I found a cookie recipe on the smitten kitchen. I made it. Supposedly, these cookies were supposed to cure humanity's giant animosity problem if everyone in the world had one per day. Deb was skeptical, and so was I, but for different reasons.
Whereas she thought she would not be prompted to feel peaceful, she would be more inclined to steal others' cookies, I thought they could actually be improved upon. Silly me.
I am not a big fan of sandy, grainy cookies, and these certainly were. Maybe it's because I have deficient taste buds, but I value the texture of something almost more than the taste. More often than not, when I say I don't like something, it's because I don't like the texture. Tapioca pudding? Pudding is supposed to be smooth. Chunky applesauce? Applesauce is not supposed to have chunks. Fruit on the bottom yogurt? I'd rather not have any fruit in my yogurt at all - just the fruit flavor. Fruitcake? Looks like bread, isn't bread, and has odd bits of crystallized fruit and nuts. Blech.
But, these cookies were very good, just a little too grainy for me. Also, I couldn't really get my mind around the fact that the recipe called for unsalted butter, and then a teaspoon of sea salt. The sea salt made it salty in certain places but not at all in others. Weird.
So I resolved to improve upon the Cookies of World Peace.
Big mistake. When world leaders are "pretty close" to a Middle-east peace accord, do they scrap the whole thing because Saudi Arabia won't give women the right to drive? I should hope not. Because while unequal rights is bad, irrational blowing up of each other is much worse, and a step to stop the blowings-up is a step in the right direction. People can work on the rights (soon) after.
In the same way, I should not mess with the world peace cookies just because they are too grainy and salty in weird places. They were still the best cookies I've ever made. Duh.
So, I changed them. I changed them yesterday morning because my boyfriend was having a bad day, and I thought, what better way to overcome a bad day than Better Than World Peace cookies?
We ended up going to a bar instead.
They weren't inedible, but I did deem the last 1/3 of the dough to be not worth the baking. I added 2 eggs and only used one stick of regular butter, and no salt.
They were oddly more like brownies than cookies. Small, round, oddly-shaped brownies. But my roommate liked them. So much so that she ate a good 8 of them between 3 and 6:30 p.m.
I don't know. They were okay. But they sure won't cure any world peace. They sure didn't create any peace between myself and my baking skills.
Here is the original recipe, with my notes:
World Peace/Korova Cookies (via Smitten Kitchen)
Paris Sweets, 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 (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick regular butter)
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (nope)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Plus 2 eggs
Makes about 36 cookies
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, 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, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 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 1 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.
I didn't do the log thing with the second batch, it wasn't necessary. Honestly i found even the first time around that I don't have knives sharp enough to cut good cookie log pieces.
Anyway, let this be a lesson to all. Don't mess with the world peace.