By Angela Denstad Stigeler
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re being treated to a miraculous display of our planet boldly beginning to put forth new growth, brave enough to offer us yet another cycle of life and growth and hope. And yet our Earth is threatened from so many angles it’s becoming increasingly imperative that we all take action to protect nature, and to nurture goodwill.
In honor of Earth Day, I offer up World Peace Cookies: dark and rich as soil, round as our planet, full of bittersweet morsels and seasoned throughout with the minerally “flower of the sea.” They are both salt-of-the-earth simplicity and haute cuisine worthy. Choose ethically grown and sustainable chocolate products and share these cookies with someone who needs cheering, or sweetening.
Though a baking project can’t be expected to solve the world’s problems, these cookies have garnered praise from around the globe. If we could all commit to passing along a little sweetness to our neighbors, these would be the perfect peace ambassadors.
World Peace Cookies
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into irregular 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: 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 it in half. Shape the dough into logs that are 1 ½ 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 ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees. 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 ½-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.
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 cool.
Recipe from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan.