World peace cookies: no peace but the world keeps moving anyway
I know these cookies have made their rounds on the internet for, oh, for just about the entire time the food blog world has existed. Most recently, they’ve made an appearance on Food 52′s Genius Recipes column. This should perhaps de-incentivize me from sharing them with you, seeing as if you haven’t already made them you’ve probably seen them on your computer screen at least a dozen times and at this point it might just be annoying. But I’m on of those people that predictably jumps on the bandwagon when it’s really, really late in the game, so this is just fitting.
But I’ll cut straight to it—what you see above is what happened when I tried slicing up the logs of the chilled cookie dough. It shattered and crumbled and I nearly had a breakdown, if it weren’t for the fact that I took a break from the cookies by eating some of the dough while watching the tv. Do I blame the recipe? Not really, for multiple reasons: 1) the obvious, which is that it seems like the entire world (aka the internet) is in love with them, 2) this recipe comes not only from Dorie Greenspan, but more primarily Pierre Herme, aka the king of French pastry, and 3) I’m pretty sure I have yet to share with you an experience of baking in my host parent’s French kitchen where I can confidently say everything went smoothly. (In case you’re interested the score of me being able to successfully bake here is now up to: French gadgty kitchen and weird measuring items: 6, Amy: 0.) I could continue and go on a large tangent about French “brown sugar” and how every time I cook with it here the cookies turn out too sugary… but I think I’ll stop there and just say that I think you’ll have an easier time with this recipe than I did.
Anyway, the cookies came out alright, in the end. The first batch was composed of the rounds that made it out alive; the second batch were all the misfits made up of all the smooshed-together crumbs. They are intensly chocolatly, like most double-chocolate cookies are apt to be. They’re crumbly and buttery, sweet but you really can taste the fleur de sel so I think they end up well-balanced. And the brown sugar and vanilla do give them some “depth” (felt weird saying that because it sounds so weird and foodie and fake but I think it’s true so to that I say whatever). Leopold, the 4-year-old boy I nanny, astutely observed and told me that “Amy, ils sont moches” [they're ugly] but then he proceeded to eat three in a row and asked for a fourth and finally concluded, “ils sont bons.”
While I used to be strictly loyal to a singular type of cookie—soft, chewy, maybe even a little gooey—France has taught me to appreciate other forms, especially the crumbly, shortbread-like sables cookies. These are the type of cookies I love having alongside tea (or espresso if I’m in the mood) when meeting up with friends in the afternoon, to add a little extra calories and happiness to your day to get you through until dinnertime. They’re goûter material, basically. They don’t seem overly gluttonous, but maybe that’s just because I only really need to have one to feel good and satisfied whereas if I eat a soft and chewy cookie I want to eat, oh, at least 8 more straight in a row.
So, to recap expectations vs. reality regarding the famous “world peace” cookies: Are these my favorite type of cookie? No. Do they live up to their name—as in, if everyone had one or two of these every day, there’d be world peace? Um, I don’t really think so; however, I do like imagining that these are just the sort of crumbly, chocolaty cookies that would be served up alongside tea and coffee at the meetings of all the big-power fat cats of the world. The ones that are picked at and dipped into a warm mug of something while the fate of Syria and the Ukraine are simultaneously being picked over—yeah, those.
In other news, T-minus 2 days until my family gets here!!! I’ve no idea how often I’ll make appearances here over the holidays, and to be frank, I’m not to worried about. I’ll see you all around. In the meantime, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays and a lovely, lovely end of the year. Bonnes fêtes ! x
World Peace Cookies
From Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Herme in Paris Sweets, via the entire internet
Makes about 36 cookies
175 grams (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
30 grams (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
150 grams (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
180 grams (2/3 cup) packed light brown sugar
50 grams (1/4 cup) regular sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 grams (5 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chips (mini chocolate chips can be substituted)
In a medium bowl, sift together (or whisk very very well) the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachement, or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter for half a minute or so until it is soft and creamy. Add the brown sugar, regular sugar, salt and vanilla and continue to beat for 2 minutes more, until the mixture is soft and fluffy. With the mixer stopped, pour in the dry ingredients and slowly, carefully blend the mixture together until the flour “disappears into the dough.” The mixture will be crumbly; do not overmix. Add in the chopped chocolate and mix to incorporate.
Turn the dough out onto a clean workplace and divide in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into even logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. (The dough can also be frozen and baked straight from the freezer, if you want.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F or 160 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds. The dough will probably crack a little (hopefully not as much as it did for me), just press the bits back together and move on. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each round. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes—no more, no less. They will look a little unfinished but will set up as they cool. Once they cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes, transfer them to a cooling rack to cool until they are just warm, or until they cool completely.
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