This is a copycat version of Levain Bakery’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie. I think these taste almost exactly like the original ones. The cookies are thick and have a very rich chocolate flavor. They have a gooey melted center and are also packed with peanut butter chips.
If you’ve been following my blog, you may already know my obsession with Levain Bakery’s cookies. So far I’ve recreated their chocolate chip cookie and their dark chocolate chip cookie. And now I am sharing a copycat version of the dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookies.
I was fortunate enough to try the real thing a few years ago during my trip to NYC. But since I don’t live in NYC, I recreated the cookies at home.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie Highlights
There are a few things that stand out when I’m eating Levain Bakery’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies, which I tried to achieve when making the copycat version.
- Very rich dark chocolate flavor. The cookies have an intense chocolate flavor.
- Soft gooey center with melted chips. Levain Bakery is famous for their underbaked cookies, which result in the cookies tasting like they came fresh out of the oven even after they have cooled and set.
- Thick cookies. Levain Bakery’s cookies bake up very thick and hefty, which each cookie weighing 6 oz.
- Light, tender crumb. Despite their thickness, the cookies have a very light crumb.
To achieve the rich chocolate flavor, I recommend using dutch process cocoa powder. Dutch process cocoa powder has a richer color and flavor and I think it helps create a better chocolate flavor in the cookies.
While most of my chocolate chip cookie recipes use a combination of brown and white sugar, I highly recommend sticking to white sugar only. The brown sugar adds another flavor but also distracts from the chocolate flavor. Using only white sugar will let the chocolate flavor really be the star.
To achieve the unique tender and light crumb, the cookies need a combination of cake flour and all purpose flour.
How to Make the Cookies Thick
There are a few things that make the cookies thick.
- Cornstarch– adding cornstarch to the cookies will keep them thick and soft.
- Peanut butter chips– The cookies use a lot of mix-ins which keep them thick. If you reduce the amount of chips, the cookies will spread out and be thinner.
- Refrigerate the cookie dough-Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes before baking. This will help keep the cookies from spreading too much and also make the dough easier to work with.
Additional Baking Tips
- Keep the dough balls loose. Normally cookies are rolled into round, smooth balls before being baked. But for these cookies, you want to loosely grab the dough and keep the balls very loose rather than tight and smooth. This is how they do it at Levain Bakery based on videos I’ve watched.
- Don’t overbake. The cookies should be set on the outside but still gooey on the inside when you remove the cookies from the oven. You will then let the cookies continue to cook and set on the baking sheet. Do not attempt to remove the cookies for about 30 minutes or they will fall apart. After 30 minutes, the cookies should be set enough to move them. They should maintain their melty peanut butter chip center for 1-2 hours after being baked.
- Cooking time plays a huge factor in how your cookies will come out. Bake 1-2 minutes too long and your cookies won’t have a melty center. Underbake them too much and they will not set. Since every oven runs a little differently, I recommend testing 1-2 cookies to figure out the ideal baking time for your oven before baking the full batch.
- Only bake one sheet at a time. The cookies bake best in the middle of the oven.
Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 ¼ cups peanut butter chips
- Preheat oven to 410°F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until evenly mixed in. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure all the butter and sugar gets mixed in with the egg.
- Add cocoa powder, cake flour, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and mix on the lowest speed cycle until dough forms. Be careful not to overmix. Stir in the peanut butter chips
- Use your hands to grab dough and place onto scale until you have a dough ball with a weight of 6 oz. Keep your dough ball very loose. Do not compact it, roll it, or smooth it out.
- Place only four cookies on each baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 2 cookies per row in a stagged pattern. (Please see my photo above for how I spaced them.)
- Bake only one sheet at a time in the middle row of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until surface looks cooked but the middle of the cookies are not fully set. Let cookies set and cool for 20-30 minutes on the baking sheet before attempting to remove them. After that, cookies should be set enough to be removed in one piece. When you break them open they should still have a melty peanut butter center.
- Slightly adapted from Modern Honey
- This recipe makes 8 full 6-oz cookies with some dough leftover for one smaller cookie.
- If your cookies are spreading too much, please see the blog post for details on what makes the cookies stay thick.
- Because 1-2 minutes can make such a big difference in the cookie outcome, I recommend baking 1 test cookie to find the ideal time for your oven. If you cook the cookies too long they will be fully set and will not have a gooey center. If you underbake them too much, even after the cooling period, the cookies will not be set and will fall apart.
- I used Reese's peanut butter chips.* I've also had success using Aldi's brand of peanut butter chips.
- *This product link is an affiliate link. This means I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases (at no extra charge to you).
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
These cookies were great! My friend said it was one of the best cookies he’d ever eaten! Highly recommend them.
Thanks so much for letting us know! We’re glad you guys loved them.
Hi Kirbie! How many bags of Reese’s peanut butter chips did you need to purchase for this recipe? Thanks!
We use three (10-oz) bags for this recipe.
Instead of the cake flour can I use all all-purpose flour?
We’ve only tested this recipe with cake flour – using AP flour will change the texture of the cookies and you would need a different amount. Sorry we can’t help!
I’m so glad you liked them!
Hi, can you freeze the cookies raw? I want to be able to keep a stock in the freezer and bake them as needed.
These were the BEST cookies I have ever had! I followed the recipe exactly except I used salted butter because I like the salty sweet flavor. I used the King Arthur Bensdorp Dutch Process cocoa and they came out so decadent. Absolutely amazing, thank you!
I’m so glad they worked out for you!
I’m making these for a group dinner tonight, but I want to make them smaller (the regular cookie size) so that more people will get them. How should I adjust the baking time? Should I lower the temperature?
I have not tested making them smaller so I don’t know what the adjusted time or temp would be
I have made this cookie as well as your versions of Levain’s oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip. Absolutely got rave reviews on the first two! You recommend vanilla in those but not this one. I felt like something was missing. Not sure if it was that I needed to add vanilla or the fact that I couldn’t find Dutch process cocoa. I just used Hershey’s cocoa.
You can try adding vanilla if you feel that is what was missing. I don’t believe Levain uses vanilla in theirs. I think using dutch process cocoa will also make a huge difference. It’s a much richer chocolate flavor. I hope you are able to try it with dutch process sometime!
Your recipe calls for 3 1/4 c peanut butter chips….. the recipe on modern honey calls for 1.5 cups. That is vastly different. How much should I use)
I used 3 1/4 cups. My recipe is not the exact same as Modern Honey’s. That is why it says adapted. I found that 3 1/4 cups to be more like the ones served at Levain Bakery. The chips also help give the cookies their thickness.
Hi Kirbie, love this recipe. Quick question. Can I make the cookies and then bake them a day or two before serving?
These are amazing! Followed recipe to a tee and they are just like Levains. Thank you!
I’m so glad you enjoyed!
Hi, i really love all your recipes. I really want to try this one, but it’s hard to find peanut butter chips in my country. What should I do ?
make them with regular chocolate chips instead?
Can I use self rising cake flour? It’s all I have for cake flour.
yes but you would need to adjust the baking powder amount
There is no baking powder in this recipe and this, using self rising flour would alter the texture significantly.
Sorry, we meant to say baking soda in the comment.
Amazing!!!!! Seriously the most delicious cookies ever!! Thank you!
I’m so glad you enjoyed!
These look amazing! I wish you would have included the metric version of the recipe. I will do the conversion myself before I give them a try. Thanks for sharing.