Hello, friends. The past couple of weeks has been oddly temperate, for Kingston in July: cool at night, sunny and warm by day. To my mind, during weather like this, the obvious thing is to bake up a stash of treats against the return of our usual heat and humidity.
The recipe below is not mine. It belongs to French pastry chef Pierre Hermé and American food writer Dorie Greenspan, and while individual palates vary so widely, I feel confident in pronouncing it divine. Everyone I’ve shared these cookies with demands the recipe.
The original recipe is here, and in a million other places. I like to use whole kamut flour because it enhances the cookie’s sandy texture. And while the texture of gluten-free variations usually suffers, this one is really close. I also replace a portion of the chocolate with cacao nibs, for extra crunch and intensity.
Korova Cookies (with a gluten-free variation)
- 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) kamut flour, or gluten-free flour mix (measure alternative flours by weight)
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 tsp psyllium husks, if making the gluten-free variation
- 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (5 1/2 ounces; 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (120 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (double this if making the gluten-free variation, as the GF flours tend to mute the salt flavour)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits (or 100 grams chocolate plus a handful of cacao nibs)
1. Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda (and psyllium husks, if using) together. Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt, and vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two. Add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated—the dough will look crumbly, and that’s just right. For the best texture, you want to work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added. Toss in the chocolate pieces (and cacao nibs, if using) and mix only to incorporate.
2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface and shape it into two logs that are 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic or parchment and chill them for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep them close at hand.
4. Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick. (The rounds will probably crumble and break; just squeeze them together.) Place the cookies on the parchment-lined sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) spread space between them.
5. Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time, and bake each sheet for 12 minutes. The cookies will not 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 stand until they are only just warm or until they reach room temperature—it’s your call. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.
If you try these, let me know how you like them! Also, am I being overly sensitive about the world peace thing?