Cookies. Who doesn't love cookies? During the holidays, Significant Eater and I like to bring cookies whenever we visit friends or relatives. I think it's a nice touch, bringing something homemade instead of running to the store.
Now, I'm no Martha Stewart, but back when I lived in California, I'd put together some pretty damn nice gift baskets to give as gifts...one year, I even went so far as to make some herbal vinegars, and together with some decanted olive oils, each in their own little cruets, they became the centerpiece of some pretty nice gifts. Another time I sent a really nice gift box to my dad on his birthday - my own house smoked trout and salmon, a couple of bottles of California wine, various crackers and cheese - he got a giant kick out of it.
During holiday season, the cookies tend to be plain sugar cookie or ginger-bready type stuff, though after my last gingerbread cookies, they may move off the list (not big fans of gingerbread, I guess). The nice thing about the plain sugar cookies is that they then can get decorated with all sorts of sugars and sprinkles and weird dyes and food colors. They also last for a couple of days - even more when frozen. Delish.
But that was the holidays and this is now. And now, when thinking of baking cookies, my thoughts turn to one thing - CHOCOLATE. 'Cause really, what the hell is better than a chocolate cookie? (Okay, pretend that's a rhetorical question, will ya?)
One of my go-to cookies is a cookie popularized by a culinary icon, Dorie Greenspan. For those of you who claim to be foodies - if you don't know who Dorie is, guess what? You're not.
Anyhoo, Dorie popularized a cookie "invented" by Pierre Hermé, another of those culinary icons that all foodies should be thankful for. Pierre called it a Korova, which was the name of the milk bar in Kubrick's classic film A Clockwork Orange...I guess because Pierre felt it would go so well with a glass of milk. Sometimes they take on a nom d'plume, becoming more widely know as World Peace Cookies. And the recipe is available everywhere you look, but you might as well go to Dorie's site - variations and metric measures included.
I baked a batch recently (for a dinner party), and I've even figured out how to keep the logs of cookie dough nice and round - so not only do they taste good, they look good too. My slight variation on the recipe is that I sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a wee bit of fleur de sel - everyone seems to like the crunch that it provides...
And since I'm turning on the oven anyway, why not bake a couple of batches? That's when the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated (May & June, 2009) came into play. Because in it is an article entitled Chocolate Chip Cookies, Reinvented. Well, I'll hop on that bus, since chocolate chip cookies are always a hit. I usually make chocolate chip cookies based on the recipe on the bag of chips - a "toll-house style" but not the toll-house recipe, since I don't use Nestle's chips...partial to Ghiradelli here. But CI, in that CI sort of way, went ahead and baked like 7,000 batches of cookies in order to improve on the recipe. And improve they did. Just follow the recipe (tip of the day - follow recipes when baking) in the latest issue - use some good quality butter and chips, and get ready for the huzzah's, because these cookies are so damn good. After all, who doesn't love cookies?