2 Recipes that just can’t wait for the weekend.
Normally, we post our Baking recipes later in the week. This is on the assumption that people have more time to bake on the weekend. We’re breaking the rules because everyone who has tasted one of these two cookies has clamored for the recipes. Andrew’s COVID19 confinement has led to more baking than ever before. The cookies and pies and cakes have been coming fast and furious. Since there are just the two of us, we’ve taken to making Baking deliveries to a grateful group of friends. They’re the ones awaiting these two recipes. And on a guess that this week may be a vacation week for some of our readers, we suggest these may be the perfect afternoon activity if rain should dampen your parade.
Both of these recipes are from Dorie Greenspan’s Encyclopedia of Cookies.
Dorie’s Cookies (Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt 2016) has to be considered a Cookie Bible. 300 Cookies all in one place. I can’t tell you how dog-eared Andrew’s copy is. And how many of these recipes are annotated as being “Excellent”. Today’s two have been underscored. If you are serious about cookies, you really owe it to yourself to buy the book.
Double Ginger Molasses Cookies have a little French Accent.
Turns out that Dorie owns an apartment in Paris and calls herself “a Paris part-timer”. She has a friend there called Christine Beck, another Paris part-timer. Dorie attributes the recipe for these chewy-molasses cookies to her. But she owns up to having changed the recipe. To Ms. Beck’s crystallized and powder ginger and her heavy hand with chopped dark chocolate, Ms. Greenspan added the bit of instant espresso. This ups the chocolate factor. She also altered the cooking method. Rather than rolling the dough into balls, then flattening the balls with a fork, she recommends making these in muffin tins. The result is a more uniformly shaped cookie that she says “tinkers on the brink of becoming as gingerbread cake.” Try them then let us know what you think.
World Peace Cookies are a recipe from one of Paris’s Master Pastry Chefs and have Instagram ‘likes’ totaling 59 million!
Dorie Greenspan gives Pierre Hermé credit for what has to be the world’s favorite cookie. No less than 1,452 have posted theirs on Instagram. The world-famous chef taught Greenspan how to make these in the 1990s. It was called Korova after the restaurant he first baked them for. That’s the name Greenspan gave to them in her book. “Paris Sweets”(Broadway Books 2002). Some years later, a neighbor told her that he loved the cookie so much, he’d renamed it “World Peace”. Greenspan writes that she instantly changed the name, convinced that “If everyone had it, peace would reign o’er the planet. I’m convinced of this”. We’re all for World Peace so bake these and spread them far and wide. Notes on Crystallized Ginger and advice on Mixing, Rolling and Patience the World Peace Cookie precede the recipes. Ms. Greenspan is one of the most thorough recipe writers of them all. Do not be put off by the volume of advice given, these are not by any means hard to make.
A word on crystallized ginger:
Crystallized, or candied, ginger is sliced fresh ginger that is cooked in syrup, dredged in sugar, and dried. You can usually find it in the supermarket alongside other dried fruits or in the spice section. If the ginger isn’t moist and pliable, steam it before using: Put it in a strainer over a saucepan of simmering water, cover, and let warm and soften for about 5 minutes; pat dry, chop, and use. If you can’t find crystallized ginger, you can omit it or mix 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger with 2 teaspoons sugar and let stand for about 10 minutes, until the ginger is syrupy.
A word on mixing, log rolling and patience:
This dough can be different from batch to batch — it always seems to turn out well no matter what, but the inconsistency can be frustrating. I’ve found that it’s best to mix the dough for as long as it takes to get big, moist curds that hold together when pressed and then knead if necessary so it comes together. When you’re rolling it into logs, keep checking that the logs are solid. Again, the dough can be capricious and it may not always roll into a compact log on the first (or second or third) try. Be patient.
Double Ginger Molasses Cookies from Dorie Greenspan
You don't have to be a ginger fanatic to love what you'll find in this great cookie but it sure doesn't hurt.
- 2¼ cups (306 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons instant espresso, to taste (optional)
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons
- 6 ounces
- 170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
- 1⁄3 cup (67 grams) sugar
- 1⁄3 cup (67 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- ½ cup (120 ml) unsulfured molasses
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄3 cup (55 grams) chopped
- crystallized ginger or 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar (see headnote)
- 7 ounces (200 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped chip-size sugar, for rolling
- Step 1 Whisk the flour, cocoa, espresso (if using), spices, baking soda, and salt together. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-low speed for about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed, until fully blended. Add the yolk and beat for 1 minute, then add the molasses and vanilla, beating until smooth.
- Step 2 Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients all at once, and pulse the mixer until the risk of flying flour passes. Working on low speed, mix the dough until the flour is almost but not completely incorporated. Add the crystallized ginger (or the sugared fresh ginger) and chocolate and mix until the dry ingredients disappear into the dough and the ginger and chocolate are evenly distributed. If you’ve got bits of dry ingredients on the bottom of the bowl, mix them in with a flexible spatula.
- Step 3 Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it, and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Step 4 To Bake: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 350ºF. Butter or spray regular muffin tins or, if making free-form cookies, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Step 5 Have a medium cookie scoop at hand. Alternatively, you can use a rounded tablespoonful of dough for each cookie. If you’re using tins, find a jar or glass that fits into them and can be used to flatten the dough. Cover the bottom in plastic wrap. Spoon some sugar into a wide shallow bowl.
- Step 6 For each cookie, mold a scoop or spoonful of dough into a ball between your palms, then turn it in the sugar to coat and put in a muffin cup or on a baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each ball of dough. If using tins, use the jar or glass to flatten each ball until it almost reaches the sides of the cup. If it’s free-form, press to flatten to about ½ inch thick.
- Step 7 Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes, rotating the tins or sheets top to bottom and front to back after 7 minutes. The cookies should be lightly set around the edges and softer in the center.
- Step 8 Transfer the tins or sheets to racks, and let the cookies rest for 15 minutes before unmolding them and/or placing them on racks to cool completely. If you’re baking in batches, make certain to start with cool tins or baking sheets.
- Step 9 To store: You can refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days. You can also scoop out the dough, shape into balls, and freeze the balls on baking sheets
- Step 10 When they’re firm, pack them airtight, and keep frozen for up to 2 months. Remove the dough from the freezer and let the balls sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then roll in sugar and bake. The baked cookies can be kept in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 4 days. They’ll get a little drier and a little less chewy, but that will make them even better for dunking.
World Peace Cookies from Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan
- 1 1/4 cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (28 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons
- 5 1/2 ounces
- 155 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (134 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 pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces (142 grams) best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into irregular sized bits
- Step 1 Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together.
- Step 2 Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until soft, creamy and homogenous, about 3 minutes. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Turn off the mixer, add all the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to start the blending. When the risk of flying flour has passed, turn the mixer to low and beat until the dough forms big, moist curds. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix to incorporate. This is an unpredictable dough (see above). Sometimes it’s crumbly and sometimes it comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl. Happily, no matter what, the cookies are always great.
- Step 3 Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it together, kneading it if necessary to bring it together. Divide the dough in half. Shape the dough into logs that are 11/2 inches in diameter. Don’t worry about the length — get the diameter right, and the length will follow. (If you get a hollow in the logs, just start over.) Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and freeze them for at least 2 hours or refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.
- Step 4 When you’re ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Step 5 Working with one log at a time and using a long, sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. (The rounds might 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 2 inches between them. (If you’ve cut both logs, keep one baking sheet in the fridge while you bake the other.)
- Step 6 Bake the cookies for 12 minutes — don’t open the oven, just let them bake. When the timer rings, they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, and 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 munch them, or let them reach room temperature (I think the texture’s more interesting at room temperature).
- Step 7 Bake the remaining dough.
- Step 8 STORING: 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 bake the cookies 1 minute long.