These recipes are from Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies, which the New York Times has called, “an all-new collection from a ‘revered icon’ and ‘culinary guru.'” Dorie Greenspan will be at Wellesley Books, in Wellesley, MA on December 1,–you can buy tickets to see Dorie in person here. Don’t miss her!
Over the course of her baking career, Dorie Greenspan has created more than 300 cookie recipes. Yet she has never written a book about them—until now. To merit her “three purple stars of approval,” every cookie had to be so special that it begged to be made again and again. Cookies for every taste and occasion are here. There are company treats like Portofignos, with chocolate dough and port-soaked figs, and lunch-box Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars. They Might Be Breakfast Cookies are packed with goodies—raisins, dried apples, dried cranberries, and oats— while Almond Crackle Cookies have just three ingredients.
There are dozens of choices for the Christmas cookie swaps, including Little Rascals (German jam sandwich cookies with walnuts), Italian Saucissons (chocolate log cookies studded with dried fruit), and Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops. And who but America’s favorite baker could devise a cookie as intriguing as Pink-Peppercorn Thumbprints or as popular as the World Peace Cookie, with its 59 million Internet fans?
Here are two fabulous recipes from her new cookbook!
World Peace Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies
There is no way to describe the World Peace cookie without resorting to what would be considered hyperbole by anyone who hasn’t tasted one. They’re flat-out phenomenal. And hundreds of thousands of people agree with me. Just do an Internet search for “World Peace Cookie,” and you’ll see — the last time I checked there were over ten million references!
WPCs, as we call them at our house, are basic chocolate sablés of the slice-and-bake variety. The dough is made with cocoa — splurge on good cocoa, it’s worth it with these (I use Valrhona) — and has fleur de sel in it, enough to be truly present. And then there are pieces of chopped bittersweet chocolate. Again, splurge — this is a cookie that’s all about the chocolate, so the chocolate should be great. (You could use store-bought mini chips, but I hope you won’t.) I know it sounds simple and it might even sound like a cookie you’ve made before, but even top-of-the-pack veteran bakers shake their heads in wonder when they first encounter the WPC.
The recipe came to me from Pierre Hermé, France’s most renowned pastry chef. When he taught me how to make these, sometime in the late 1990s, he called the cookie Korova, because he had created it for a restaurant of that name. I included it in my book Paris Sweets. A few years later, a neighbor was telling me how much he loved the cookies and how he’d changed their name. “At home,” he said, “we call them World Peace cookies.” I renamed them immediately and included them with that name in my book Baking: From My Home to Yours.
When we baked them at Beurre & Sel, we rolled the dough 3/8 inch thick and cut cookies with our rings so that they’d be uniform and fit into our signature packaging. at home, I bake them as I did from the start: I shape the dough into logs and then slice and bake the cookies as I need them.
A word on mixing, log rolling and patience: this dough can be different from batch to batch. It always seems to turn out well no matter what, but the inconsistency can be frustrating. I’ve found that it’s best to mix the dough for as long as it takes to get big, moist curds that hold together when pressed and then knead if necessary so it comes together. When you’re rolling it into logs, keep checking that the logs are solid. Again, the dough can be capricious and it may not always roll into a compact log on the first (or second or third) try. Be patient.
1¼ cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (28 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons; 5½ ounces; 155 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
2/3 cup (134 grams) packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
½ teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces (142 grams) 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 11/2 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.
Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F. 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 1/2-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. (If you’ve cut both logs, keep one baking sheet in the fridge while you bake the other.)
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 they are only just warm, at which point you can munch them, or let them reach room temperature (I think the texture’s more interesting at room temperature).
Bake the remaining dough on cool sheets.
The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just bake the cookies 1 minute longer. Packed in a container, the cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 2 months.
Rolled-and-Cut World Peace Cookies.
WPC dough has a mind of its own and it’s hard to corral it into perfect rounds no matter how you handle it. If you’re on a quest for a neater, rounder cookie, roll the dough to a thickness of 3/8 inch and refrigerate or freeze as you would for logs. If you have 2-inch baking rings, use a cookie cutter that’s slightly smaller than 2 inches, cut out rounds and center the rounds in the baking rings. (Muffin tins won’t work for these cookies.) Alternatively, you can cut out the dough and bake it on lined baking sheets — it’s how we made the beautiful cookie in the photograph. The baking time remains the same no matter how you cut the cookies.
Salt-and-Pepper Sugar-and-Spice Galettes
These are definitely winter cookies, but not traditional Christmas cookies, despite the spices. First you taste the cinnamon, the hint of ginger and cloves, and you think you know what’s in store. But then comes the salt—enough to make it unmissable—and the coarsely ground black pepper. I love the effect these have on the unsuspecting: puzzlement followed by pleasure. I also love that they’re substantial: They’re thick cookies, which is why they’re called galettes, French for “pucks”.
I make these with a combination of all-purpose and almond flour—the latter brings a welcome crumbliness—but you can omit the almond flour, if you’d like, and increase the all-purpose flour to 2 1/4 cups (306 grams).
Makes about 36 cookies
1 3/4 cups (238 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
2 sticks (8 ounces; 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup (67 grams) almond flour
Fleur de sel and/or sugar, for dusting (optional)
Whisk the flour, cinnamon, salt, pepper, ginger and cloves together.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the almond flour and mix just until it is almost incorporated. Stop the mixer, add the flour-and-spice mixture all at once and pulse until the risk of flying flour has passed. Working on low speed, mix only until the dry ingredients are fully blended into the dough.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it together. Divide it in half and shape each piece into a disk.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Slide the parchment-sandwiched dough onto a baking sheet—you can stack the slabs of dough—and freeze for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Have two regular muffin tins and a 2-inch-diameter cookie cutter at hand.
Peel away both sheets of parchment and from one sheet of dough put the dough back on one sheet. Cut the dough with the cookie cutter and place the rounds in the tins. The dough won’t fill the muffin cups now, but it will once it’s baked. Save the scraps. If you’d like, dust the tops of the cookies with salt, sugar or a combination of the two.
Bake the cookies for 14 to 17 minutes, or until their tops are toasty brown. Transfer the tins to a rack and allow the cookies to cool for at least 20 minutes, or until they reach room temperature, before unmolding.
Continue with the other piece of dough, making certain that the tins are cool. Gather the scraps together, re-roll, chill, cut and bake.
The dough can be rolled out (and, if you’d like, cut into rounds), wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; no need to defrost before baking. (Freeze the rounds on baking sheet and, when solid, wrap.) The baked cookies will keep in a tin for at least 4 days.
About Dorie Greenspan: Inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, DORIE GREENSPAN is the author of Around My French Table, a New York Times bestseller that was named Cookbook of the Year by IACP; Baking Chez Moi; and Baking: From My Home to Yours, a James Beard Award-winner. She lives in Westbrook, Connecticut, New York, and Paris.