I was on a mission…a mission to recreate the famous Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies into a gluten free and egg free version. I knew that I could make a strictly gluten free version of this famous cookie, but one without eggs? Now that would be a bit more challenging.
While I’ve never actually indulged in a cookie from the Levain Bakery, I know that their cookies are known for their thickness, sheer ginormous size, and ooey-gooey interior. While I stared into my pantry trying to formulate how to create a sizeable cookie that was tender but not dry, soft but not mushy, and gluten and egg free but still able to hold together, I realized that I would need to change up the traditional butter and flour ingredients that I normally used in my cookies.
I opted to use equal parts of butter and cream cheese in my dough knowing that the inclusion of cream cheese would produce a softer, denser cookie. I made sure to use very cold butter. I actually pulled a stick of butter out of the freezer and, using a box grater, grated the butter. I hoped that there would be little chunks of butter left in the dough (much like biscuits). I also opted to add potato starch to the dough; this would add lightness to my cookie and permit me to use less flour eliminating any toughness in the dough.
After mixing my ingredients together, I took a swipe at the dough. It was good…very good (always a good sign). Now only time in oven would tell if my experiment worked.
The results were in: they didn’t look anything like the Levain cookies. They were big, crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside, but they lacked the height I had hoped for. Was I disappointed? A little bit. But that disappointment soon disappeared the moment I gave these cookies a taste. These cookies…my cookies…were nothing short of amazing.
The addition of cream cheese to the dough yielded a cookie with a bit of tang (in a really great way). The addition of potato starch created a unique texture (like super texture). The little bits of butter present in the batter did something amazing to the inside of these cookies. The absence of eggs had zero affect on the quality of these cookies. They held together perfectly after a rest period.
So while my experiment technically failed, I’m considering it a HUGE success. I get to add this amazing cookie to my arsenal of gluten free cookies….and so do you!
Gluten Free Giant Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies (Egg Free)
yields 10 giant cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold salted butter, grated
1/2 cup cream cheese spread, cold
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum (I used Bob’s 1 to 1)
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
10 oz. milk chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large, stainless steel baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
One important step in this recipe is to ensure that the butter you are using is very cold. I opted to leave a stick of butter in the freezer overnight and pulled it directly from the freezer before use. I used the largest holes on a box grater to grate the butter. I then placed the butter into the bowl of stand mixer and mixed the butter for 2 minutes.
Do not, I repeat, do not use softened butter in this recipe. Your end product will be very different.
Add the cream cheese (again, cold, right from the fridge), brown sugar, and granulated sugar into the bowl. Mix until combined. You will likely need to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Mix for 2-3 minutes. There should be some lumps present (those are the little bits of butter).
Add in the potato starch, gluten free flour, and baking powder. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Measure out the dough by the 1/4 cup full. Remove the dough from the measure cup, but do not roll or pat down the ball of dough. Simply place the ball onto the prepared baking sheet. Cookies should be 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven. Allow the cookies to sit on the baking tray for 10 minutes prior to transferring to a cooling rack. If you transfer the cookies immediately, they will almost certainly fall apart. The rest time is crucial (remember there are no eggs or gluten to hold these together – the ingredients must simply cool together).