Friday, March 16, 2012

World Peace in a chocolate cookie?

When I served World Peace Cookies (click for the recipe) to my co-workers and others in the building where I work, I laughed about the name every time and said: “’Cause that’s all you need for world peace: A good cookie.”
   That’s the opinion of Richard Gold, anyway, a neighbour of baking whiz Dorie Greenspan. She writes in her cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours that Richard said a daily dose of the cookies is all that is needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness.
   I don’t know if these cookies can wipe out mankind’s tendency to be warlike, but they are darn good – an intense chocolate treat.
   They’re also a little tricky to make.
   These cookies are members of the sablĂ© family. This means they are pleasantly sandy in texture, but because of that, it also means they can crumble when you're trying to make them. It's not the kind of cookie to make with the kids.
   The dough relies on chilling to come together firmly before it is sliced into cookies and baked.
   Making the dough and chilling it is a snap – it’s trying to slice it without it crumbling that’s the hard part.
   I tried to be delicate and not squish the dough as I sliced it, but the dough was having none of it.
   I was only able to slice about five nice cookies. For the other cookies, I had to gather up the crumbled dough, put it in a small pile on a cookie sheet and push it together to form a cookie.
   I did end up getting a nice batch of cookies, but having to form the dough piles into circles took much more time that it would have if I’d just been able to slice them.
   Next time I make these cookies, I may put the dough logs in the freezer for a bit, instead of just the fridge, to make sure they will be nice and firm to slice.
   To make the dough, butter, golden brown sugar, vanilla and sea salt are blended together with an electric mixer, then a mixture of flour, cocoa powder and baking soda is added and mixed in. Chopped chocolate is mixed in.
   The recipe I linked to above on the epicurious website says that if the resulting dough is crumbly, knead it lightly in a bowl to form a ball.
   Instead of doing this, I followed the directions in Greenspan’s Baking book and turned the crumbly dough out onto the counter, then pushed it all together to form a ball. I didn’t knead it at all – Greenspan says to work the dough as little as possible for best texture.
   The dough is divided in half, and each half is placed on a sheet of plastic wrap, formed into a log, and chilled until firm, at least three hours.
   The dough logs are sliced into ½-inch thick rounds and placed on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
   After they’re baked, the cookies are transferred to racks to cool.

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