The best cookies on the planet, exactly like the originals, but vegan and gluten free! These wonderfully oversized vegan Levain cookies are absolutely bursting with chocolate chips and walnuts and happiness.
I can’t remember when I was first introduced to Levain cookies, but I cannot imagine my life without them. Mastering these cookies as vegan and gluten free became a necessity for me when I cut dairy, eggs, and gluten out of my diet. The problem with them is that even though my brain knows that one of these cookies is equivalent to at least 3 regular sized cookies, my heart still tells me to eat a full one each time.
These are dangerous. But worth it.
I love to make these vegan Levain cookies as they are in the original version, filled with chocolate chips and walnuts, but of course you can customize if you prefer a different type of nut or chip combo.
Many thanks to this recipe for being the best regular copycat version I have found, it was a wonderful guide through my trial and error process here. And an honorable mention here goes to my cousin, the Levain Queen of our family, who sends these cookies to everyone for every occasion that requires cookies (all occasions. All occasions require cookies).
How To Make Them:
Set aside some time here, my friends! To make these perfect vegan Levain cookies, well, perfect, you will need to chill them for 2 hours, and then let them cool for at least 30 minutes once they’re out of the oven. They are SO worth it, but this is not a recipe you begin at 9pm if you need a quick cookie fix. (Though if you can eat cookies at midnight and still sleep afterwards then more power to you!)
The harrowing waiting time aside, these cookies come together exactly like regular sized cookies. You cream together the butter and sugars (see the Ingredients Needed section to learn how to make these a little lower in sugar!), add in the milk, mix in the dry ingredients, then mix in the chips and walnuts. Then you stare at your fridge for 2 hours willing them to somehow come together faster. Some time during this, preheat your oven to 410.
Time to bake and cool..
Once chilled, roll the dough into 5 giant balls. Make sure you let them warm up at room temperature for around 5 minutes before baking! If you do RIGHT from the fridge the center will be too cold and not bake properly. Finally, pop them into the oven. Bake at 410°F for 13-15 minutes. 13 will yield you a gooier cookie, while 15 will be more browned around the edges and fully cooked through. My sweet spot is around 14.5 minutes. The high temperature here is needed to achieve the balance of cooking them all the way through, avoiding too much spread, and not letting them get overdone on the edges or outside. I tried a few batches at a “low and slow” temperature which also works very well, but makes the inside a bit more cakey. If for any reason your oven struggles at high heat, you certainly can make these work at 325 for 30 minutes, but it’s less than ideal.
Once they’re out of the oven, make sure you let them cool on the pan for at least 15-20 minutes, then ideally let them cool on a cooling rack for another 30 or so minutes. I know the wait is hard, but they will firm up in this time and be strong enough to pick up and take bites out of rather than being a gooey falling apart cookie. But then that’s it! Time to eat your Vegan Levain Cookies!!
Nutritional info can be found in the Notes section below the recipe instructions.
After they have cooled, seal in an air-tight container and store at room temperature. These are magical and will stay nearly good as new for around 5 days.
Pro Tips & Tools:
- Make sure you are measuring your flour either by weight or using the spoon and level method. Do not scoop directly from the container, as you will wind up with too much! This is so important! If you want to buy a pre-made gluten free flour blend, make sure it’s King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour, it is BY FAR the best one for my recipes, NOT Bob’s Red Mills or any others. If you want to make a homemade blend, here is a link to the one I use.
- This tip goes for all cookie recipes – if it is your first time trying a new cookie recipe, if you have the time, I always suggest baking one cookie first before putting the full batch in the oven. That way if something is not working right for your batch, you can adjust before you’ve wasted all the dough. If it spreads too much, adding a little more flour is usually a safe fix. Or if it’s too dry and not spreading at all, it may need some more liquid ingredients, in this case a bit more non-dairy milk.
- If you want to achieve that perfect chocolate chip cookie look, while the cookies are cooling, you can lightly press a few extra chips into the tops.
- Make sure your chocolate chips are vegan. I use this brand, but whatever you like best will work!
- Since these cookies are getting chilled, you don’t need to worry too much about the temperature of the butter. I like it to be soft enough to cream easily with the sugars.
- Vegan butter – I use Earth Balance sticks.
- Granulated sugar and light brown sugar – the mixture of both of these leads to the perfect cookie flavor and consistency. Crispy on the outside, chewy and gooey on the inside. To keep these true to the originals you will want to use both brown and white sugar, but if you want to cut back on your sugar intake, I love using this Monkfruit Sweetener in place of the granulated sugar.
- Non-dairy milk – the milk keeps these moist, and also works as a binding agent since these are egg-free. I usually use soy or almond milk, feel free to use your favorite.
- Flour – Make sure you are measuring your flour either by weight or using the spoon and level method. Do not scoop directly from the container, as you will wind up with too much! This is so important! If you want to buy a pre-made gluten free flour blend, make sure it’s King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour, it is BY FAR the best one for my recipes, NOT Bob’s Red Mills or any others. If you want to make a homemade blend, here is a link to the one I use.
- Cornstarch – the secret cookie ingredient to keep them soft and wonderful.
- Baking soda
- Chocolate chips – Make sure these are dairy free to keep it vegan! I love these, but use your favorite. I think ¾ of a cup is the perfect amount here, but you can go more or less depending on your chocolate craving.
- Walnuts – as mentioned above, feel free to swap out with nut or mix-in of your choice, but this is how the original cookie is made.
What To Bake Next:
- Want more chocolate chip cookies? Try these Vegan Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, or these Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
- Want other copycats of old favorites? Try these Vegan Copycat Entenmann’s Donuts, or these Vegan Copycat Thin Mint Cookies.
- Want to branch out in your cookie eating? Try these Vegan Fudgy Brownie Cookies, or these Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
Perfect Vegan Copycat Levain Cookies (Gluten Free option)
- ½ cup vegan butter softened
- ¼ cup granulated sugar *if you want a sugar free option, this links to my favorite sweetener, you can substitute it 1:1 in place of regular granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp non-dairy milk
- 1½ cups gluten free flour can sub all-purpose if desired. This links to my favorite store bought gluten free flour blend that works best with all of my recipes, or see "Ingredients Needed" section for further info.
- 1½ tsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt
- 3/8 tsp baking soda
- ¾ cup vegan chocolate chips
- ¾ cup walnuts
- In a large bowl, cream together vegan butter with both sugars until it is smooth. Then add in the milk and mix together fully.
- Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, and mix until fully combined. Then add in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. As painful as this wait is, do not skip it or skimp on the time!
- While your dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 410°F, and line a big baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Once the dough is chilled, remove from the fridge and make 5 giant balls of equal size. Make sure you let the dough warm up for about 5 minutes before putting into the oven.
- Bake at 410°F for 13-15 minutes. 13 will yield you a gooier cookie, while 15 will be more browned around the edges and fully cooked through. My sweet spot is around 14.5 minutes.
- The cookies will continue to cook on the tray after you remove them! Let them rest for about 15 minutes before touching, that’s mandatory, then move to a cooling rack to let cool further. If you want it to fully firm up, I’d suggest letting it cool an additional 30 minutes on the rack.
- Eat and enjoy!
Total amount: 5 cookies
Serving size: 1 cookie ** Reminder – 1 cookie here is the same size as 3-4 regular sized cookies!Per serving amounts:
- Calories – 721
- Grams of fat – 42.8
- Grams of carbs – 76.9
- Grams of protein – 13.7