One of the great things about baking a lot is that my kitchen overflows with treats. And rather than wolf it all down and feel ill and waddle like a hippopotamus, I pass a lot of it along. I send cookies with my daughter when she's meeting up with friends. I take baked goods to friends and neighbors. My chiropractor is always delighted with the packet of treats I bring to my appointments. Yesterday at a doctor's office I was greeted with, "You're the cookie lady!"
I say this, not to toot my own horn about how generous I am. Looked at cynically, you could even say I'm very selfish because I want the fun of baking without the calories on my own thighs. But whatever the motivation is, the result is wonderful. When I share my kitchen bounty, something good always splashes back on me. I love the happy squeals when I take a plate of blog fodder to a friend's house. The tree overhanging the property line is somehow less of an issue if banana bread is involved. And my chiropractor never has his eye on the clock when he's happily munching a cookie.
So, with this in mind, I share World Peace Cookies. They are from my favorite cookbook, Baking, and this is the recipe that convinced me that I needed to own this wonderful book. Dorie Greenspan says that they were given the name World Peace Cookies by a neighbor who, upon tasting one, said that if everyone in the world had one a day, there would be world peace.
These are amazing cookies. Simple to make, impossible to resist. The secret ingredient is sea salt. I used the Celtic Sea Salt my sweetie gave me for Mother's Day. The large, delicate crystals lurk in the cookie, giving a surprising crunch and the tingle of delicate salt against chocolate.
One note: I have my mini chips stored in a plastic bag in a bin with other chocolate products in plastic bags. One of those other bags contains white chocolate mint wafers. Only recently did I discover that the mint is so strong it seeped out of it's bag and contaminated all the neighboring bags. (Note to self: store mint-flavored items in separate closet!) This adds a very subtle, but not unpleasant mint taste to my cookies.
Try these wonderful cookies and spread a little love in your world.
World Peace Cookies
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick plus 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips (mint flavored, optional)
1- Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
2- In a large mixing bowl beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes more.
3- Turn the mixer off and add the dry ingredients. Cover the mixer with a pouring shield or drape a kitchen towel over it to protect your kitchen from flying flour. Pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time, Once the flour on the surface of the dough is incorporated, remove the towel and continue mixing at low speed for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough. Work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added. It's OK for the dough to look 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 each 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.)
5- To bake; Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 324 deg. F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
6- Using a sharp, thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. Don't worry if they crack as you cut them, just moosh them back together . Place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between them.
7- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes. They won't be firm or look done, but that's just right. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm. You can serve them then, or let them reach room temperature.
Note: Since my cookie jar had another species of cookie in it already, I stored these in a plastic tub on the counter with a kitchen towel over them. In our humid weather they absorbed moisture and became almost fudgy-moussey, while still being sandy. I liked them that way, too, and a contractor that was over thought they were a-maz-ing.