Monday, November 14, 2011

Etsy Greetings: Holiday Traditions Blog Hop

Hi friends! As some of you might know from reading this blog, I am part of a wonderful, supportive team on Etsy called "Etsy Greetings". We are a diverse group of greeting card makers, and in our shops you will find styles from elegant to funky. We are clean & simple, layered, highly embellished, letterpress and pop-up. On our greetings you'll see our beautiful photography and hand-drawn art as well and gorgeous graphic designs. Many of us are bloggers and we wanted to share a little more than just our cards with you, so...

Welcome to the Etsy Greetings Team Holiday Traditions Blog Hop! The hop starts at the team blog, where you'll find a complete list of participants. Start there or jump right in here!

This hop is all about sharing all sorts of holiday traditions found in our homes, on our plates and in our hearts. Sit back, relax and take a stroll though our traditions. Along the way you'll find poignant stories, yummy recipes and great holiday printables. There's no time limit so feel free to browse our blogs - maybe you'll find a new tradition to start with your family.

The tradition I want to share is cookies. There was a time when we didn't have a lot of extra cash for Christmas gifts, so we "splurged" on a whole lot of baking supplies and made cookies in lieu of traditional store-bought gifts. I was ambitious and took on 15 different recipes, most of which I'd never tried before. 

We were living in an 800 sq ft. apartment in Baltimore. The kitchen had room to move around but the only real counter space was a 24x36-inch butcher block island-on-wheels we had in the center. When I think about it now I'm amazed at how much I accomplished on that island. All of the cooling happened on the dining room table, which was also my husband's pizzelle-making station.

Our families and friends were thrilled to receive our handmade goodies that year. I didn't know it then, but the cookie tradition was born. In the 14 years since, not one holiday season had passed without hearing this: "You're going to make cookies this year, right?"

Over the years I have added new recipes and retired others. There were a few that just weren't worth the effort (oh, the pinwheels!) and new flavors I wanted to try. I remember every cookie I made that first year and still have all the recipes. Today I want to share my absolute favorite cookie recipe: World Peace Cookies. They have the perfect combination of salty and sweet that really tickles my tastebuds! It's a recipe from Dorie Greenspan and has been all over the internet for many years. You might recognize them as Korova Cookies, too.

World Peace Cookies

(Click "read more" for action photos and the recipe!)

Since you can't be here to sample, I am including loads of action photos. :) I hope to tempt you to try something new or even to make your own tried-and-true tonight!

Gather your ingredients! 

Sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa (nice "age" on the sifter!) 

Sifting in action!

Ready to put it all together!

Mixed together gently!

Rolled onto a work surface; divided in half.

OK, not exactly in half, but it works!

Rolled, wrapped and ready to refrigerate.

Resist the urge to bite... cut into 1/2" slices with a sharp knife.

Is it too early to drool?

12 minute timer went off - *now* it's time to drool!

Oh yes, you'll need the milk!

World Peace Cookies
by Dorie Greenspan

     • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
     • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
     • 1/2 tsp baking soda
     • 1 stick plus 3 TBSP (11 TBSP) unsalted butter, at room temp.
     • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
     • 1/4 cup sugar
     • 1/2 tsp fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
     • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
     • 5 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

3. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)
Getting Ready to Bake:

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

6. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them — don't be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won't 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 rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature. Makes about 36 cookies.

Thanks for joining the Etsy Greetings Team Holiday Traditions blog hop. Now please click on the right arrow to take you to our next holiday tradition!


katy said...

Those cookies look delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Cheers back from FarFlungCards

Jenna Hansen said...

I can't imagine making cookies in such a small space! Sounds like you had it down to a science. Thanks for sharing!

Amy Jaz said...

Those cookies look super delicious! I have never heard of them before, but I may have stumbled on a new favorite!

Linda said...

Great tradition and yummy looking cookies! Feel free to use the cookie quote from my album. I took it from a wooden Christmas decoration and there was no source noted on it.

Handmade in Israel said...

Those cookies look so good! Isn"t it funny how these baking traditions begin?

Maria J Black said...

Those look delicious! Thanks for sharing.

artbycarolann said...

Your cookies sound delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Terri said...

The cookies look yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe and showing us how you made them. I will have to give them a try now.

Anastasia said...

they look delicious!! and I love the name 'World Peace' cookies...what more can we want during the holidays!

Fiona Designs said...

Those cookies look and sound so delicious!

stelie + co. said...

i totally want one now!! yummy! my mom & grandma are fantastic bakers which didn't get handed down to me. i'll have to give this recipe to my mom.

ij said...

Ooooo! Me thinks maybe my family should try this out this year. We do cookie baking too each Christmas season :) Bookmarking!! Thanks so much!