Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cookies Are Like Kisses

Things are winding down, at least for Phase I of My Life Is Hell Twice A Year, Or Once A Term. I took a writing break to bake cookies to bring along for this weekend's trip to Cold Place In The Mountains. Road trips make me hungry, as does cold air and elevation. Hence, the picture of them in a "dude, that's ghetto" tupperware. For prettier, food pornier pictures, go here and here.

My beloved Amber beat me to it, but I have been dying to make Homemade Oreos ever since I saw the recipe on Smitten Kitchen. They are the most wonderful things I have ever eaten. As soon as I took a bite, I immediately hated everything I had ever eaten prior to the Cookie of Awesomeness. It was as if a choir of angels had burst into song in my mouth. This must be what heaven tastes like, if heaven existed and you could dunk it into milk (or coffee) and bite, chew, swallow and digest it. They are wayyyy better than the chocolate mascarpone cookies I had at Breadlines in D.C. (18th and Penn), and that is saying something.

If bundt cakes are like hugs, cookies are like kisses, and these are like the ultimate makeout session of cookiedom. I hope that these cookies get me some kisses, but they are so good that really, kisses are almost unnecessary. Almost.

Homemade Oreos (Chocolate Mascarpone Cookies)

For the chocolate wafers:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (yes, this matters, I got mine at Peets)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 to 1½ cups sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
¼ cup sugar
8 oz Mascarpone cheese

1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.

2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

3. Take rounded tablespoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

4. To make the filling, cream the mascarpone with the sugar with an electric beater until fluffy and mixed.

5. To assemble the cookies, spread the mascarpone cream evenly onto a cookie with a butter or pate knife. Sandwich together. Refrigerate to firm up and "sticken" the cream.

Keep refrigerated, although you probably won't die if you leave the cookies out for a while. But, this is a cautious food blog.

Okay, so for once Smitten Kitchen lets me down. These cookies are so sweet I feel like my teeth are wincing. Next time I will take out the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, which is so unnecessary when you have 2/3 cups of brown sugar already. 1 1/4 cups of flour to 0.91 cups sugar doesn't sound like much (considering that most recipes call for equal amounts of sugar to flour), but these seem way too sweet for me. I'm bringing them anyway--maybe other people like sweet cookies.

Always, always distrust a recipe that proclaims that these cookies are so good that eating them would make everyone so happy that world peace would ensue:

When Dorie Greenspan included Pierre Hermé’s recipe for to-die-for chocolate cookies in her Paris Sweets cookbook, she called them Korova Cookies (Sablés Korova), after the restaurant off the Champs-Élysées for which Pierre Hermé created these cookies, not the milk bar in A Clockwork Orange. In her most recent book, she calls them World Peace Cookies, as her neighbor became convinced that a daily dose of these cookies was all that is needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness.

That is some claim for a cookie to make! Anyway, such a schmaltzy, maudlin name guarantees that the cookie is too sweet, metaphorically and literally. An ironic shame; Dorie Greenspan is such a good bakebook writer, the French generally don't like things too sweet, and I cannot imagine eating these cookies every day (the other cookies I've made, certainly).

Anyway, the recipe, with the warning that you should take out the 1/4 cup granulated sugar, or leave it in if you are inclined to the saccharine:

World Peace/Korova Cookies

Paris Sweets, Dorie Greenspan

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I recommend Scharffenberger or Dagoba)

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous ¾ 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, 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.

1 comment:

hannah said...

i fully agree! i made this cookies tonight and despite cutting down on the sugar, they still were sweet.