World Peace Cookies

World Peace CookiesCaught in the Cookie Jar
I had an email land in my inbox the other day that included a recipe for peanut butter cookies. And, I was intrigued by how unexpected it was. I haven’t made peanut butter cookies in forever—mainly because peanuts at school are a big no-go. So, that might explain some of the surprise. I also think I’ve been conditioned to think about cookies only really during the holidays…even though I eat cookies almost daily.

I am a frequent cookie maker. Sometimes they are for sporting event potlucks or some sort of school activity. But, mostly I make cookies because I like ‘em; because I can; and, depending on the variety of cookie, they can be a nice “grab n go on the way out the door” breakfast. (Hey, it could be worse…)

I am also one of those people who needs something sweet in the afternoon. Right around two or three o’clock, I get a cup of tea and something sweet and small to go with it. Nine times out of ten it’s a cookie. (Or three. Depends on the size.) Shortbread, oatmeal, chocolate chip, Oreos…any and all will do. These are what I consider everyday cookies. Not the fancy ones we hand out for Christmas. The cookie jar workhorses, if you will. They go in school lunches, soothe a sweet tooth, and welcome the kids home from practice.

I can’t say that I have an actual favorite cookie. There are just too many to narrow it down. A lot of the time it depends on my mood. Sometimes I want big butter flavor. Other times I am looking for big bites of chocolate or nuts. Over the weekend I was in the mood for the kind of cookie that will just melt in your mouth. The cookie the French call a sablé . But, I was making these particular cookies for a volleyball tournament so I went with a favorite from Dorie Greenspan. These World Peace Cookies are so good and once you get the hang of making the dough logs, making them is a snap…

World Peace Cookies
Adapted from Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan on Food 52

1-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (we like King Arthur brand)
1/3 cup sifted 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
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (we like Nielsen-Massey)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into tiny chips, or a generous 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Measure and sift the dry ingredients
Gently measure the sifted flour and cocoa powder so as to keep them light and fluffy. Then sift the two together with the baking soda.

Cream the butter and sugar
Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the softened butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the light brown and granulated sugars, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Incorporate the dry ingredients
Turn off the mixer. Pour the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl and drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer. (This will protect you and your kitchen from flying flour.)

Pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times for a second or two each time. Check the contents of the bowl to see if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough. If so, pulse a couple of times more.

When the surface flour is incorporated, remove the towel and continue to mix the batter at low speed just until the flour disappears into the dough (about 30 seconds more). 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.

Make the logs and refrigerate
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.

Preheat the oven
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 325 °F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Form the cookies
Using 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 space in between them.

Bake the cookies
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes. The cookies won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s correct.

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.

Note: *If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking. Just let it warm enough so that you can slice the log into rounds. Then bake the cookies 1 minute longer.

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