Today, Cafe Fernando turns two years old and I would just die if I don’t mark this occasion with my most favorite cookies of all time: Korova Cookies.
These cookies made their debut in “Paris Sweets: Great Desserts from the City’s Best Pastry Shops” by Dorie Greenspan. There is another very impressive person behind the recipe – the man Vogue magazine once called “The Picasso of Pastry.” No, it’s not David Lebovitz (he is the Monet). It’s Pierre Herme.
The recipe later appeared in Dorie’s masterpiece “Baking: From My Home to Yours”, but under a different name: World Peace Cookies. Dorie’s neighbor, who is clearly one of the luckiest people on earth, gave them their new name. He once said that a daily dose of Pierre’s cookies is all that is needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness.
Korova cookies are extremely intense chocolate cookies, scented with vanilla, painted dark with cocoa and sprinkled with fleur de sel to bring out all the flavors and overwhelm your senses with each bite.
The sable-like texture is achieved by keeping the mixing to a minimum and baking them for exactly 12 minutes. My favorite way of eating them is a minute after they come out of the oven.
When I started writing two years ago today, I really didn’t expect Cafe Fernando to become this big a part of my life. I have met wonderful people along the way and learned a lot from my very talented fellow bloggers. And I have YOU to thank for that!
Without your enthusiasm and encouraging comments, I know that I wouldn’t find the motivation to go on.
So, thank you for inspiring me to bake, photograph, write and eat and bake and eat and eat.
KOROVA COOKIES RECIPE
Yields 28 cookies
- 1+1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (120 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
- Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together and keep close at hand.
- Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy.
- Add both sugars, the salt, and vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated. 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 mix only to incorporate.
- Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface and squeeze it so that it sticks together in large clumps. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it in half, and working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter.
- Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill them for at least 2 hours. (Wrapped airtight, the logs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep them close at hand.
- Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick.
- Place the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) spread space between them.
- 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.
- Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.