Couture Chocolate Cookies with Fleur de Sel
I first published this recipe in my Baker’s Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies, and the original headnote is below, where credit is given to Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Hermé for their origination. These have become a standard host/hostess gift for me as they never fail to please. Recently a new paramour said that he would beg me for them. Sounds like I might have to take advantage of that situation.
Dough freezes well
Cookies keep well
Fun to make with kids
Sturdy enough to mail
Type: Refrigerator cookie
Description: These are elegant, buttery, deep, dark and chocolatey with a crunchy surprise hit of salt – very haute couture and European. Fleur de sel has a crunchy texture and very pure flavor that is essential to this recipe. Also, the very bittersweet (70%) Valrhona Guanaja chocolate is integral to the grown-up flavor of the final result. Look for both in specialty food stores or through mail-order.
Field Notes: Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Hermé are two of the planet’s most talented pastry chefs. This is their recipe –who am I to fuss with perfection. Well, I did add a tiny bit more salt on top of the cookies, otherwise this is the Korova Cookie found in Dorie’s Paris Sweets, Great Recipes from the City’s Best Pastry Shops (Broadway Books, 2002).
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sifted Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fleur de sel, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces Valrhona Guanaja bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped (about 1 cup pus 1 tablespoon chopped)
1. Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda together to aerate and combine; set aside.
2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice; beat in 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel and vanilla. Add about one-third of flour mixture and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour mixture and finely chopped chocolate, mixing just until blended. The mixture will look crumbly. Turn mixture out onto work surface and bring together into a ball by pressing together with palms.
3. Divide dough in half and roll each into a log about 8 1/2-inches long and 1 1/2-inches in diameter using your hands to form the logs. Wrap each log with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. (You may freeze dough up to 1 month; defrost in refrigerator overnight before proceeding).
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Slice cookie logs into 1/2-inch thick cookies and place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Sprinkle cookies with remaining salt; there will just be a few grains on the top of each cookie.
5. Bake for about 12 minutes; cookies will be dry, but still soft. Do not overbake.
Place sheets on racks to cool cookies for 5 minutes, then remove cookies from sheets and place directly on racks to cool completely.
Lifespan: 2 weeks at room temperature in airtight container
Yield: 34 cookies
Good Cookie Tip: When you slice the cookies off of the log, you want them to be as round as possible. Use your hands to constantly re-shape the logs into cylindrical shapes and as you slice the cookies, press any ragged edges into the cookie if they crumble or become misshapen. I have also used ½ teaspoon kosher salt for the batter and Maldon salt for the tops. Experiment!