World peace cookies

IMG_2881IMG_2879IMG_2878

If you´re well known in the cookie buisness, you might have heard of these. If not, let me introduce you. These cookies come from Dorie Greenspan´s “Baking – from my home to yours”. When I finally got my hands on this book, I was kind of overwhelmed. First of all by its size and weight (it was a gift) – it was enormous! And secondly, and maybe most importantly, by the number of recipes. (I guess I should have predicted that, given its size, but – well, what can I say…) The book doesn´t waste a lot of space or pages on pictures – which I normally don´t think is a waste – on the contrary, it´s what makes me want a cookbook, and what makes me purchase it. But here, I´m thankful the pictures are left out to make room for more recipes. After all, it was a struggle to get that book, as you can read here

But, when I was going to start baking, I had no idea where to start. I mean, where does one start with over 300 recipes? And almost without any pictures to tempt me? Hmm. One starts at google, of course! I searched for “best, or favourite recipes”, and after a little googling, there were a few recipes that seemed more popular than others. One of them were something called world peace cookies. (Another was Swedish visiting cake, so that´s next on my list!) A cocoa-cookie with sea salt and chocolate chunks. Well, that didn´t exactly put me off! Though, normally I like my cookies non-chocolate. That is, without cocoa in the batter. But not completely without chocolate! Hell no! Bring on the chocolate chunks! But, I decided to have an open mind. So many people can´t be wrong. And it´s not like I dislike chocolate cookies, they´re just not my favourite. Until now.

IMG_2894

I made these for the first time a while ago, but they turned out butt ugly, delicious though, but not to be broadcast worldwide. Sorry guys, I´m shallow. These turned out better. And I know what you´re thinking: They´re not that good looking. And seriously, can they be that good? Isn´t it just another cookie?
No – it´s not. It´s a cookie, yes, but it´s a really, really good one.

The taste is rich and very chocolatey. It´s enhanced by the addition of sea salt. Oh chocolate and sea salt. How I love you two together. And my photos don´t really do them any justice, and that´s not just because of my lack of photo-skills, it´s because any photos of these cookies can´t show how yummy-tasty they are! Appearantly these cookies got their name, by Dorie’s neighbour who thought that a daily dose of these cookies would be enough to instigate world peace. Well, I don´t know about that. I see his point, but on the other hand, these cookies might as well start a world war. You get the point: They´re good.

World Peace cookies

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chipsWhisk flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat gently just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add chopped chocolate; mix just to distribute (if dough doesn’t come together, knead lightly in bowl to form ball). Divide dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment. Form each piece into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each tightly and chill until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: this can be done in advance – logs can be stored in the fridge up to three days before slicing and baking).

IMG_2886

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space cookies 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), exactly 12 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool before enjoying with a large glass of milk.

Makes 20-22 cookies.

IMG_2884

IMG_2892

Advertisements

Best. Cookie. Ever.

Ok. So this is it. This is IT. THE COOKIE. The one and only. Well maybe not the only, but definetely the one. The one I´ve wanted to be able to create in my own kitchen, meeting all my criterias for a perfect cookie: Crunchy edges, a chewy interiour, a deep flavour, a buttery texture and of course loaded with decent sized chunks of chocolate and hazelnuts. Ahhhh, what can I say – I`m in Heaven!!!

I´ve been meaning to make this for quite some time, but being the impatient baker I am, I´ve never got around to it until now. Cause this cookie needs some time and patience, my friend, but it´ll be worth it! So worth it… I promise! The reason why I baked them now, was simply to satisfy my chocolate chip cookie-cravings that appeard a few weeks back. But, I was able to resist the instant cravings, so that I wouldn´t give in for just any mediocre cookie. I wanted something more. Since I haven´t had a cookie in God-knows-how-long, this cookie had to be good, or actually better than good. So I searched for the recipe that would give maximum cookie-pleasure!

If I had the time, or the people to feed, I would easily bake cookies every week and try out several different recipes, and it wouldn´t be so bad if some of them turned out just ok. But I don´t get to bake cookies as often as I´d liked to – so when I wanted to bake cookies, I didn´t want to settle for “just a cookie” – I wanted the best chocolate cookie ever. Period. (Don´t we all?) So I put my impatience and cravings aside and got baking. I even followed the recipe precisly, with all the important notes that would influence on the final result. (No, that´s a lie. I didn´t have cake flour…I guess it would be even better with that! Next time! Cause these cookies will be made again, and again…) And boy…..was it all worth it? – Hell yeah!

I mean, with a the title “The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie I Will Ever Need to Know How to Make For The Rest of My Life” – I knew this was a recipe worth trying out. The only thing it requires is a little patience due to the refrigerating, and some planning to get everything at room temperature before you dive in. This is no “I want cookies – NOW” kind of recipe. This is a “I want the best damn chocolate chip cookies that have ever graced this earth and I am willing to practice some patience to get them in my mouth” recipe.
It turned out that this recipe was from Jaques Torres, which I´ve been drooling over, and I´ve heard people raving over claiming it to be the best ccc-recipe, and I´ve been planning to make it forever, but never got around to make due to my impatience. And when this turned out to be that same recipe, just disguised under that promising title, I knew these cookies had to be made…



Chocolate chip cookies (adapted from Jaques Torres)

2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. (8 ½ oz.) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 ½ oz.) bread flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk well; then set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. (Unless you have a plastic guard that sits around the rim of the bowl, this will make a big mess at first, with flour flying everywhere. I found that carefully holding a dish towel around the top of the bowl helped a lot.) Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Using a standard-size ice cream scoop – mine holds about 3 fluid ounces, or about 1/3 cup – scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

Yield: About 24 cookies (I made over 30, but I guess I don´t make them US-sized!)

Lemon cookies

It’s Christmas. It’s cookie time.
Let’s get down to business.

I’ve already made a batch of gingerbread. They turned out well, but they also turned out to be many. I brought one jar to school, now there’s only two back. And at the time, it’s just me. So I’m munching gingerbread, and I’ll be doing that for some time. But nevertheless, I feel the urge to bake some more cookies. Just something else. Something lighter (if you can say that about any cookie) and maybe a little less Christmasy. I found what I was looking for. Even though I’m very traditional when it comes to Christmas – cookie wise anyway – I know there’ll be plenty of that, so why not try something else? It’s still a cookie. So it has a some Christmas to it.

The cookies are lemon and lime flavoured sugar cookies. I found the recipe at joythebaker, but originally it’s from Baking from my home to yours, (I crave that book! I’ve found so many recipes from that book on various blogs, and they’re all so great. But it’s not available here…) and I knew I had to make them rightaway. And so I did…

I didn’t have any lime, but that didn’t stop me as I had a ton of lemons. I just skipped the lime part and added some more lemon instead. And that worked out fine. But I guess the lime would make that little extra je ne sais quoi… Great cookies anyway! Go bake!

Citrus Sables

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter (preferably high-fat, like Plugra), softened at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted before measuring
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt
2 large egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour.

zest of 1 lemon and zest of 1 lime

For the decoration (optional):
1 egg yolk
Crystal or dazzle sugar.

1. Beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and very creamy. Rub the zest of the lemon and lime into the granulated sugar with your fingertips, creating a fragrant sugar. Add the sugars and salt to the butter and continue to beat until smooth and velvety about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in 2 egg yolks, again beating until well blended.

2. Turn off the mixer, pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the mixer and pulse the mixer about 5 times at low speed for 1 or 2 seconds each time. Take a peek; if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of more times; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, stir for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough and the dough looks uniformly moist. If you still have some flour on the bottom of the bowl, stop mixing and use a rubber spatula to work the rest of it into the dough. You want to work the dough as little as possible. What you’re aiming for is a soft, moist, clumpy dough.

3. Scrape the dough onto a work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each piece into a smooth log about 9 inches long (it’s easiest to work on a piece of plastic wrap and use the plastic to help form the log). Wrap the logs well and chill them for at least 2 hours. The dough may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

4. When ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and keep it at the ready.

5. To decorate the edges of the sables, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Place one log of chilled dough on a piece of waxed paper and brush it with yolk (the glue), and then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with sugar. Trim the ends of the roll if they are ragged and slice the log into 1/3-inch-thick cookies.

6. Place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each cookie, and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top. Let the cookies rest 1 or 2 minutes before carefully lifting them onto a cooling rack with a wide metal spatula.

I decided to give them a little extra decoration, dress them up to be suitable Christmas presents. A nice frosty look to complement the sweetness. I made an icing from icing sugar, lemon juice and a little water. I love lemon-flavoured icing together with lemon-stuff! It’s so…..lemony! So these were right up my alley. But they’re delicious on their own, so it’s not needed at all. Plain, they would be the perfect accompaniement to a cup of your favourite tea, any day of week. But I made them festive and ready for Christmas. And they turned out quite pretty, I think. Don’t you?

Satisfactory chocolate chip cookies – but not the best ever

chocolate chip cookies

At least this batch wasn’t. But don’t be mislead by the title of this post. The cookies are good, great actually! Nothing wrong with them, I guess I just hoped for more. But that is so individual, so they might be perfect in your taste! I love cookies, and like so many others I’m on an everlasting search for the ulitmate chocolate chip cookie recipe. Even so, I haven’t experimented that much with it, so whenever I see a recipe that includes the words “best” and “ever” I’m intrigued. Easily influenced, me? Nooo….

This was one of those recipes. Simply named: Best chocolate chip cookies ever. I found it on one of my many favourite food blogs: www.visionsofsugarplum.com
And the photos were so tempting too, by far the most beautiful cookies I have laid my eyes on. They looked soo delicious. These cookies had to be made.

I had faith in this recipe. There were several aspects that made me believe this could be it. The holy grail of chocolate chip cookies. Number one: Browned butter. Butter is good, so browned butter in addition had to be even better. Never heard of that in a cookie recipe before, so I was curious about this. Number two: Yeast. In a cookie recipe? Really? Interesting. Number three: Chilling the dough. Ok, that’s probably no culinary epiphany, but I’ve never done it before, cause when I bake cookies, I crave them and want instant satisfaction. Anything that will slow me down will be left out as far as it goes. There were several other tricks that made this recipe special, but these were the things I focused on. The original recipe from visionsofsugarplum follows, but I made a few adjustments. I used regular salt instead of kosher, I replaced granulated sugar with demerara, and used toasted hazelnuts instead of walnuts.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for sprinkling
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (60%)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; continue to cook the butter, whisking frequently, until it starts to brown and foam, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour and baking soda; stir in yeast and salt until combined.

In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined and grainy, about 1 minute; beat in browned butter for 1 additional minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined; stir in chocolate and walnuts with a wooden spoon until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour. (You could speed up this process by placing the dough in the freezer for about 40 minutes.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter a cookie sheet.

Drop 1/4 cup measures of dough onto cookie sheet, forming into large mounds, and flatten slightly. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown around edges. Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

Makes 16 large cookies

When I took them out of the oven, the first feeling of disappoinment hit me. My cookies didn’t look anything like hers….. Her cookies looked a lot better. But hey, it’s what inside that counts, right?
I snapped a few pictures, and took a bite. Hmm. Chewy and soft, but not so much crisp and buttery. And according to Emily, hers were all that. But, I guess I have to blame myself and no one else. I didn’t really measure up the butter, and I have a feeling I might have used to little. I was missing that crunchy buttery feeling only butter can give. When will I have to learn. Measure when baking!!! Especially with new recipes… I have to make this again to do the recipe justice. You live you learn I guess. Some just slower than other. But this is starting to sound like a cookie disaster, but it wasn’t at all. They were good, but not good enough to conclude that this is the best chocolate chip cookie ever. The hunt continues!