceptionally well. At the time that I write this, Levain Bakery only offers 5 flavors of cookies–chocolate chip walnut, chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, chocolate peanut butter chip cookies, and two chip chocolate chip cookies (with dark and semi-sweet chocolate chips).
Since I can’t try the real thing in person, I’ve spent the last few months reading EVERYTHING I can about Levain bakery cookies. And after some pretty thorough research and lots of testing, I think I’ve nailed gluten-free Levain chocolate chip cookies.
We’ll be making gluten-free two chip Levain cookies today, and here’s what makes them so unique and so delicious…
Levain-Style Thick Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, at a glance:
- What Makes These Levain Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies So Special
- Ingredients For Gluten-Free Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies
- How To Make Thick Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, Step-By-Step
- FAQ + Tips For The Best Gluten-Free Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies
- More Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes You’ll Love
- RECIPE: Gluten-Free Levain-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Here’s What Makes These Gluten-Free Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies So Unique:
Their Colossal Size.
I mean, you can’t dance around it. The first thing you’ll notice about gluten-free Levain chocolate chip cookies is their size. Levain says their cookies are a whopping 6 oz. That’s roughly 3 times size of the average chocolate chip cookie! They even go so far as to give dimensions–they should be 4 inches wide and about 1.25″ thick. That may not sound like a lot, but when it covers all of your palm and half your fingers, it feels like a lot!
One thing that’s surprising when you consider their enormous size is that Levain cookies are consistently described as having a light but crisp exterior that gives way to a gooey, gorgeous center. Another part of their signature look is the more rumpled, irregular surface shape. Instead of being perfectly smooth, they’ve got bumps and texture that bakes up beautifully. It gives them a really fun, homemade look that just adds to the experience!
Their Surprise Ingredient List.
In my research, I came across several bake-off style recipe tests comparing popular copycat recipes to the real thing. (This one from The Kitchn and this one from Pancake Princess were both especially helpful as I compared recipes.) While the actual Levain cookies use a mix of white flour and malted barley flour (according to the package ingredients on their frozen cookies), most of the popular copycat recipes use a mix of white flour and cake flour (which has less protein than typical white flour) as a way to get that light, gorgeous texture.
Store-bought gluten-free cake flour can be hard to come by, and most substitutes involve buying and combining several different flours and starches. I know not everyone can do that from a budget or availability standpoint, so one goal I had was to come up with an easy starch/protein combo that could mimic that cake flour texture AND be easy to find/use. In the end, I used a combination of gluten-free measure-for-measure flour and cornstarch that gives really lovely results–light, crisp exterior and soft, gooey center that holds its shape and doesn’t taste floury.
Their Baking Time & Temperature.
Since they’re so large, thick gluten-free chocolate chip cookies like these Levain-style cookies need to be baked at a higher temperature than typical cookies. Baking them at a temperature more than 400 degrees F. helps set the edges so they don’t spread too much and helps with that gorgeous textural contrast.
Here’s What You Need To Make Thick, Levain-Style Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- Cool Butter. A few of the Levain recipes I saw used cold cubed butter instead of softened butter. Dicing the cold butter into small cubes and beating them with the sugars means you spend a bit more time beating them. This incorporates more air into the dough, which helps keep them from being too dense. I kind of split the difference, and found that using slightly softened, but still cool butter was easy to work with and gave great texture.
- Brown Sugar & White Sugar. This classic cookie combo does wonders for flavor and texture, with brown sugar keeping them moist, while white sugar helps with that delicate crisp exterior.
- Eggs. Next up is a few eggs. These give the cookies some chewiness and help bind the dough together.
- Vanilla. According the ingredients list on their website, most of Levain Bakery’s cookies DON’T contain vanilla(!), but their two-chip chocolate chip cookies do. We’ll add a bit after the eggs, and I love the flavor it gives.
- Gluten-Free Measure-For-Measure Flour. We recommend King Arthur Measure For Measure Gluten-Free Flour. I love the mix of protein & starch and feel like it gives really consistent results. (If you use another brand, your results may vary slightly. Be sure the blend you use contains xanthan gum!)
- Cornstarch. Instead of the malted barley flour Levain uses, or the cake flour most Levain copycat recipes use, we’re adding cornstarch, which has more starch and less protein. Combined with the gluten-free flour, it gives these GORGEOUS texture without making them taste floury.
- Baking Soda. The original bakery recipe uses baking powder, but in my tests, using baking soda gave these gluten-free Levain chocolate chip cookies better texture.
- Sea Salt. We’re using rather a lot of salt for a cookie recipe, but it MAKES the cookies. They won’t taste salty by any means, but much like the Pancake Princess test kitchen results, I found that recipes that use less salt tasted flat and a bit blandly sweet. This amount makes all the other flavors pop!
- Dark Chocolate Chips & Semisweet Chocolate Chips. Since we’re making gluten-free Levain two-chip chocolate chip cookies, we’re using a generous mix of dark chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate chips. These cookies are known for having LOTS of chocolate inside!
How To Make Gluten-Free Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies, Step By Step:
We’re following the same basic assembly method as the Levain creators themselves use (see them mix up a batch here).
- Preheat The Oven & Prep Your Pans. Before starting your dough, preheat the oven to 415 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (You’ll bake just one batch at a time, but you don’t want to put cookie dough on a hot baking sheet!)
- Cream The Butter & Sugars. In a stand mixer, combine cool cubes of butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Cream the mixture 2-3 minutes or until it’s slightly lighter in color, creamy, and fluffy. (Don’t rush this step!)
- Add Eggs One At A Time. Scrape down the sides of the mixer and add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Since the butter is slightly colder, you may need to beat the eggs in an extra 30-60 seconds to get the mixture to emulsify. Pause as needed to scrape down the sides of your mixer to help things along.
- Mix In Vanilla. Next, add the vanilla extract and mix to incorporate.
- Add Flour, Cornstarch, Baking Soda, And Salt. Now, it’s time for the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the mixer again, and add the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until almost combined. (The dough should still be a bit powdery looking.)
- Add the Chocolate. Lastly, you’ll add all the chocolate chips. Mix just until the dough is no longer dry and the chocolate chips have been incorporated. Turn off the mixer and stir through with a spatula to make sure everything’s evenly distributed. (The dough will be thick and sticky at this point.)
- Scoop & Shape The Dough. Use a 2/3 cup measuring cup to scoop 6 oz. balls of dough. It’s best if you can weigh them to be even! Gently shape them into circular shapes with your hands. (Don’t pack the dough down tightly or roll them to be perfectly smooth!)
- Bake. Place 4 cookie dough dough balls on one of your baking trays (I put them offset from each other a bit–see the photos!) and bake 11-14 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and set and the centers are still wet. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat with the second batch of 4-5 cookies on the second (cool) baking sheet.
- Cool 20-25 minutes before eating! It’ll be hard to wait (I know!), but you’ll need to let the cookies cool a full 20-25 minutes on the cooling rack before you eat them. The residual heat from the oven will help set and finish the cookies so they aren’t raw in the middle.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Watch The Bake Time! These thick gluten-free chocolate chip cookies bake differently than most traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes. You’re baking at a high temperature, and a longer amount of time. The goal is for the cookies to be tall (not spread too much!) and golden brown on top. They will look darker than most chocolate chip cookies, but should still be
LET THEM SET BEFORE YOU EAT THEM! This is maybe the #1 most important tip I can give you about gluten-free Levain cookies. They’ll come out deep golden brown on the outside, but won’t be all the way done on the inside when you pull them out of the oven. Because of how thick they are, they. need the full 20-25 minutes to cool before you break into them. If you try to cut, break, or eat them before they’re fully cooled, they’ll be doughy in the center.
Use Quality Chocolate Chips When You Can. One thing that makes Levain two-chip chocolate chip cookies so impressive is the sheer volume of chocolate in the cookies. There’s a LOT of chocolate chips packed into these cookies! Because of that, the quality matters more. I recommend using the highest quality chocolate chips that fit your budget. My pick is Guittard dark chocolate chips (red bag) and semi-sweet chocolate chips (yellow/gold bag). I usually find them at Target for the best price!
Does Levain Have Gluten-Free Cookies? Not yet! Hopefully someday, but for now, our gluten-free Levain chocolate chip cookie recipe is the closest we can get 😉
Our Favorite Tools & Ingredients For These cookies:
- The Best Gluten-Free Flour – makes light cakes & muffins, fudgy brownies, and gorgeous cookies!
- Light-Colored Baking Sheets – For even baking. These last forever!
- Pre-Cut Parchment Sheets – To make things easier on yourself. Especially great when you’re working with multiple batches.
- Inexpensive Kitchen Scale – Weighing your flour will give you the BEST bakes possible, and will help you make even balls of cookie dough. It makes a big difference in how evenly the cookies bake!
- Stand Mixer – I love my mixer and use it for EVERYTHING. All of the things. It’s great for big batches of dough like this one.
- Paddle Attachment – Great for mixing cookie dough and cake batter! It’s got a spatula edge that naturally scrapes the sides of the bowl so you don’t have to pause to scrape down the sides as often.