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Tuesdays with Dorie: World Peace Cookies
Posted By admin On February 3, 2009 7:27 PM In Cookies, Paris, Recipes, Restaurants, Chefs, & Artisans, Sweets | 44 Comments
Today, in the nooks and crannies of the blogosphere, wherever the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers are, it's World Peace Day. As I think I explained when it was my turn to choose the TWD recipe (I chose the French Pear Tart), Tuesdays with Dorie is a group of more than 400 baking bloggers who bake something from Baking: From My Home to Yours each week and then post about it on Tuesday. Started by Laurie Woodward, the group has been baking for more than a year, which is surprising on its own and makes it even more surprising that a member of the group didn't choose World Peace Cookies earlier. I say this because at last check there were, incredibly, 463,000 links on Google for the cookies! But in a world that needs as much peace as it can get, better late than never ...
The cookies, for those of you who don't know them, are chocolate sables, French shortbreads, but, because they've got more brown sugar than white in them, they've got more chew than most shortbreads. They've also got a generous amount of dark chocolate chunks and enough fleur de sel, moist, coarse-grained French "finishing" salt (i.e., salt to be used in teensy quantities as a spice or condiment), to make them noticeably salty and completely addictive, in the way so many good things with salt are.
I was given the recipe in 2000 by Pierre Herme, who had created the cookie for a restaurant in Paris called Korova and so, when I included the recipe in Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops, I naturally dubbed the sables Korova Cookies. I don't have the stats to prove it, but my guess is that those cookies were the most frequently made recipe in the book.
Because the cookies had become such a hit -- and because I was making batches of them at least once a week -- I wanted to reprise the recipe in Baking From My Home to Yours and had it all written and ready to go when I ran into my neighbor, Richard Gold, who couldn't stop talking about how much he loved the Korovas and how much everyone he'd ever made them for loved them too. "In fact," he said, "in our house, we call them World Peace Cookies, because we're convinced that a daily dose of the cookies is all that's needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness."
How could I not rename them World Peace Cookies!
And the story continues. Shortly after BFMHTY was published, I received a letter from a member of a California group called Grandmothers for Peace. The Grandmothers believe that peace can be achieved one cookie at a time and so, every week, members of the group bake, assemble on a street corner and hand out their cookies to passersby. But there's a string attached -- you only get a cookie if you agree to bake your own cookies and pass them on to others. The letter was a request to make World Peace Cookies the group's official sweet. Of course I agreed and, last I heard, WPCs, recipe included, were still being passed out every Saturday.
Now that you've got the backstory on the cookies, I hope you'll make them. You can find the recipe at Cookbook Habit. (Because Jessica of Cookbook Habit chose the recipe for TWD, she gets to post it for the group.)
One last word. I noticed that some of the TWD bakers mentioned that their dough was crumbly and a little difficult to form into logs -- WPCs are slice-and-bakes. I've had the crumbly problem from time to time, which is why I mention the possibility in the recipe, and I've come to think that the culprit might be the cocoa powder. It seems to me that Dutch-processed cocoa makes an easier-to-handle dough than "natural" cocoa. I've had very crumbly dough using Sacco brand cocoa and I've made my best cookies with premium cocoa powders from Cocoa PowderValrhona and Scharffenberger. As for supermarket brands, Droste is my pick.
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