I'm lazy when it comes to making cookies. Bar cookies and drop cookies are my cookies of choice. Once or twice a year, I will actually make the effort to bake cut-out cookies. But most of the time it seems like way too much trouble. And while many people would say that slice and bake cookies are even easier than drop cookies, I don't like making them. I'm not even quite sure why. =) They just seem fussy to me for some reason. I think part of the problem is that you usually have to chill the dough log for several hours before you can get to the slicing and baking part. So I've got lots of recipes for that sort of cookie that sound good, but I've only made one of them.
That being said, I think I've found the recipe that will get me to make slice and bake cookies much more often. Thank you to Jessica of cookbookhabit for picking this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, World Peace Cookies. And since Dorie mentions in the book that these are "the brainchild of Pierre Hermé," thank you to him for inventing them!
On paper, they seem pretty straightforward--flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, butter, sugars, salt, vanilla and chocolate. Nothing that really stands out in the ingredients list, except that there is more salt than you usually see in a cookie recipe. But I think this is definitely a cookie that is affected by the quality of the ingredients. So I got out my favorite cocoa powder, from Scharffen Berger. I also had several add-ins that I wanted to try, rather than just the chocolate chunks called for in the recipe. The difficulty was in narrowing the choices. Thanks to Caitlin, I knew I wanted to make some with peanut butter cups. (Caitlin--we can still get the Reese's baking pieces here in Texas.) For another variation, I decided to use some items from TCHO that I was lucky enough to sample. I had both nibs and some chocolate in their Citrus flavor.
After mixing up the dough, I split it in half and stirred in my additions. I find that it's easiest to roughly form the dough into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap, and then roll the wrapped log back and forth, tightening the plastic wrap to even out the shape of the dough log. Another handy tip is to place the dough logs inside empty paper towel rolls to keep the logs in shape while they chill. (Plus the diameter of a paper towel roll is just right for most slice and bake cookies.) Edited to add: I've been reading that a number of people had trouble with the dough being very crumbly. So another tip I have is to weigh the flour if you can. Too much flour might be causing dry dough for some. I use a weight of 4.5 ounces per cup of flour for Dorie's recipes, and it seems to work well.
After chilling the dough for several hours, I sliced it into thick rounds and placed them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (My serrated bread knife worked really well for slicing.) I only got 30, rather than the yield of 36 listed in the recipe, but I went with thicker slices to help prevent any crumbling. I baked them for 12 minutes as directed, and took them out to cool.
The verdict? Wow, these are a keeper. The extra salt really brings out the flavor of the chocolate. You really can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter, so those were really good. And I really enjoyed the flavor of the TCHO chocolate (everything I've tried from them has been very good). I've made cookies with nibs before--I find that the cookies are usually better the second or third day as the flavors blend, and that was the case with these. Jamie liked the peanut butter ones better. Brianna and I prefer the chocolate ones. And I just realized that Gillian hasn't tried any yet--I'll have to remedy that this evening. =)
If you haven't made these, I definitely think you should. You can find the recipe on Jessica's blog. And be sure to check out what all the other TWD bakers did this week!