Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Adventures/World Peace Cookies

It took me awhile to discover my adventurous spirit, but since I did I have been restlessly restless. All I want to do is move, explore, see new things, try new things and so on, I just can't get enough. I don't know at what point I transitioned from being a scared younger girl, all I know is that it has happened and I can't help but embrace it. On that note, today I am leaving for a two week trip to Hong Kong, it's as exciting as it is hard to believe. All the 'knowns' and unknowns only mean one thing, it is bound to be an adventure. Since I won't be home for Christmas this year, I wanted to leave a part of myself at home and in light of the season I thought cookies were the way to go.

I have seen Dorie Greenspan's world peace cookies on practically every blog I read, and even though I am not such a chocolate fan their name alone inspired me to make them. World peace, what more could we ask for for the holidays? If decadent food really were the solution to the world's problems, well I think these cookies would definitely merit their names. These are by far the chocolatiest cookies I have ever tasted, I can't imagine eating more than one, but I imagine a few courageous chocoholics could easily counter that. The cookies are crumbly and crisp with small melted chocolate nibs that almost explode in your mouth for an extra burst of chocolate (in case you needed the extra kick). The other great thing is that these cookies are pretty easy to make and will taste awesome as long as you use high-quality chocolate. The dough is perfect for freezing so if you're ever in the mood for world peace, or peace of mind for that matter, you can just slice them up and pop them in the oven.
Although I technically didn't make them for myself, I had to try them before I left and I am certain that these cookies will be a satisfactory replacement for my lacking presence this Christmas. If that doesn't work, I will also be blogging from Hong Kong, so that everyone can keep tabs on me (should they choose to do so). Although nervous excitement is one of life's greatest paradoxes, right now the nerves are just making the excitement that much more fun. Aside from being excited for my trip, I am also looking forward to writing some completely new and different posts, it will be interesting to see what I have to share from the other side of the earth. So, so long for now, I hope that all of you find your own adventures, however big or small this holiday season. If that's not possible, I leave you with a taste of world peace and in case you had any doubts, world peace tastes absolutely divine.

World Peace Cookies
Baking: From My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tbsp. (11 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

1) 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.
2) 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.
3) 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.)
4) Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 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 1 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.
5) The cookies can be eaten when they are warm or at room temperature and are best suited to cold milk or hot coffee.
• Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months.
• As mentioned before, you can also freeze the logs of dough for up to 3 months. When you're ready just slice and bake, while the dough is still frozen.