Friday, August 27, 2010

Chocolate Sables - World Peace Cookies

If you're looking for a great chocolate cookie, this indeed is one. If you're a food blogger, these are pretty much old news for you, but, I needed some chocolate cookies to use for a crust on my Peanut Butter Pie, and when I received my September issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I ran across these featured lovelies by Dorie Greenspan.

I remembered them going across the blogosphere early last year during a round of Tuesdays with Dorie - a group of food bloggers who bake something from her cookbook, Baking From My Home to Yours, and then post it on Tuesdays. Not that I have ever participated in that - if you pop by here with any regularity, you already know that I am not much of a baker, but... having everything on hand, I decided to give these chocolate morsels a go.  I've been kinda craving chocolate here anyway - the kind that a tiny, foil-wrapped, milk chocolate egg, leftover from Easter won't quite squelch.

These cookies are considered chocolate sables - a type of French shortbread - but with a bit more chew than the usual shortbread, and rich in dark chocolate. The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of a finishing salt called fleur de sel, which is the secret ingredient providing a nice salty flavor in contrast with the rich chocolate, but substitute 1/4 teaspoon of the more freely available sea salt if you like.

This cookie does come with a bit of history.  Greenspan got the cookie recipe back in 2000 from a French chef, Pierre Herme, who had created the cookie for the Korova restaurant in Paris, and she was just short of publishing them as Korovas in her then new cookbook, Baking From My Home to Yours, when a neighbor of Greenspan's, Richard Gold, put an inadvertent halt to that. He had grown quite fond of these cookies, because he was "convinced that a daily dose of the cookies is all that's needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness."

Greenspan decided to rename them World Peace Cookies.  The cookies earned further notoriety when Greenspan set up a New York City pop-up cookie shop for six days with her son Josh, right about the same time that the bloggers were busy baking these cookies, and the World Peace Cookies were one of the hottest selling cookies of the eight that they offered.

These are roll, chill and slice cookies and don't be dismayed if they crack a bit upon slicing. Apparently that is normal with this dough. Use a sharp knife, slice slowly and if the bottom of the slice cracks off, just push them back together before placing them on the parchment covered baking sheet.  While there had been some bakers with TWD who complained of crumbly dough, thought possibly due to natural cocoa, I used good ole Hershey's original cocoa, and had no issues with it, even without an egg in the recipe.

One thing. You really won't think these cookies are done when they are, so if you know your oven, trust the time and not your eye. These are a decadent indulgence, and if you're a chocolate lover, you will adore them.


Chocolate Sables - World Peace Cookies
Adapted from the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

1-1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons)
   unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (85% cacao or less),
   chopped fine

Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda into a medium size bowl. Beat the butter using a mixer until smooth, but not fluffy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture about 1/2 cup at a time; beat just until blended together. Add the chopped chocolate and mix only enough to distribute. Divide dough in half and place each half on sheet of plastic wrap, forming them into  logs, about an inch and a half in diameter. Wrap and place into the refrigerator for several hours or until logs are firm.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut logs into slices about one-half inch thick. If chunks break off, simply press them back into place. Place onto the parchment paper about one inch apart and bake only one sheet at a time, about 11 to 12 minutes. You really won't think these cookies are done when they are, because they don't get that familiar dryness around the edges.  If you know your oven, trust the time and not your eye.

Transfer to a rack; cool completely. These are best eaten still slightly warm, but are still especially good even once they've cooled.


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