Writings on curious recipes, food I've tasted around the world and the quest for finding the perfect blueberry muffin.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

No-fuss chocolate cookies

Before I start talking about these cookies, let me just say, I am not a cookie person. I choose cake over cookies any day, I never buy cookies, and I really don't enjoy making them.* With cakes, once the batter is finished, you pour it into a pan and your job is basically done. With cookies, once you have prepared the batter the real work starts. The rolling of the dough, the shaping and forming, the re-rolling of the dough that wasn't used, the re-shaping and re-forming. (And no matter how much effort I put into it all, all my cookies always have different shapes and sizes, and are never particularly pretty.) And then I have to bake them in batches, because they never all fit onto one tray and so I'm always constantly waiting by the oven, and..

I just don't like baking cookies, okay?

So, now that that's off my chest...

These cookies are different. These are slice and bake cookies: you make the dough, shape it into a log and chill it long enough for it to be sliceable. No rolling out, forming, or re-forming involved. Just slice up the log, place the slices on a tray and bake. And as if that wasn't easy enough - these cookies do not have to be "pretty" nor must you bake them immediately. You can prepare the dough well in advance, freeze it and use it anytime your heart desires. But believe me, your heart (and stomach) desires them today.

You see, the recipe is from none other than Pierre Hermé, who gave it to Dorie Greenspan, who generously passed it along to us. These chocolate sables were originally called Korova cookies (Pierre Hermé had developed them for the Parisian restaurant Korova) but Dorie renamed them world peace cookies after her neighbor told her that "a daily dose of the cookies is all that's needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness." And while I do agree, I decided to re-name them no-fuss cookies because they're so easy to make, even a cookie-bashing person such as myself can't find room to complain. 

*Except for Christmas time. Everything is different during Christmas time.

No-fuss chocolate cookies // Korova Cookies // World Peace Cookies
taken from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours

175g // 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
30g // 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
150g // 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
120g // 2/3 cup of (packed) light brown sugar
50g // 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g // 5oz of bittersweet chocolate, chopped into little pieces

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda together.

Using a stand/handmixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat for about two minutes, then turn off mixer.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamy mixture and incorporate it in 5 short (1 to 2 second) pulses. (You might want to cover the bowl with a kitchen towel in order to prevent the flour from going everywhere.) If you can still see a lot of flour on the surface, pulse a few more times. Then remove the towel and continue mixing for about 30 seconds, until the flour disappears into the dough, but without working the dough too much - don't worry if it's a little crumbly. Add chocolate pieces and mix only to combine.

Turn dough out onto work surface, divide in half and form each half into a log, 4cm // 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least three hours (alternatively you can speed up this process by placing them in the freezer for about an hour).**

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 160°C // 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove logs from refrigerator and plastic wrap and, using a sharp knife, slice the logs into rounds that are a little over 1cm // 1/2 inch thick. Don't worry if they crumble, just squeeze them back together if they do. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart and bake each tray in the centre of your oven for 12 minutes. The cookies will not look done and will still be soft, but that is how they are supposed to be.

Transfer to a wire rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm or have reached room temperature. (I liked them best at room temperature on the day they were baked, but they keep well in an airtight container for up to three days, or frozen up to two months.)


**The dough will keep in the refrigerator for three days, in the freezer for two months - if frozen, you don't have to wait for it to defrost - just slice and bake 1 minute longer.


kalin said...

ahhhhhhh, could you please send me one (or two, or three?)?!

Carizza said...

Looking at your cookies made me crave to buy or bake one myself. It reminds me so much of chocolate covered Edamame that I ordered from the chocolate nation earlier this week.

littlemissdids said...

Hope you bake up a batch... these are amazing! :)

Katzerina said...

I want them so badly!

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