Pierre Hermé, the famous Paris pastry chef, gave me his recipe for chocolate sablés, a recipe I renamed World Peace Cookies, more than twenty years ago. Over the years, I’ve made little tweaks that were fine, but none better than the original.
Then my friend the author Charlotte Druckman asked if I’d rethink the cookie for her book, Women on Food, and so I thought about the qualities that I admire in women, looked for ingredients that would highlight them and mixed them into the cookie. I added rye flour for groundedness; cocoa nibs to represent strength; pepper for a touch of unpredictability; and raspberries for sharpness and verve. The raspberries are freeze-dried and their flavor takes a little time to reveal itself. While you taste them soon after the cookies cool, they really come into their own a day later.
If you’ve never had the original World Peace Cookies, please make them too; see Playing Around (below).
World Peace Cookies 2.0
- 1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) rye flour
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa (I prefer Valrhona)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons; 5½ounces; 155 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at cool room temperature
- 2/3 cup (135 grams) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Pinch of piment d’Espelette or a smaller pinch of cayenne
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces (140 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (chip-size pieces)
- 1/3 cup (45 grams) cocoa nibs
- 1/2 cup (15 grams) freeze-dried raspberries, coarsely chopped or broken
- Maldon or other flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
- The logs of dough need to be frozen for at least 2 hours or refrigerated for at least 3 hours.
MIX THE INGREDIENTS
- Sift both flours, the cocoa and baking soda together into a bowl; whisk to blend.
- Working in the bowl of 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 smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the salt, piment d’Espelette or cayenne and vanilla. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients all at once and pulse to start the blending. When the risk of aflour storm has passed, beat on low speed until the dough forms big, moist curds—this can take a couple of minutes, so don’t be afraid to keep mixing. Toss in the chocolate pieces, nibs and raspberries and mix to incorporate. Sometimes the dough comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl and sometimes it crumbles—it’ll be fine no matter what.
- Turn the dough out, gather it together and, if necessary, knead it a bit to bring it together. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a log that is 1½ inches in diameter. The length will be between 7 and 8 inches, but don’t worry about it—it’s the diameter that counts here. If you get a hollow in either of the logs, just start over. Wrap the logs and freeze them for at least 2 hours, or refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (If you’d like, you can freeze the logs for up to 2 months; let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before slicing and baking.)
WHEN YOU’RE READY TO BAKE
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Using a chef’s knife, slice one log of dough into ½-inch-thick rounds. (Don’t worry if they crack, just pinch and squeeze the bits back into the cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them. If you’d like, sprinkle the tops sparingly with flaky salt. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes—don’t open the oven door to check, just let them bake. They won’t look fully baked and they won’t be firm, but that’s the way they’re supposed to be. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let the cookies cool until they’re only just warm or at room temperature. Repeat with the remaining log of dough, using a cool baking sheet.
- Packed airtight, the cookies will keep for 5 days at room temperature (they will get a little drier, but they’re still good) or for up to 2 months in the freezer.
PLAYING AROUND - THE ORIGINAL WORLD PEACE COOKIES
- To make the original World Peace Cookies, use 1¼ cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour and omit the rye flour. Omit the piment d’Espelette, cocoa nibs and raspberries. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with flaky salt—or not.