Thursday, March 21, 2013

world peace cookies.

The amount of chocolate I've been consuming as of late seems to be directly correlated to the amount of stress and anxiety I've been under.  Some people are fortunate that when faced with stressful situations they loose their appetite, for them stress is a diet (maybe not the healthiest diet out there but a diet none the less). I fall firmly into the opposite camp.  I crave comfort foods (which may explain how I ended up consuming grilled cheese and french bread pizza for dinner this week).  I also crave chocolate.  Rich, dark chocolate (My personal favorite is the Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate. Heavenly.) that I stock up on and then keep stashed in my work drawers so when the the afternoon gets the best of me I have something to reward myself with.  For last weekends baking project, I knew nothing short of the best chocolate cookie would make me satisfied which is how I found myself reacquainting myself with Dorie Greenspan's cookbook.  These World Peace Cookies are oh so dreamy.  They  don't look like much but after a single bite you will look at them in a completely different light.  These pack a big salted chocolate punch - the flavor is so pronounced that you will find it hard to imagine a silver dollar sized cookie could be so flavorful but they are which is why they are so satisfying and so rewarding.

World Peace Cookies
Recipe via Baking From My Home to Yours by the amazing Dorie Greenspan (seriously her cookies are the bomb if you are in NYC go visit Buerre and Sel)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 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 plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

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 flour mixture, 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.

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 a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Working with 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 one inch between them. Sprinkle with sea salt. 

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.
Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months. They can also be frozen in log form for months, and can be sliced and baked directly from the freezer, adding a couple minutes to the baking time.

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