Sunday, May 18, 2008

World Peace Cookies

Dorie's World Peace Cookies. That's such a misleading name. Seriously, I would end world peace for one of these things. Especially with my own addition - cacao nibs. This is my second time making these cookies, and I went strictly according to the recipe last time. They were amazing, but I actually wasn't a big fan of the melty bits of chocolate throughout. Not to mention that I didn't make them small enough so cutting the cookies was a little difficult.

But this variation - oh yes. I broke out another of my treasured baking ingredients - cacao nibs. I hadn't even opened them yet, I was waiting for just the right reason. I was torn between these and some of the delicious cookies that Alice Medrich's books have included, but since I own this book, the Korova cookies won out in the end.

The nibs added a crunchy, intensely chocolatey note to the cookies (because really, don't we all think that the cookies need more chocolate :-P ) Last time I made these, I couldn't even wait until they had cooled to dig in, so I only tried them still gooey and warm from the oven. These, I waited, and was rewarded. Once cool, they have a thin rim of flaky crunchiness that surrounds a gooey, chewy center peppered with crunchy cacao nibs and intermittent bursts of fleur du Sel. Three different textures goes a long way in adding to these already complex little cookies. Oddly enough, while I could eat a half a dozen of them right out of the oven, I couldn't eat more than one or two at a time once they were cool. It almost seemed like they were more intensely chocolatey and decadent once cool.

Oh, and thanks to my new ice cream maker, I'm already plotting on adding hunks of this cookie dough to a vanilla ice cream. Seriously, it just sounds YUM.

World Peace Cookies (from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my home to yours)

Makes about 36 cookies

Here's what Dorie had to say about the cookies:
"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.

When I included these in Paris Sweets, they were called Korova Cookies and they instantly won fans, among them my neighbor Richard Gold, who gave them their new name. Richard is convinced that a daily dose of Pierre's cookies is all that is needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness."

* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup unsweetened 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
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 2 1/2 oz cacao nibs

1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

3. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting Ready to Bake:

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

6. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them — don't be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won't look done, nor will they be firm, but that's just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.


bakersbakery said...

Is it Tuesday!? ;)
I've been dying to make these!
They look great! :)

rainbowbrown said...

Cocao nibs? Fleur de sel? Your cookies are beginning to win my heart...Okay, I've never actually had fleur de sel, but if one of my family members/friends/boyfriend doesn't get it for me this birthday I'm dis-owning all of them. Ahem, sorry about the tangent...lovely cookies, really.

Di said...

Yum--I'll have to give these a try. When I've made cookies with nibs, I've definitely found that they are much better after a day or two than they are right out of the oven.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

oh--i bought these in pierre herme's shop when i went to paris. i ate them all on the plane ride home!
cocao nibs are a fabulous swap for this recipe!

Anne said...

I've been meaning to try those, I'm glad you liked them!

Bharti Khemani said...

I just read on "For the love of Food" that I've been paired up with you for Taste and Create. My first visit to your blog and looks like I have a lot to learn from ya! These cookies look too decadent and I am just in need of a chocolate fix right now!! Lovely to meet you!