I was so happy it rained today that I baked cookies, an absolutely forbidden activity because it always leads to eating cookies. What can I say? Yes, I'm a little ashamed, and it is possible that you will mistake me for Sidney Greenstreet or Charles Durning the next time you see me. But it was raining and I was happy and, well, happiness sometimes involves cookies.
The following recipe comes from Dori Greenspann's book Baking: From My Home to Yours; it is available at our the public library, from your favorite independent bookstore, or on Amazon. If you own one book on baking this is the one to own.
Korova cookies are named for obscure reasons after the Korova Bar in Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange.. I wish I knew the reason for this--it is one of those literary and culinary mysteries that Diane Mott Davidson (Chopping Spree) might solve--but what really matters is that these are good, good cookies. The recipe goes like this:
1 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped into little bits
Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer 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--the dough will look crumbly. 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.
Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface and divide into two large clumps. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (Cookie-dough logs have a way of ending up with hollow centers, so as you're shaping each log, flatten it once or twice and roll it up from one long side to the other, just to make certain you haven't got an air channel.) Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill them for at least 1 hour.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I use silicone sheets I got at the Evil Retail Giant) and keep them close at hand.
Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. Place the cookies on the sheets, leaving about 1 inch 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 reach room temperature.
This is a somewhat complicated recipe and it can take up an entire afternoon to prepare and bake. But what better way is there to celebrate a good old fashioned thunderstorm than to sit on the porch eating cookies?