I may have found a new favorite cookie. The Korova cookies recipe comes from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan, and it is a truly stunning chocolate chocolate chip cookie with fleur de sel (fancy French sea salt).
When still warm from the oven, the Korova had a density I would expect more readily from a brownie than from a cookie. Once cooled to room temperature, the Korova’s true identity as a sable cookie became obvious. It had a delicately sandy texture on the outside, with a denser, richer consistency on the inside.
In both states, the Korova cookie boasts a rich, intense chocolate flavor, with unexpected bursts of salt from the fleur de sel. The large grains of fleur de sel really are essential here, as they provide bubbles of salt flavor to cut through the dense chocolate cookie, instead of just making the entire cookie salty. I used my favorite sea salt, Maldon’s, which is British, not French. (Read a review which extols Maldon’s virtues, such as its square flakes, and how it stands up to other available fancy salts.)
It’s a great way to enjoy a rich chocolate cookie without being overwhelmed by the thickness of the chocolate flavor. It seems like a recipe that would showcase superior chocolate, and I’m really looking forward to making it again once I get some quality Callebaut bittersweet and Dutched cocoa powder.
Korova Cookies (sablés Korova)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
1. Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together and keep close at hand. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy. (Alternatively, you can do this and all subsequent steps by hand, working with a sturdy rubber spatula.) 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, and that’s just right. 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 only to incorporate.
2. Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface and squeeze it so that it sticks together in large clumps. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it in half, and working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) 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. (Wrapped airtight, the logs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for I month.)
3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and keep them close at hand.
4. Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick. (Don’t be upset if the rounds break; just squeeze the broken-off bit back onto the cookie.) Place the cookies on the parchment-lined sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) spread space between them.
5. 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 are only just warm or until they reach room temperature — it’s your call. Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.
The dough can be made ahead and chilled or frozen. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs and bake the cookies 1 minute longer. Packed airtight, baked cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 1 month.