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12 Days of Christmas (Cookies) #1: World Peace Cookies

While cook, author, and all around baking diva Dorie Greenspan is (justly) famous for many things, these cookies may end up as her most enduringly delicious legacy. Originally published in her book Paris Sweets, the recipe comes from frequent Dorie-collaborator Pierre Hermé and is just as divine as everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) says it is. And what better cookie, then, to kick of my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies bake-off? I’ll be attempting to crank out 12 delicious holiday cookies in basically the next two weeks. Insanity may ensue. (ed. note. It did, and this is as far as I got. Waaah-waah.)

Despite having read about these on countless blogs and having bought Dorie’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, which includes the recipe, I’d not made these buttery, darkly decadent sablés until very recently. And I’m here to tell you that the hype is very much well-earned. Distinguished by their saltiness, their chocolate flavor is powerful and sophisticated, with smoky, not-too-sweet nuance. Even the bits of chocolate embedded in the luxuriously sandy crumb are bittersweet.

Totally addictive, and so good that Dorie’s gone into production for herself. You can buy them at her Beurre & Sel shoplettes in New York City. They’re quite simple to make yourself, though, so if a trip to the Big Apple isn’t in the cards, you can still get your fix.

You could certainly use regular cocoa for these, but I love them with black cocoa. The Batman of cocoa, it’s dark and angsty and brooding and delicious. Use with caution. I get mine here. I also took the liberty of mixing in some broken cacao nibs for extra textural interest and because it seemed like a good idea.

Since these exploded all over the Internet some time ago, the recipe is already ALL over the internet, but I’m just going to drop it below to save you the effort of clicking over to somewhere else to read their undoubtedly less amusingly-written takes on Dorie’s infallible directions.

World Peace (aka Korova) Cookies

Pierre Herme, via Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 36 cookies

1 1/4 c flour
1/3 c black cocoa powder (or regular…)
1/2 tsp baking soda
11 tbs unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/3 c broken cacao nibs (optional)

Finely chop the chocolate and set aside. (You want small shards and flakes, no big chunks as they’ll make slicing the dough into rounds a total pain in the arse.)

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together. (SIFT, not stir or whisk. Cocoa is clumpy.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars, beating till light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract.

With the  mixer off, add the dry ingredients and turn the mixer on to the lowest speed for a few seconds, and then off. Repeat this a few times until the ingredients are combined enough to not fly everywhere. Continue mixing until completely, evenly combined, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped chocolate and the optional cacao nibs and mix just till incorporated.

Gather the dough into a ball and divide in two. Roll each piece into a log about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least three hours and up to three days.

Before baking, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325° and line two baking sheets with parchment.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, using a thin, sharp knife, slice each into ~18 pieces about 1/3″ thick. If crumbs break off, just moosh the discs back together. Place the cookies onto the prepared trays about 1″ apart.

Bake one tray at a time for 12 minutes. They’ll still be soft, but pull them anyway. They’re done (unless your oven temp is REALLY off). Place sheet on a cooling rack and let cool till firmed. Transfer cookies to a rack to finish cooling before storing airtight for as long as you can keep your hands off them… or three days.

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