Christmas is exactly one week away...um, WHAT? It certainly doesn't feel like it is, but here I am, buying wrapping paper, praying my gifts ship in time, and planning Christmas Eve/Christmas Day breakfast menus worth remembering with my sister. This is my first holiday season away from home, and it's a bit strange. It used to be that I was the first to welcome Christmas into the house-- I'd put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, start (but never finish) a gingerbread house, and untangle the icicle lights to hang off the roof. My sister was always a little indifferent about getting the house ready (she was more into eating my Christmas cookies), and while my mom loves putting up Christmas decorations, she needs a push from me to get started. Essentially, all the Christmas spirit in our family came from me. I always said that if I wasn't home the house would be lacking in decorations, and of course, that's what happened this year! My mom took out a few decorations from the attic, but didn't go crazy, and instead of classic icicle lights, my parents installed a red and green strobe light of sorts that covers the entire house ( which I'll admit look kind of cool actually).
I wish I had had more time to decorate the apartment for the holidays and get crafty. I've been meaning to make some orange and clove pomanders for weeks, and I wish I had gotten a wreath (it seems silly to get one now), and I would have loved to make lots of homemade hot fudge sauce (or anything really) to jar and give away as gifts. Unfortunately though, there was just no way any of those things were happening. I barely even had a chance to do any holiday baking! The blog was way too quiet for my favorite time of the year (especially for baking), but I'm hoping I'll get to squeeze in one more Christmas recipe before next Friday. But until then, let's talk about the amazing cookies we have in front of us.
I've known about Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies for a long while now, and I've been meaning to make them ever since I first read about them on Epicurious so many years ago. A chocolate sable-ish cookie with chocolate chunks? That cookie had my name written all over it. Of course, like most things in my life, I didn't get around to making them until years later (this past weekend actually), and I've been kicking myself for having waited so long. These are AMAZING!
Like any good sable cookie, these come together incredibly quickly, and like any good sable cookie, are just about irresistible. Butter is beaten until smooth, then sugar, vanilla extract, and salt are mixed in. A mixture of flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda is then mixed in, followed by a generous helping of chopped bittersweet chocolate. The dough is then shaped into a log and left in the fridge for a few hours to chill and firm up. Then, the dough is sliced, baked, and that’s it! Nothing overly complicated about this cookie, but I think that's one of the things that makes it so incredible. It’s fine and sandy like a sable, has a soft chew, and has a flavor reminiscent of the best brownie brittle you’ve ever had.
So, if anyone is looking for a last-minute recipe to add to their holiday cookie player, this is the one you're looking for. Consider it the "stocking stuffer" in your cookie recipe arsenal. It's fast, easy to make, and will please everyone at the office, your holiday party, or neighborhood cookie swap. While I don't know if these cookies can actually stir up world peace, I do know that these are the cookies everyone will remember. Enjoy!
World Peace Cookies
by Dorie Greenspan
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 ounces extra bittersweet chocolate (no more than 85% cacao), chopped
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter in a separate bowl until smooth and creamy, but not fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). Add both sugars, the vanilla extract, and salt, and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture all at once, and beat until just the mixture disappears into the dough (the mixture will be crumbly). Add the chopped chocolate, and mix just until distributed. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 1 1/2-inch diameter log. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325° F and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Using a thin, sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds. You may notice that some of the rounds will crack as you slice them, but don’t worry about this—just use your fingers to press any bits of dough that fall off back on. Space the rounds about an inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies one baking sheet at a time, until the cookies look slightly dry in the center, about 12 minutes. Even if they don’t look “done,” take the cookies out after 12 minutes. They’ll firm up as they cool. Let the cookies cool for a moment on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely, but make sure to eat one or several while they’re still warm.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies