C is for cookie

28 Feb

This is the battle to end all battles, in two parts.

Part one: chocolate vs. chocolate. Dorie Greenspan’s world peace cookies vs. Vancouver’s Thomas Haas’s chocolate sparkle cookies.

Two adorable names (world peace? sparkles? goodie!), two scrumptious recipes.

CHOCOLATE SPARKLE COOKIES

recipe ran in the Vancouver Sun, which we couldn’t locate, but did find here, with great pictures.

1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate (Haas recommends Valrohna if possible)
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tbsp honey (Haas recommends Blackberry)
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
3/4 cup ground almonds
2 tsp cocoa powder

pinch of salt

Melt chocolate on top of a double boiler, over (but not in contact with) simmering water. Remove from heat. Cut butter into small pieces and mix into the heated chocolate until melted.

Beat eggs, gradually adding the sugar and honey until light and the mixture falls into thick, smooth ribbons (about 10 min). Fold into the chocolate mixture. Add the cocoa powder and salt to the ground almonds and mix; gently add to the chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop to form the dough into 1 inch balls. Working quickly, roll the balls into granulated sugar. Place on the Baking sheet 2″ apart. Bake at 325 for 12 minutes, until the centres are moist, but not wet. Cool slightly. Dust lightly with powdered icing sugar. Makes about 36 cookies.

Note: You may find this recipe has cocoa and honey added that were not included in the original recipe. Thomas Haas tweaked the recipe between the LA Times version and Vancouver Sun printed version.

WORLD PEACE COOKIES

Go here to see good photos.

Makes about 36 cookies

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) 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, 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.

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.

Serving: The cookies can be eaten when they are warm or at room temperature — I prefer them at room temperature, when the textural difference between the crumbly cookie and the chocolate bits is greatest — and are best suited to cold milk or hot coffee.

Do ahead: Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days (Deb note: not a chance); 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 coupld minutes to the baking time.

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