I started making cookies for Christmas years before I changed my career from science to pastry. Maybe I was already moving in that direction, who knows. I grew up eating tea cookies in Italy, there are so many types, and many have either almonds or hazelnuts in them. I love to recreate the look and taste of those little morsels, and to lean new recipes from around the world.
Every year I can't help but buy one of the cookie publications that come out just for Christmas, as a result I have a huge collection of recipes, some that I may never try, and they are all over the place. Recently though I started moving all the cookie recipes I make over and over into a little binder so I know where they all are. I am looking forward to adding to it years after years.
This year I have made the cookies you see here, some are gluten free for my friends who don't eat gluten, and for me as well (being gluten free for a month, more on another post....).
By far the recipe I have made the most is Dorie Greenspan's Korova cookies. I first saw them in her beautiful book Paris Sweets, then realized they are probably the best known cookies in cyberspace, even renamed World Peace Cookies because they induce such bliss and pleasure that the world would be a different place if we all ate them (I wish it were so simple...). I used to sell these cookies at a local farmers' market and they always sold out, I still get orders once in a while. The expression on people's faces when they first taste them is priceless, some sounds I heard cannot be repeated here, if you know what I mean....
If you google Korova cookies you get 13,600 links, if you google world peace cookies you get 848,000 (and if you google world peace only, the search engine puts them second). Incredible, isn't it? If you are still not convinced try them, they are amazing!
Use only the best quality of cocoa powder and chocolate, it makes a huge difference, and don't use regular salt, otherwise you lose the contrast of the two flavors.
a.k.a. World Peace Cookies
adapted from Dorie Greenspan
5 1/2 oz-150 gr butter, softened
2/3 cup-120 gr brown sugar, packed tight
1/4 cup-50 gr granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup-175 gr all purpose flour
1/3 cup-30 gr cocoa powder (the darker the better, I use Valhrona)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 oz-150 gr chocolate (use the best quality you can find, at least 64% cocoa)
Pre-sift dry ingredients. Chop chocolate into small pieces. Beat butter and the two sugars until fluffy. Add the dry mixture and the salt. Mix just until the dry ingredients start getting incorporated. Add the chocolate and bring together, without over mixing the dough (the texture will be too tough if the dough is over mixed). Roll into three 12" logs, wrap, and freeze. Makes 1.5 pounds of dough. I normally double the recipe, roll it in six thin logs, and roll each on the short side of a sheet of parchment paper (which is 12"). They keep in the freezer for few weeks. Temper the logs for few minutes at room temperature before cutting thin slices. Bake at 325F until barely set (this is tricky as they are really dark, when you test them they should not be super soft, but still give a little, if they are completely set/hard when you take them out of the oven they are over cooked).
Happy Holiday and Peace to all!