Friday, December 21, 2007
World Peace Cookies: rejoice!
I'm not the first blogger to discover Dorie Greenspan's all-time favorite World Peace Cookies, but I must add my voice to the chorus of praise from people whose lives have been changed forever by these chocolate sablés.
As Dorie herself points out, this recipe is really a straightforward slice-and-bake cookie. The difference is that it comes from Paris pastry chef Pierre Hermé, who has been described as "having a computer in his mouth." When Pierre tastes a chocolate cookie his computer tells him, "just think how much better this would be with fleur de sel."
It's a simple addition, just half a teaspoon of pure white Atlantic salt crystals, but what a difference it makes. Just about any cake or biscuit is improved by the addition of a little salt, yet here the salt brings a new dimension, one that makes these buttery cookies laced with cocoa and hand-chopped chocolate simply impossible to stop eating.
The name comes from a neighbor of Dorie who believes that if everyone ate these cookies every day there would be no more reason for war. But what I like about the title is that it's open to interpretation. The way I see it, if each of us gives a few bags of these cookies to the people around us at Christmas (or at any other opportunity), the world will be that much more peaceful. If you happen to live in Paris, imagine how the attitude of that bus driver - the one who closes the door on the young mother with the stroller - might change if you handed him a bag of World Peace Cookies (well, it's worth a try).
I've set the example by selflessly giving two bags of these cookies to Sam's teacher and her assistant - something I was able to do only because I hadn't allowed myself to taste them yet. It's a mystery to me how kindergarten teachers maintain any kind of peace in the classroom, so I thought these couldn't be more appropriate.
These sablés mark the beginning of my Christmas baking, which has got off to an awfully late start this year. As I write there are two fruit-laden puddings steaming on the stove, one of which will make my parents very happy on Christmas Day. The other I will give to producer Loulou at the market, who was kind enough to contribute his candied orange rinds to this year's pudding.
Meanwhile, my local grocer Antoine is picking up a 3-kilo block of top-quality chocolate from the wholesale shop for me so that I can continue my bid to spread world peace.
Try Dorie's recipe and you too will rejoice, I promise.