The World Peace Cookie lives up to its name: If everyone had it, peace would reign o’er the planet. I’m convinced of this.
The cookie has a long history, starting sometime before the turn of the millennium, when Pierre Hermé, recently named the Best Pastry Chef in the World (something I knew decades earlier), created it for Korova, a then-new, now gone restaurant in Paris.
Revolutionary when it was born and beloved ever since, the cookie is a chocolate sablé, a French shortbread cookie, but because Pierre was inspired by the all-American chocolate-chipper, it has brown sugar and so it’s chewier. It also has a generous amount of chopped bittersweet chocolate and an immediately discernible amount of fleur de sel, moist, French sea salt. While we take salt in a cookie for granted now, sprinkling cookie-tops with flake salt and adding more than a pinch of salt to just about every cookie, it was startling then and still so appealing.
Ever since I first tasted them, I’ve been baking them. And so have millions of other people – just Google the name!
When my son, Joshua, and I started our cookie boutique, Beurre & Sel – actually, even before, when we were doing pop-ups under the name CookieBar – we made World Peace Cookies. Of course. But somewhere along the way, I stopped making them as slice-and-bake cookies – which was how they were made originally and how Pierre Hermé still makes them – and started rolling them out and baking them in rings. (You can read all about ring-baking in my new book – there’s a chapter with all of the recipes from Beurre & Sel.)
And so, here’s the latest version of what I think of as ‘our’ cookie, since while it might not have brought peace to the world, it certainly has traveled the world and made so many people happy.
And yes, that’s a World Peace Cookie on the cover of my new book!
PS: When I moved into my new digital digs, ie, this website, I left behind many posts. I hope that I’ll be able to get them to live here soon, but in the meantime, I’ve heard from some of you that you can’t find your old faves. Now, at least and at last, World Peace Cookies are back!
Photograph by Davide Luciano for Dorie’s Cookies
World Peace Cookies
From Dorie’s Cookies
A word on mixing, log rolling and patience: This dough can be different from batch to batch — it always seems to turn out well no matter what, but the inconsistency can be frustrating. I’ve found that it’s best to mix the dough for as long as it takes to get big, moist curds that hold together when pressed and then knead if necessary so it comes together. When you’re rolling it into logs, keep checking that the logs are solid. Again, the dough can be capricious and it may not always roll into a compact log on the first (or second or third) try. Be patient.
Makes about 36 cookies
1 1/4 cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (28 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons; 5 1/2 ounces; 155 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
2/3 cup (134 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces (142 grams) best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into irregular sized bits
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until soft, creamy and homogenous, about 3 minutes. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Turn off the mixer, add all the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to start the blending. When the risk of flying flour has passed, turn the mixer to low and beat until the dough forms big, moist curds. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix to incorporate. This is an unpredictable dough (see above). Sometimes it’s crumbly and sometimes it comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl. Happily, no matter what, the cookies are always great.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it together, kneading it if necessary to bring it together. Divide the dough in half. Shape the dough into logs that are 11/2 inches in diameter. Don’t worry about the length — get the diameter right, and the length will follow. (If you get a hollow in the logs, just start over.) Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and freeze them for at least 2 hours or refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.
When you’re ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Working with one log at a time and using a long, sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. (The rounds might crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them. (If you’ve cut both logs, keep one baking sheet in the fridge while you bake the other.)
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes — don’t open the oven, just let them bake. When the timer rings, they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, and that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can munch them, or let them reach room temperature (I think the texture’s more interesting at room temperature).
Bake the remaining dough.
￼STORING The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just bake the cookies 1 minute long.
PLAYING AROUND Rolled-and-Cut World Peace Cookies. WPC dough has a mind of its own and it’s hard to corral it into perfect rounds no matter how you handle it. If you’re on a quest for a neater, rounder cookie, roll the dough to a thickness of 3/8 inch and refrigerate or freeze as you would for logs. If you have 2-inch baking rings, use a cookie cutter that’s slightly smaller than 2 inches, cut out rounds and center the rounds in the baking rings. (Muffin tins won’t work for these cookies.) Alternatively, you can cut out the dough and bake it on lined cookie sheets — it’s how we made the beautiful cookie in the photograph. The baking time remains the same no matter how you cut the cookies.