Thursday, December 28, 2006

World Peace Cookies (Korova Cookies)

These, along with the no-knead bread, are all over the food blogging community. I plan to try the bread, maybe even later today, and did make the cookies right before Christmas. They really are fantastic; rich and deeply chocolatey and easy. The saltiness of them works beautifully with the chocolate. Other blogs I'd read had suggested this was not really a recipe for children, but my 9 year old loves them and has been sneaking them. I still think the ginger cookies are the best cookies ever, but these come close. The recipe I used comes from Splendid Table from Dorie Greenspan, who says this:

I once said I thought these cookies, the brainchild of the Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé, were as important a culinary breakthrough as Toll House cookies, and I've never thought better of the statement. These butter-rich, sandy-textured slice-and-bake cookies are members of the sablé family. But, unlike classic sablés, they are midnight dark — there's cocoa in the dough — and packed with chunks of hand-chopped bittersweet chocolate. Perhaps most memorably, they're salty. Not just a little salty, but remarkably and sensationally salty. It's the salt — Pierre uses fleur de sel, a moist, off-white sea salt — that surprises, delights and makes the chocolate flavors in the cookies seem preternaturally profound.

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (I had coarse sea salt; I crushed it in a mortar and pestle, which was a very quick job and worked fine)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits (I used the good, inexpensive pound plus 72% dark chocolate from Trader Joe's).
*Sift together flour, cocoa, and baking soda.
*Beat butter in standing mixer until creamy and light. Add sugar and beat. Add salt and vanily and beat until creamy.
*Dump in dry ingredients. Drape a towel over mixer (or use the splatter guard, which I just remembered now that I have) VERY CAREFULLY (you don't want it to get caught in the beaters of death) and pulse 5 or so times, one second each, until flour is somewhat incorporated.
*Mix at low speed about 30 seconds until batter is just combined. Do not overmix.
*Add chocolate pieces and mix again briefly.
*Divide dough into two on pieces of waxed paper. Shape into rough log and wrap in paper, then roll out until it's about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill for three hours at least in fridge; may freeze at this point.
*Preheat oven to 325. Line baking sheets with parchment or Silpat (I think greasing the sheets would be fine, too.)
*Slice log into 1/2'"slices. Note: this is a lot thicker than most icebox cookies, but it works. T hey may crumble when sliced-that's OK, just squish them back together. Arrange on sheet, leaving 1" or so between them.
*Bake 12 minutes only. They will still look underbaked; that is ok. Cool for at least 5 minutes on sheet before transferring to rack. Eat warm or cool.

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