Saturday, September 10, 2011

World Peace Cookies

Maybe everyone else, or at least the French, are fully aware of the world of sables; however, this is my introduction to it.  And, I'm afraid there is no going back.

Sables are like the French version of shortbread.  They are butter based, which is in no small part why they are so good.  What I fell head over heels for is their texture (again, in no small part due to the butter).  'Sable' in French means sand, and the outside is sandy, with a firm texture, but the inside is tender and melty.  I honestly cannot imagine a better texture for a cookie.  Couple that with the fact that they are chocolate through and through, except for a edge of sea salt, and no wonder these cookies promise to bring world peace!

Start by sifting together your dry ingredients.
Then really cream together the butter.
Add the sugars, vanilla, and salt.
Did I mention that the salt really puts these sables over the top?
Whip that all together.
Now, for adding the dry ingredients, since there is cocoa powder, which tends to explode like a bomb when you mix it, Dorie Greenspan has you cover the bowl with a tea towel while you add the dry ingredients.  Brilliant!

Once the flour is a little incorporated, you can mix it until just incorporated.

Next, add in some chocolate chips.

Make sure they are good, dark chocolate chips.  I like Ghiradelli 60% chips.

Pour that out onto a surface, and shape into a disk.

Divide the dough in half.  And roll each half into a log, wrapping it, and let it chill.

One thing that is wonderful about this recipe is that you can freeze one of the logs, and just slice it off whenever you are ready, i.e., when its midnight and they start singing their siren song...

Once it is fully chilled, you cut the log into disks.  Warning: the cookies will crack when you cut them.

In fact, many of them will literally split in half.
Not to worry, that is just their 'nature'.  As long as you squish them back together you will be fine.

Then, bake them off.  They won't look done when they're done baking, but just remove the rack to a baking sheet, and trust it.  Eventually, remove the cookies to the rack itself.

Now, I tried them warm and at room temperature, and while both were good, nothing could ever compare to the warm, melty goodness of the chocolate right out of the oven.


World Peace Cookies (from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp 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 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bitter sweet chocolate, chopped into chips or semisweet chips

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together.

In a separate 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.

Turn off the mixer.  Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the 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 peak-- if there is still a lot of flour on the surface, pulse a couple of time 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 crumble.  Toss in the chocolate piece and mix only to incorporate.

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: Center the rack and preheat the oven to 325.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Using a sharp thing knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick.  (The rounds ar elikely to crack as you are 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.

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.