Wednesday, September 15, 2010

world peace cookies

We were sitting around the kitchen table at my in-laws' house when somehow the conversation turned from corrupt local politicians to cookies. This is not an unusual thing. My mother-in-law, Judy, is a fantastic baker and my father-in-law, Larry, has a major sweet tooth. And conversation tends to veer wildly around those parts.

Judy's new favorite recipe is for a chocolate slice-and-bake cookie called the World Peace Cookie. Created by master baker Dorie Greenspan, the cookies got their name after Greenspan's neighbor tried them and said that if everyone ate one every day, there would be "planetary peace and happiness." That's a lot of responsibility for one little cookie.

Judy got up from the table and pulled a plastic bag of the cookies out of the freezer. They looked like little brown hockey pucks. This didn't seem like a good idea. "Oh, they're so delicious, even when they're still a little frozen," she said. "You're going to serve them frozen cookies?" asked Larry. "It'll take five minutes to defrost," she said. About two minutes later, she put a few on a plate for us to try.

I took a bite, and while they were still cold in the middle, a little moan of pleasure escaped from my lips. These cookies! They have a pleasantly sandy texture and brownie-like flavor from cocoa and chocolate chips. A hint of salt in the background puts them right over the edge. They are homespun but decadent, as the best cookies tend to be. "Aren't they good?" Judy said. "Mrughmumm," I agreed. I thought, if a cookie can taste this great out of the freezer, imagine how incredible it would be straight out of the oven?

So of course I had to make them when I went home. My intention was to take half the batch to work to share with co-workers (and spread some much-needed world peace), but they didn't last that long. Consider yourself warned. 

World Peace Cookies
Via Bon Appetit (there is a very cute article about Dorie and her son in this month's issue). Judy says that while the cookies may not look completely done, heed the directions and remove them from the oven when specified.
(Makes about 36 cookies)

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
11 Tbsp. (1 stick plus 3 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt (like fleur du sel)
5 oz. extra-bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 85% cacao), chopped (no pieces bigger than 1/3 inch) 

Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth but not fluffy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add chopped chocolate; mix just to distribute (if dough doesn't come together, knead lightly in bowl to form ball). Divide dough in half. Place each half on sheet of plastic wrap. Form each into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each in plastic; chill until firm, about 3 hours. Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using thin sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool. Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the recipe, I enjoy the challenge of making them and trying not to eat them all.

jenn said...

These look irresistible... Once I get through the mound of chocolate chip cookies my roommate baked, these are next! Thank you!

Lisa said...

Tender Branson: Ha! Me too. It's hard, isn't it?

Jenn: They are really, really good. I bet they'd be good with dried cherries or chopped nuts too.

Daniel said...

It's a good feeling now that our family is finally making a contribution to world peace. You think we could write these cookies off on our taxes?

Julie said...

I have a real weakness for cookie dough that can be frozen. It reminds me of Schwan chocolate chip cookie deliveries when I was young! I'll have to try these!

Lisa said...

Daniel: Yes, these cookies give you a false sense of altruism.

Julie: What is a Schwan cookie delivery? Sounds wonderful, whatever it is!

One note, though--the cookies, once baked, freeze very well, but I am not sure that you can freeze the dough.

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

God love Dorie Greenspan. I think she could achieve world peace if she just delivered her cookies to all heads of state.

Emilia said...

I love you blog so much but I need an English translator for the ingredients list. I bought special cup measurements but I still struggle with the American forms of things. What is all purpose flour? I'm assuming plain?

Lisa said...

Casey: I agree!

Emilia: Hi! Yes, all-purpose flour is plain flour. Let me know if you have other questions. Where do you live, anyway?

Emilia said...

Hello. I live just south of Manchester in the UK. How much is a stick of butter? Thanks.

Lisa said...

Emilia: One stick is 113 grams. This site should be helpful:

I had no idea that butter wasn't sold in sticks in the UK. I need to watch more 'Come Dine With Me.' :)

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

I saw these in September's Bon Appetit and was intrigued! Now I must make them :)

Lisa said...

Sarah: I think you'd love these. :)

Anonymous said...

I made these for two parties this week and they were delicious! Served them at Anne's bridal shower yesterday and sent her home with the leftovers for Colin! Thanks, Lisa!

Lisa said...

Hi Kate! So glad everyone liked them. Here's hoping they lead to a peaceful marriage for those crazy kids. ;)

Bess said...

hey, I tried to make these yesterday and while I could sort of compress them into a dough in the mixing bowl and make them into rolls, when I tried to cut them (after overnight in the fridge) they just crumbled rather than holding together as sliced cookies. Any ideas? I figured I could re-mix them into the crumbly dough I had before, and maybe add more butter? an egg?? One thing I was thinking, because I couldn't find any good quality cocoa I just had to use Hershey's - maybe it is drier than other kinds? any advice would be appreciated!

Lisa said...

Hi Bess! Hmm, it's so hard to say. I used Nestle cocoa (also low-end), so I don't think that should matter.

My dough was pretty dry too and crumbled a bit when I sliced the cookies, but I just sort of squeezed it back together into a round shape and all was fine when I baked them. Letting the dough come to room temp may help with the slicing. I don't think adding an egg would be a good idea.

Did you make sure that you measured all the ingredients correctly? Sometimes (many times) I get distracted and add extra flour or sugar or whatever.

Bess said...

just to follow up.. I did re-mix them with a bit more butter (maybe 2 tbs) and it all came together. Thankfully, because dammmmmmnnnn these cookies. woah. thanks!

Lisa said...

Yay! So glad they came together (literally!) in the end. They are definitely worth it.


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