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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

World Peace Cookies and Exploring the World of Chocolate



I love chocolate.  I think I've mentioned this before.  And believe it or not, as simple as it sounds, a Hershey bar is my favorite way to enjoy chocolate.  If I had to choose one method of loving and honoring chocolate for the rest of my life and never ever stray from it, I think it would have to be the Hershey bar.  Luckily, no one is asking me to do that!  I love chocolate in any format!  I love milk chocolate, dark chocolate,  hot chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate muffins, chocolate cookies, chocolate ice cream, chocolate mousse, chocolate fondue, chocolate breakfast cereal, chocolate candy, chocolate brownies...I even love all those chocolatey desserts I have yet to try!  I love them all!  Yes, the Hershey bar is perfect, but that doesn't mean I am going to stop exploring every possible way to enjoy chocolate.  And so, for those of you who want to explore the world of chocolate with me, here is one more treat to try:  World Peace Cookies.

I, like most humans, am a creature of habit.  I order the same dish at my favorite restaurant.  I watch my favorite movies over and over again until I have them memorized.  I eat the same (yummy) pancakes every weekend.  Sure, I love to explore, travel, try something new and make new friends, but there are times when the same old thing is exactly what I want.  Like when I go to the same restaurant with the same friends, order the same dish and sip the same wine, I feel the same sense of complete joy I always do!  It's perfect.  There are times when I want to lie on the same beach with the same people every summer at the lake.  There are times when these good things aren't good enough just once, but they need to be enjoyed again and again.

But, now and again, we all need to do something different, whether we want to or not.  Once in a while, it's important to pick a new kind of book or try a new hobby or learn a new dance step.  Because you never know when you might discover your new favorite thing.  When it comes to baking, for me, it's easy to step outside the sameness routine.  I love to try something completely new whenever I can.  I'm always finding new recipes to try and tweaking old ones.  Sure, I've got my stand-bys, my go-tos, and my favorites, but new sweet creations are catching my eye all the time.

For me, chocolate is the best of both worlds.  I know whatever chocolatey dessert I whip up next is going to be fun and super-tasty!  So, I bravely try every chocolatey recipe I can find. 

These cookies have been making the rounds on the internet.  Just google World Peace Cookies, and you'll see what I mean.  I first saw them on Smitten Kitchen, and then I noticed them on Alexandra's Kitchen.  After that, I knew I had to make them.  Now that I have, I can safely say they are delicious!  They have a luxurious texture and a winning taste!  And I am happy to pass along these deliciously addictive cookies to you!  I know I've posted more than one chocolate cookie recipe here and more to come, but these are a must-try!  Oh, and the name is absolutely perfect.  If everyone in the world would just stop all their feuding for moment and have one or two of these delicious cookies, all their troubles would be forgotten. 



World Peace Cookies
From Dorie Greenspan

Makes about 36 cookies


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 sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces 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 mixture, 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, no need to defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 or 2 minutes 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.

Storage: Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or they can be frozen for up to 2 months. They can also be frozen in log form for up to 2 months and can be sliced and baked directly from the freezer, adding a couple of minutes to the baking time.