World Peace Cookies
A little bit French chocolate sablé and a little bit American chocolate chip, World Peace Cookies are a force of their own: fine and sandy, but with a friendly, soft chew and generous pockets and wisps of chocolate. As the story goes, Dorie Greenspan’s neighbor told her that a daily dose of these cookies would ensure lasting world peace, and so they became—naturally, ambitiously— World Peace Cookies. (The internet responded well to that.)
Greenspan has always credited Pierre Hermé for the original recipe, which he created in the early 2000s for a then-cutting edge restaurant in Paris called Korova. Greenspan was the one to test and translate the recipe for American kitchens, then popularize the cookies with their lovable new name.
So what was it about these cookies that made them so memorable? According to Greenspan, Hermé had American chocolate chip cookies in mind when he first made these. “I think it was the addition of brown sugar, not a very commonly used ingredient in France, that made it most like our cookie. But, of course, it was the salt, the fleur de sel, that made the cookie such a standout.”
Even though these little cookies are the stuff of legend, they’re as simple as any other slice-and-bake recipe and perfect for anytime baking. Keep a few logs of this dough in your freezer at all times.
“I’ve seen World Peace Cookies made with peanut butter chips, with cinnamon, with icing, and with gluten-free flours. I’ve seen them huge and small. Happily, there’s little you can do to ruin them.” —Dorie Greenspan
MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN COOKIES
1 1⁄4 cups (170g) all-purpose flour
1⁄3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (155g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2⁄3 cup (135g) lightly packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup (50g) sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon fleur del sel or 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces (140g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into irregularly-sized pieces smaller than 1⁄3 inch/8mm
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into a bowl or onto a sheet of waxed paper. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and the sugars on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the salt and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
Turn off the mixer and pour in the dry ingredients. For the best texture, mix the dough as little as possible once the dry ingredients are added. Drape a kitchen towel over the mixer to contain any flying flour and pulse at low speed about five times. Take a peek: if there’s still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple more times; if not, remove the towel. Mix on low speed just until the flour disappears and the dough starts to come together in large clumps, 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Add the chocolate pieces and mix just to incorporate.
Dump the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together, and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into logs that are 11⁄2 inches (4cm) in diameter. Bundle the logs in plastic wrap, twisting the ends tightly to help even out the shape, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. To help maintain their round shape, refrigerate the logs in empty paper-towel rolls or tall drinking glasses. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, no need to defrost it before baking; let it warm just enough so you can slice the logs into rounds easily and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)
Heat the oven to 325°F (165°C) with a rack in the center. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Using a serrated or other sharp, thin knife, start to slice one of the logs into 1⁄2-inch (1.3cm) rounds. (The rounds may crack as you’re cutting them—don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back together.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches (5cm) apart. Keep any remaining dough chilled until you are ready to bake.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes. They won’t look done or feel firm to the touch, but that’s exactly how they should be. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets on racks until they are just warm. Serve warm or let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
GENIUS TIP: SMART STORAGE FOR CRUNCHIER (AND CHEWIER) COOKIES According to Dorie Greenspan, you should never store crunchy cookies and soft, chewy ones in the same container. The crunchy cookies will inherit moisture from the softer ones and lose their snap.
Excerpted from Food52’s Genius Desserts by Kristen Miglore.