We Come en Paz

In food on 02/10/2010 at 4:59 pm

SNOW DAY! Trains canceled into the city, can’t get to work, what to do? Bake cookies and contemplate world peace. Well in our case, landlord truce. Never rent an apartment on the first floor, a lesson we painfully learn again and again these days.

In fact, just last night, another party upstairs kept us awake and grumbling until 3am. We moved out of the city to avoid cacophony, and are even armed with 32db noise-reducing earplugs, but that mariachi music still squirms its way into our Eustachian tubes. “But it’s a tiny radio, not a big boombox,” quoth the Landlord of the Year. At least it’s not Harlem hip-hop with the bass cranked past myocardial infarction induction threshold. We count our blessings where we can.

This morning, more oompa-loompa-doompa. I felt like I was in Tijuana without tequila to dull my senses. I severely bruised two knuckles on my right hand banging on their door to complain about the noise. Then I chewed out whichever of the twenty-odd people we have seen enter and exit the premises came down. It’s a single-family house. I think the woman was wondering if I was going to punch her in the face. Upstairs, our landlord was still passed out at 2pm from the night’s festivities.

Back to world peace. Who is Dorie Greenspan? A food writer who has enough clout to open a pop-up haute cookie store on Park Ave. She’s famous for her Korovas, which actually aren’t hers but Pierre Herme’s. He’s linked to Fauchon, a now-defunct outpost of the Parisian über bakery I’ve frequented in Midtown, known for its technicolor macarons that a painter friend of mine used to buy for her favorite professor in Boston.

Dorie’s neighbor loves the Korovas so much he renamed them “World Peace” cookies because he was “convinced that a daily dose of the cookies is all that’s needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness.” It seems to me we require some of that around here. Too bad none of the cookies will make their way upstairs.

I read the recipe and realized these are just chocolate cookies with chocolate chips, except Dorie uses Valrhona, the good stuff. For plebians like us (Valrhona-deficient), they need a little something more to spice them up. Reminiscing about the Dessert Truck chocolate bread budding with bacon crème anglaise that I almost refused to eat due to my aversion to soggy bread, I decided bacon bits would be the secret knockout ingredient.

The dough doesn’t come together when you mix it (kind of like my landlord and us). It is super crumbly, so make sure you cut your butter into tiny chunks, especially if it doesn’t thaw in the middle of winter. This cookie is really a short pastry crust masquerading at Fashion Week. What sets it apart from others is there’s no eggs to bind the ingredients. It’s held together by sheer will.

To wrap it in saran, divide into two piles on two sheets, bring two sides up, seal, then bring the other two sides up and compress into the log shape.

So, the bacon didn’t work out, but what would still give off the taste of bacon, sans chewy bits? Liquid smoke. And the bits of sea salt give a nice unexpected pop of savory amongst all the sweet richness of the chocolate. I think we’re gonna have to rename these Intergalactic Peace Cookies. They are pretty darned incredible.

For the record, we confirmed there are only nine people living upstairs. How could it possibly be loud? Especially “since we just put in new floors – ceramic tile.” Attach fingernails to chalkboard, please. Now drag.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick + 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel (the Korean brands are affordable) or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or generous 3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Beat butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more. Add chocolate and liquid smoke, mix only to incorporate.

Add flour, mix 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.

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.)

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

Slice logs into rounds 1/2 inch thick (they 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. Sprinkle additional salt on top of each cookie.

Bake 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.

Eat already!

  1. Oh, only 9 people living upstairs! On new ceramic tile no less.

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