Ever since I’ve become an avid 24 devotee, I’ve been far more sensitive to phrases that contain the word “nuclear” in them. And it doesn’t help that Fox News totally exploits that just-right-after-24-paranoia that sets in when you start thinking that everyone’s out to get you.
Usually, though not always, the word is linked to either Iran, or North Korea. Sometimes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s name comes up, sometime it doesn’t. For someone who is politically aware, yet for some reason has trouble pronouncing the name Ahmadinejad, (AH-MA-DI-NE-JAD – I think I got it, maybe) I find wars and war terminology polarizing.
On the one hand, the history geek in me, realizes that wars have happened historically and however unfortunate are a way of social development. Or at least they have been in the past. On the other hand, I shudder at what damage war can do to a generation. The sacrifice it takes. And how, no matter what we say, whether or not we are in support or against any war, those who fight and come back are still underappreciated by the rest of us, who have no approximation of what it’s like out there.
With that in mind, I have quite the desire to make a super huge batch of these cookies, that have been making their way around the blogosphere and dispatch it to Ahmadinejad as well as Kim Jong-il. I’ll put them in pretty tins, include the recipes, and perhaps try to convince them that if they shift production to these cookies instead of nuclear whatevers, their economy will prosper – everyone in the world will want to buy their cookies (because let’s face it, there’s only a handful of us with baking fetishes).
Whether or not this is effective, I, myself, feel subdued and somewhat floating when I have these with a glass of milk. I went through an entire batch in 2 days. And while KS had a few cookies here and there (he’s not as much of a chocolate freak as I am, tant pis!), the damage done was pretty much by me. And while these might not be good for the waistline, they are certainly good for the soul. Various bloggers have been making them and hailing them as world’s greatest cookies. And at first, I was on the fence, skeptical and unsure. I mean, how good could they really be?
Well, I hate to say I was wrong to doubt the praise, but I was wrong. These cookies are the greatest things invented in cookie land – so dark and rich the chocolate, they’re frighteningly and unfairly good.
And while I might not find success with stopping world nuclear armament, I find myself more congenial to mankind after I have a few of these little circles of perfection.
World Peace Cookies
Adapted from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
Blend the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
Either with a stand or a hand mixer beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, then the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more until fully blended.
And this is here where most people will tell you to gradually add the flour using the said mixer, and I will tell you that it’s just easier to knead the flour mixture INTO the butter mixture BY HAND until it’s a homogeneous mass. Then add chocolate chips to the mix and work the dough just enough to incorporate chips in.
Transfer the dough onto a work surface and divide it in two equal parts. Shape each part into logs that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 3 hours or longer.***
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line the baking sheets with parchment paper.
Slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick – for this you will need a sharp knife, rather than a butter knife. If your pieces crumble or crack, just reshape the cookie back on the baking sheet. You should leave around 1 inch between the cookies.
Bake one sheet at a time, for about 12 minutes (but individual ovens vary a bit so you may have to adjust). You can either eat the cookies straight out of the oven (YUM!) or let them cool to room temperature (difficult to do because of the YUM! factor of warm cookies). Great with a glass of milk.
*** You can refrigerate the dough for 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months – which is an unlikely case given how unbelievably good these cookies are. Insofar as storage of these delicious cookies goes: 3 days at room temperature OR frozen up to 2 months, again, a rather improbable situation.