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NYC recipes: How to make Levain-Style red velvet cookies

New York City is known for its iconic foods – and the irresistible cookies from Levain Bakery are definitely a city’s staple. These thick, chunky delights are loved by locals and tourists and it’s no hard to understand why. And trying to recreate these cookies was something I’ve been thinking about for a while – and I finally did it! So, today, I’m bringing you a Levain-style recipe. But since I wanted to add my twist, this is a red velvet flavor. I absolutely love red velvet – not sure if Levain ever offered this flavor.

So, on a side note, here’s one thing about me: I love to cook, and recently, I started to getting more interested in trying to recreate dishes I’ve tried at restaurants. But here’s another fact about me: surprisingly, baking is something I’ve only recently started to explore. This red velvet cookie was my first cookie ever – I mean, I made it once, then I added some twists and then I took advantage that my sister was visiting me – she is an amazing photographer – to take some pictures and also film a video – that you can check on my IG. And let me tell you… there’s something magical about baking. It’s about the process of mixing ingredients to a dough, shaping it, baking it, and finally tasting it. It’s different. It requires precision, attention and patience. It’s so nice to bake something from scratch – I can’t wait to try more recipes!

So, I hope you like these cookies as much as my friends and family love them as well!

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from The Domestic Rebel. I first tried her recipe and then I made some modifications and added my twist.

Levain-Style red velvet cookies

Ingredients – yields 8 cookies of 170g each.  

  •  227 g unsalted butter in cubes
  • 150 g granulated white sugar
  • 150 g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp red liquid food coloring  – I read that gel is better cause it provides a more vivid red color!
  • 25 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 120 grams cake flour – from my researches, this is one of Levain secrets!
  • 210 grams all-purpose flour
  • 340 white chocolate chips
  • 170 semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: Fleur de Sel flakes
  • Using a stand mixer, mix the butter with the granulated white sugar and the light brown sugar. Start with 30 seconds, at low speed, and then increase the speed every 30 seconds, until the mixture is fluffy. It’s not gonna be fully incorporated
  • Next, add the eggs, then the vanilla extract and then the red food coloring and cocoa powder. You can use low speed.
  • Finally, you can add the baking soda, cornstarch, salt, cake flour and all-purpose flour and mix until everything is together.
  • Using low speed, mix in the white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, only until incorporated.
  • Make balls with the dough – in order to have them with the same size, you can use a scale to measure 170 g of dough. I recently bought cookies at Levain Bakery and weighed them and they are this size!
  • So, here’s the deal I learned with a friend that studied baking: to prevent the cookies from spreading too much when baking and being flat, you should freeze the dough and bake it directly from the freezer. I recommend freezing the dough for at least 3 hours. When you are ready, preheat oven to 410° degrees F and prepare a cookie baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the dough balls on the baking sheet, with a good space between them.
  • I bake mine for 11 minutes – the cookies will look “jelly” when you take them from the oven, but trust the process. If you want, you can sprinkle the Fleur de Sel flakes now, while the cookies are still hot. I personally love the touch of salt on sweet cookies!
  • Let them sit for 30-40 minutes before eating them.
  • UPDATE: a reader told me that if you keep the cookies in the freezer for 24h and pre-heat the oven with the baking sheet inside already you will have a better result. The cookies will hold up better and spread a lot less, more crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.

I hope you like this recipe!

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