If you like crumbly chocolate cookies…

Sable1a 

Friends, you have to bear with me a bit longer as every post my keyboard types out seem to be of the French pastry demi-god. By this time I don’t think I even need to mention his name. Maybe I should start another blog, Veronique and Pierre or Pierre Hermé at Home (just kidding).

 

I’ve been living and breathing his recipes the past two weekends and I am excited to finally match the creaminess and taste of his rose-litchi ganache which he uses for his Ispahan macarons. It was not about the recipe after all, it was about technique and patience. You cannot hurry along a ganache into pipeable consistency by putting it in the refrigerator (I rarely do this but I have been guilty on occasion), there is a tendency for it to become a grainy mess or to separate. Now some ganache may be more forgiving but for one as delicate an emulsion as the rose-litchi ganache you have to wait it out and don’t be tempted to whisk it constantly to see if it had thickened enough either…just gently check with a spatula after 2 hours or so …yes it takes that long …even longer.

Another tale about technique and not recipe are these cookies I have been obsessing about ever since I’ve tasted them in Chicago. The first time I made them, they had the similar taste but bore no resemblance to the rustic elegance of the Pierre Hermé chocolate sablé. Mine looked like a log simply cut into sections. That time I was working with the PH10 version which, besides being in French, did little to explain the exacting procedure of these delicate sandy cookies.

Luckily, Dorie Greenspan has the recipe in her book Baking from My Home to Yours, and in it she explained in detail how to manipulate the dough so as not to overwork it.

Sables2 

World Peace Cookies

Adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours

 

Ingredients

·         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

·         2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar

·         1/4 cup sugar

·         1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

·         1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

·         5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 1/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Procedure

1.       Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

2.      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.

3.      Turn off' the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients; 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 are 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.

4.      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.)

5.      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.

6.      Using 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.

7.      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.

STORING: Packed airtight, the cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Cooking Notes:

My cookies still do not look exactly like PH’s but at least it looks craggier. I need to work the dough a bit less and resist rolling it into a smooth log. I also scored the log with a fork to give it more texture. And indeed when you cut it and it cracks – just stick it back to the dough as this adds more character to the cookies when baked.

This is definitely your ultimate chocolate cookie! The addition of fleur de sel is an ingenious touch and elevates the "chocolatiness" to new heights. However, if you crave the less crumbly kind, try this.

19 thoughts on “If you like crumbly chocolate cookies…

  1. Hi Anita – I was a bit slow jumping on the World Peace Cookies bandwagon but now I'm firmly planted as a fan! I do wish Valrhona had some chips it would make it easier.
    Thanks T.W. !
    Hi Susan – you sure can have the bottom cookie with the ooziest chocolate!
    Thanks Susan – I do love these cookies they are extremely chocolatey!
    Thanks Aran!
    Hi Lydia – I could easily see why this could be a favorite!
    Hi Tanna – if you could make all those great looking loaves, I'm sure these cookies are going to be easy!
    Thanks Dorie! I am extremely tickled that you think my cookies look good. And you are right , now matter what they taste delicious!
    Thanks Hannah! They are really hard to stay away from.
    Thanks FFichiban – it's a crime not to have one right out the oven and a cool glass of milk is the right drink to have to wash it down.

  2. Oh these cookies are so good…! I actually veganized the recipe a while ago, and it's a keeper. I can't make it too often though because they're hard to stay away from… ;)

  3. ummm . . . well, after all these years and all the blog posts on these . . . I really do need to make these soon don't I.
    Patience is something I have lots of problems with, waiting just doesn't seem productive ;0)

  4. Hey, another fan of the World Peace Cookies (aka My Favorite Cookie!) I've gotten lots of comments on my post in it over the years – it's easy to make but surprisingly tricky to master! Even though I usually hate store-bought chips, I find they work best here because they are smaller and you can cut through them easier, so it's easier to get a smooth cut. Also, like you mentioned, it's surprisingly forgiving – I mash together broken bits of dough and the texture still comes out great!
    Btw, thanks for sharing all those PH tips! I may have to beg you for the rose-litchi ganache since I don't have PH10!!

  5. I think I am the only one on the surface of the earth to have said "allright" when made. It would help if I were a cookie person I guess. On the other hand, yeah for mastering your ganache quest. Ganaches of all types are my favorite things to work on, especially late at night!

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