Evolution of a cookie {World Peace Cookies}

The first time I made Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies was in 2009, when I was part of the online baking group Tuesdays with Dorie. Our mission was to bake our way through Dorie’s book Baking From My Home to Yours. World Peace Cookies are chocolate cookies–there’s cocoa powder in the dough and bits of chocolate mixed into it–and have the unusual addition of fleur de sel (crunchy French sea salt), which really enhances the chocolate flavor. The name came from one of Dorie’s neighbors, who said “a daily dose [of World Peace Cookies] is all that is needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness.”

Over the past 8 years, I’ve played with the recipe quite a bit. I’ve made peppermint and peanut butter versions, for instance. Dorie mentions in her most recent book, Dorie’s Cookies, that she likes to use Valrhona cocoa powder, but I prefer the flavor of natural (not dutch-processed) cocoa, so that’s what I use. For a long time, I mixed mini chocolate chips into the dough, because it was easy. (I hate chopping chocolate almost as much as I hate cleaning my food processor.) Over time, though, I’ve gradually been upgrading the ingredients that I bake with. So last fall, I finally tried what Dorie recommends and chopped up some high quality chocolate instead. I’ll never go back to chocolate chips again. Why? Most chocolate chips aren’t the best quality chocolate–they’re good, but not great. If you’re chopping chocolate, you can use high quality chocolate that you love, and it takes these cookies from really good to amazing.

I buy my chocolate for baking at Central Market, in their bulk department. They have a variety of chocolates that are available in small discs that are convenient for melting and easier to chop than bar chocolate. My favorite chocolates are in the 64-65% range, because they often have fruity notes that I enjoy. My Central Market location always has a variety of both El Rey and Valrhona chocolates. There’s usually a third option, but it’s changed several times over the past couple years. A couple weeks ago, I was disappointed to find that the Cacao Barry chocolate that I’d been buying had been replaced by a new brand that I’d never heard of. I was also a bit annoyed because the new chocolate was quite a bit more expensive than the one I’d been using. I decided to get a little bit of it anyway, just to try.

When I got home, I sampled the chocolate. It was really good. Much more flavorful than any of the other chocolate I have on hand (and I keep a lot of chocolate in my pantry). I looked online to see what I could find out about the company, Amedei. The first thing I read was this article CultureMap Austin. No wonder it tasted so good–this Italian chocolate is considered by many to be one of the world’s best!

I’d be perfectly happy just eating the chocolate pieces straight up, but I wanted to try it in some recipes that would really allow the flavor to shine through. Dorie says about World Peace Cookies, “splurge–this is a cookie that’s all about the chocolate, so the chocolate should be great.” So that’s what I did. Wow. Like when I switched from chocolate chips to chopped chocolate, now that I’ve made the cookies with really amazing chocolate, I don’t think I’ll be able to go back.

If you’d like to try them for yourself or give them as a gift, you can find World Peace Cookies on my Cookies & Bars menu.