World Peace, a step in the right direction

It is difficult to write about my experiences in Syria knowing that the country is on the brink of civil war and chaos. It breaks my heart. I also realize that not writing anything won’t necessarily make things better, either. And giving up on my blog — the thing that used to bring me so much happiness — is the last thing I want to do.

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I want to keep today’s post short with the promise that I’ll be back again soon. I won’t disappear like I did before, you have my word. Thank you to all those who nudged me (physically and electronically) and encouraged me to continue writing. It may have taken me a while, but I’m here.

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Today’s recipe is not one that I learned on my Fulbright in Syria, although I still have plenty of those to share with you, too. This is a recipe that I’ve come across many times on some of my favorite food blogs: World Peace Cookies. It even made it to Saveur’s list, Recipes that Rocked the Internet. Given all that is going on, I thought this was the perfect time to try such an alluring cookie.

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Pastry Chef Pierre Hermé originally developed these cookies for a restaurant in Paris, and Dorie Greenspan introduced them to the world in her book, Paris Sweets . The original name for the cookies was Sables Korova, or Korova Cookies, named after the restaurant off Champs Élysées that Pierre Hermé created the recipe for. It was not until Dorie’s neighbor tasted these these ultra decadent, chocolate-intense cookies that the name changed to what we know today. Dorie’s neighbor was convinced that a daily dose of these is all that is needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness; thus the new name was born.

chocolate: the ‘peace’ in ‘world peace’adding_chocolate

I used Dorie’s recipe, except I took the liberty to add a pinch of orange zest to the dough; the combination of orange and chocolate makes my heart swoon. You could always leave that addition out if you’d like. The point is, these cookies are amazing any way you prepare them. They are crumbly and chocolatey and even if they don’t bring world peace immediately, I’m fully convinced, as was Dorie’s neighbor, that they are a step in the right direction.

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World Peace Cookies

yields approx 36 cookies

Components

  • 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (120 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 vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips
  • zest of half an orange*(not in original recipe)

Putting them all together

  1. Mix together the butter and sugars in a stand mixer on medium speed until the mixture becomes pale and creamy. You can also use a hand mixer. Add the salt, vanilla extract, and orange zest and mix for a couple more minutes.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Pulse a few times at a low speed to incorporate the flour and prevent it from spilling. Add the chocolate chunks and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, or until the flour is fully incorporated. Do not overwork the dough; the dough should still look and feel crumbly. Divide the dough in two and form into logs approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Roll each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (you can refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days or freeze the dough for 2 months).
  3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. With a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into disks that are 1/2 inch thick. Don’t worry if the disks crack as you cut them, just squeeze the bits back together. Arrange the sliced disks on your baking sheets, making sure to leave about an inch between each cookie.
  5. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Note that they will still be soft and won’t look done, but that’s how they should be. Cool the cookies on a cookie rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Make sure to store leftover cookies (if there are any) in an airtight container.

Notes: Recipe adapted from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan.

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if not world peace, then happiness, for sureempty_glass

13 thoughts on “World Peace, a step in the right direction

  1. Yay, awesome post to kick start the blog again 🙂 By the way this dough (minus the chocolate chips…or not I suppose) is also really great for pie bases (cooked longer obviously).

    Look forward to more amazing recipes.

  2. These look so delectable, Tony! Love that they’re called ‘World Peace’ Cookies and loved the background info about how the name came to be (I guess we can translate them to ‘Salam Biscuits’ in Arabic? :)).

    Also, just want to say that I totally understand your distress regarding Syria’s unsettled situation – I feel the same about Egypt… it’s a difficult time for sure in the entire region, and I know that Syria especially is experiencing significant brutality at the hands of the regime. God be with the people there and everywhere that is lacking peace in the world! Salam, Heba

  3. I’m so glad you’re still bringing happiness to us all through your recipes and blog!

    I think of you often- your generous spirit, lovely food, beautiful pictures and especially the closeness you helped me recognize between myself and the good people of Syria.

    Thanks to your wonderful missives the real lives of Syrian people came alive. I pray for a swift, peaceful end to their turmoil… as I pray for peace throughout the world.

    Much love. hh

  4. Awesome cookies! I can hardly wait to try them.

    I’m so very glad to see you back with recipes!

    We’re just back from eastern Europe, visiting the Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. We stood where intense conflict was taking place only 20 years ago (or even more recently in Croatia), and talked with people who are healing from decades of oppression and conflict. Peace has come in these countries, with more freedom and opportunities than the people there ever thought they’d see in their lifetimes. Individuals working together can bring momentous change. It gives me hope for Syria and for the Arab world.

  5. I just have to say that I stumbled upon your website after googling and googling mahleb and I cannot get ENOUGH of it! I’m loving all of it! So sad to see that I just found it right as you were giving it up for a while. Hopefully by the time I go through everything you’ll be back with more! Thanks!!! 🙂

  6. Glad to see you back and posting recipes! I understand how you feel looking into the multiple situations in the Middle East right now. But your site is such an expression of the beauty of our region. Don’t give up! 🙂

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