Gluten-Free Levain Cookies

So I am fully aware of my penchant for making giant cookies. I just happen to own a really large ice cream scoop, so with that comes really large scoops of ice cream and cookie dough! So when I would visit New York, once of the most iconic bakeries there was Levain. Known for their giant cookies, Levain is a New York icon in the bakery scene. Imagine these really big, chunky cookies, studded with chocolate chips and walnuts, crunchy on the outside, gooey and almost raw in the middle. That’s a Levain cookie. I wanted to make a recipe inspired directly from that, but also adapting it to be gluten-free, and using one of my favorite Asian ingredients in mochiko! Mochiko, or glutinous rice flour, gives baked goods this gooey, dense center, which is perfect for a cookie that’s inspired by Levain. I also used almond flour, which adds a crispy crunch to any baked goods, just to help the exterior of my cookies get super crunchy and almost biscuit-like. The rest of the cookie is fairly standard, with your usual cookie culprits of butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and baking powder. I also used cinnamon, walnuts, and chocolate to bring in that nostalgia factor as well!

The key to nailing these cookies is the technique. I used a green handled ice cream scoop to scoop 6 reasonably large mounds of dough. I also made sure to refrigerate them, just to guarantee that the insides of the cookie stay nice and cold – you want it to be almost like dough in the middle still! These cookies bake at a high temperature for a shorter amount of time to achieve that signature Levain gooey interior – most cookies bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, these bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes instead. Since these cookies are gluten-free, they need time to properly cool down before you could even remove them from the baking tray. Attempting to do so prematurely will result in the cookies falling apart in your hands and turning into a bizarre half-baked dough puddle. So I recommend throwing them straight into the freezer from the oven if you wanted to eat one right away. While these are 100% gluten-free, it is not really that detectable – all of the butter, sugar, and eggs make 100% certain of that!

Makes 6 cookies:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cups mochiko
3/4 cups almond flour
1/4 tsp xanthan or guar gum
a pinch of salt

In a bowl, whip together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and cinnamon until soft and creamy in texture. Mix into that the eggs first. Then mix in the remaining ingredients. Chill down the dough for at least 10 minutes before scooping into 6 balls. Place them on a lined half sheet tray, spacing each ball of dough at least 3 inches apart from the next. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool down at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before attempting to pick up!

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