Show your Valentine your love with the thickest, gooiest, chocolate chip cookies

For Valentine's Day, go big with these massive, overstuffed, bakery-inspired chocolate chip cookies

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published February 10, 2023 12:30PM (EST)

Valentine chocolate chip cookie (Mary Elizabeth Williams)
Valentine chocolate chip cookie (Mary Elizabeth Williams)

In "Quick & Dirty," Salon Food's Mary Elizabeth Williams serves up simplified recipes and shortcuts for exhausted cooks just like you — because quick and dirty should still be delicious.

I'm not much one for holidays. Any day of the year that involves an implied pressure to a) shop and b) summon certain heightened emotions always immediately makes me uncomfortable. But red is my color and I do love chocolate so I don't completely hate on Valentine's Day. I just prefer to do it my way.

There's no food that says "I love you" quite like chocolate chip cookies. They're warm and comforting, but also relaxed and playful. They are equally well-received by lovers and besties, which makes them a dark horse hit for Valentines of all relationship statuses. And on a holiday that rewards those who go big, why not go about as big as it gets?

Famed New York bakery Levain makes some of the most formidable cookies you will ever encounter. Their size — along with a few other signature flourishes — means they are addictively crunchy on the edges and meltingly soft on the inside. Every time I go to Levain, I make a great show of boggling at how laughably huge my cookie is, and then the next thing I know there is nothing left in my hand but a napkin and some crumbs.

Looking to create a Levain-ish experience at home, I turned first to The Pancake Princess, a compulsively readable bake-off blog that's like a steel cage match for all your favorite dessert recipes. While the version from Bravetart's Stella Parks took the best overall, it was Hijabs and Aprons's "low effort, high payoff" close contender that piqued my interest. I love that there are no special ingredients and no chilling necessary, and I've made the recipe even simpler by throwing it all together in one bowl. Levain reportedly does not use vanilla extract in their own cookies, so you should feel free to leave it out here if you like. 

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I generally prefer my chocolate chip cookies without nuts, which I feel take up valuable real estate that could better be occupied by more chocolate. But a restrained amount of chopped walnuts is actually pretty perfect here, a crunchy element of interest to hold your attention as you're working your way through the behemoth. 

You will have certain thoughts when you're making these, like, "That doesn't seem like enough flour" and "Hm, that's a lot of salt" and "Wow, these portions look really big." Yeah, that's why they're going to taste so damn incredible. Still warm from the oven, they are gooey and sweet but not too sweet. And they're big enough that if you really, really love the person you're making them for, you can offer to share one. 

* * *

Inspired by Hijabs & Aprons and Stella Parks

Levain-style heavyweight chocolate chip cookies
 8 servings
Prep Time
 10 minutes 
Cook Time
 10 - 14 minutes


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened

  • 1 cup of light brown sugar, lightly packed

  •  1/4 cup of granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs 

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour 

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt 

  •  1 cup of chopped walnuts 

  • 2 1/2 cups of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, or a mix of your favorite chocolate chips

  • Optional: 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract



  1. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. If you are making your cookies now, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. With a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together about 3 minutes. You want it nicely whipped.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time until mixed. If using, add the vanilla. 
  4.  Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Start on a lower speed, and then increase slowly.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts to incorporate thoroughly. 
  6. Scoop out the dough to form 4 rough, craggy cookies per each cookie sheet. For extra cragginess, break each in half and then smoosh back together with the broken halves out. If you are feeling romantic, you can shape them into something vaguely heart-shaped. 
  7. You can at this point stick the cookies in the fridge to chill until you're ready to bake them, or proceed right to baking.
  8. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, depending on the blast of your oven and whether the dough was chilled first. Start checking after 10 minutes. They should look only lightly golden; they will finish baking as they cool.
  9. Remove from oven, then let cool on the pan about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. These are best when eaten while warm.

Cook's Notes

You could omit the nuts for a slightly smaller but equally impressive cookie.

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By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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