December 26, 2015

Double Chocolate Shortbread (Korova Cookies)

It doesn't really feel much like Christmas when it's 20+ degrees warmer than it should be and I've spent 12 of the last 36 hours in airports and on planes. However, as evidenced by the enormous crowds at my local Chinese takeout place last night as well as the flood of Bubbes at the flea market down here in Boca Raton, it's Christmas.

Well, maybe not anymore. I wrote this a day or two ago but thanks to the subpar internet availability in Boca I just couldn't get this out in time. Anyway, It just seems appropriate to publish this recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan, who dubbed them her World Peace Cookies. With all the terrible things going on in the world right now, I think everyone could use a good dose of chocolate, especially if there's tons of butter involved.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that there's no eggs, so I can eat all the dough I want. It all starts with creaming tons of butter with sugar and brown sugar. Shortbread is supposed to be fairly dense, but you do want some air whipped in here for textural purposes. After that, throw in some salt and vanilla for flavor. Sometimes I'll sprinkle some sea salt on top of the cookies for more contrast, too, since salt enhances the sweetness and the chocolate flavor.

As for the dry ingredients, I use flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. I hate to pull an Ina Garten on you, but you really should use the "good" cocoa here since it's the prominent flavor. That also applies to the chocolate. You can use chocolate chips or chunks or mini chips, but the only way these cookies will be truly outstanding is if you get a bar of semisweet or bittersweet baking chocolate and chop it up. You get some big chunks, some slivers, and some shards that give the cookies random pockets of molten chocolate. Baking bars are often better quality than chocolate chips as well, just make sure you're not using the unsweetened ones.

To get perfectly round and uniform cookies, I roll mine into logs in saran wrap and chill them for a few hours. The cold solidifies the fat, which then doesn't melt as quickly and help the cookies keep their shape. Other things related to moisture happen as well, but all you need to know is that you need to chill the dough. You don't even have to bake the dough immediately; the logs can be kept chilled for a few days or frozen for a few weeks. Just slice and bake however many you need (or feel like eating) and you'll have a delicious treat within 10 minutes.

1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Stick + 3 T Butter, Softened
2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/3 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
4 oz Chocolate, Chopped

Whisk the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together.

Beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Add the salt and vanilla and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture, then add the chocolate.

Split the dough in half, wrap each in plastic wrap, and roll into two logs. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.

Heat oven to 325F and line cookie trays with parchment. Slice the dough into ½" thick coins and bake until set, 10-12 minutes.

Makes 30
Recipe Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

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