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Sunday, December 15, 2013

World peace cookies

Last December, I presented a month full of edible gifts.  This year, I aimed for something a little different -- my goal had been to present you with a cookie-a-day for the month of December.  That idea died pretty quickly with the fact that: (a) I have a full time job, (b) I had cupcakes to bake for a party ("car bomb" and pecan-potato chip), and (c) even I need a day outside of the kitchen here and there.  Oh, and (d) I decided this on December 2nd.


So although most of what I've posted this month hasn't been cookies, I decided that it was about time to get some festive cookies up on the blog before Christmas.  Since I've reinvested myself in making some cookies, I started with Eggnog Florentines.  They were eggnog-y, with some holiday spices, and an overall holiday flavor.  They were time intensive, but worth it.  

The next cookie I wanted to make were these "World Peace Cookies."  I made them years ago, before JulieBakes was even the apple of my eye ;-), with a few modifications based on what I had in the apartment at the time, and posted them on Facebook in an album of the things I had been baking.  It was so long ago, but I remember them being super chocolatey.  And I love chocolate.  I know, I know, you're thinking "what on earth does a chocolate cookie have to do with the holidays?  Is it simply because they're called 'World Peace' cookies and that's everyone's hope for the holiday season?"   The honest answer is....I don't know.  I just know that the author of the latest version that I found (you can find the recipe elsewhere also) said "Of all the cookies you will bake and eat during the holidays (and beyond), this is the one people will remember."


Plus, since the dough can be frozen for up to 2 months, I figured I could save half the dough for when I bake cookies for my doormen in a week or a week and a half.

Now I can't guarantee that everything I bake between now and Christmas will be a holiday cookie, but I will definitely try to give you a bunch of them over the next 10 days.  And these "World Peace Cookies" are just the ones to start with!  They're uber rich and decadently chocolatey.  So if you're off to any parties and the host/hostess loves chocolate, bring him/her these, and you will definitely be invited back!

World Peace Cookies
by Pierre Herm√© & Dorie Greenspan.  I found the recipe on Food52.  I have found it elsewhere before.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur del sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips.  I used 5 oz of semisweet chocolate chips, since that's what I had here.  Last time I made them, I used mini chips.
 
Directions:

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

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.

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.  Mine took about 10+ pulses (I stopped counting after 10.
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.
 
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.)
 
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 °F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
 
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.
 
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.

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