How to Make Cookies From Scratch

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When Dorie Greenspan’s neighbor ate the cookies she’d just given him, he declared they were so delicious that a daily dose of them would bring peace and happiness to Earth. Greenspan is the author of “Baking: From My Home to Yours,” and the cookies she baked were a creation of French pastry chef Pierre Hermé. Originally called “Korova Cookies,” the recipe was rechristened “World Peace Cookies” by Greenspan’s neighbor. She says the recipe’s secret is the salt, “fleur de sel,” a moist off-white sea salt. But you can get the same effect with common fine sea salt.

How to Make Cookies From Scratch
(Diane Shear/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 11 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. fleur de sel or 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 5 oz bittersweet chocolate or 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Sifter
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Mixer
  • Cutting board
  • Plastic film
  • 2 cookie sheets
  • Knife
  • Parchment paper or 2 silicone mats
Step 1

Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking soda into a bowl.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 2

Beat the butter with a mixer on medium speed in a separate bowl until it becomes creamy.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 3

Add brown and white sugar, salt and vanilla extract to the butter and beat for two minutes.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 4

Add the sifted ingredients to the butter mixture. Pulse the mixer on low speed five times, for about two seconds each time.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 5

Look at the dough. If there’s still a lot of flour on the surface, repeat step 4.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 6

Mix the dough for 30 seconds on low speed to finish incorporating the flour mixture into the dough.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 7

Chop the bittersweet chocolate and add the pieces to the dough or toss the chocolate chips in.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 8

Mix the dough as little as necessary to blend the chocolate bits with the dough.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 9

Move the dough to a cutting board and divide it in half. Shape each half into a log that's 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 10

Wrap the logs separately in plastic film and refrigerate them for a minimum of three hours and a maximum of three days.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 11

Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 12

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 13

Take the cookie logs out of the fridge and put them on a cutting board.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 14

Slice the logs into 1/2-inch rounds and put them on the cookie sheets, 1 inch apart.

Diane Shear/Demand Media
Step 15

Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for 12 minutes each. Remove the baking sheet from the oven to a cooling rack.

Diane Shear/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • It’s okay if the dough looks crumbly. Handle it as little as necessary. Cover the bowl with a towel before you begin step 4 to prevent the flour from flying out. Use a very sharp knife in step 14. If the rounds crack, just press them together again.
  • Even though your cookies might not look done after 12 minutes, remove them from the oven.

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