When I was a freshman in college I took a class on social justice, particularly with regards to Atlanta. It was a class with all kinds of field trips to homeless shelters and organizations like Amnesty International. It was also a class with a lot paper writing and reading. But our reading was actually pretty awesome, as far as college readings went. One book we had to read was a good chunk of was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Strength to Love. It is a collection of his sermons, and it is one of those books where I wanted to highlight just about every line. I think that when people think of Martin Luther King, Jr., they think of his I Have a Dream speech and his civil rights activism, as we all should, but if we stop there we are missing so much. His sermons are just beautiful, not just in the way they challenge Christians, but in the way they challenge all of humanity to be a more loving group of people ready to stand up against all kinds of injustice simply out of the principle of love.
I didn’t really think how appropriate it was for me to be making these cookies this past Monday until I was actually eating them and someone said something about it. From my understanding, the basic premise of these cookies’ name is that if everyone had these cookies, we would all live in peace.
And I don’t think that’s a bad theory at all, because they are quite delicious. They are rich and chewy and full of chocolate, and when baked appropriately they have the perfect crumbly softness. The first batch I baked didn’t turn out quite right, because I thought that slicing the cookies to 1/2 inch thick was an insane overestimate, surely a typo or an oversight. And the cookies came out too flat and too tough. But when I actually followed the recipe (what a concept) they turned out perfect.
And even if they in and of themselves don’t contain the magic power to solve all of the world’s problems, I think they at least might make us slow down a bit, because these cookies need savoring. And while we are savoring, maybe we will have just a few minutes of peace and some time to reflect on ways to love.
World Peace Cookies
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Wait Time: 3 hours
Bake Time: 12 minutes
Makes 2-3 dozen
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (or 1/4 teaspoon sea salt)*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate (or 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips)
1. In a large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract, beating until well combined and fluffy, 1-2 more minutes.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating slowly just until combined. (The cookies might seem unusually dry to you, and if they do, you can get your hands in there to mix everything together until it resembles a cookie dough. But it still should be a bit on the dry side.)
3. Add chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips), and mix on low speed just until they are incorporated.
4. Dump dough out onto a clean counter top or other work surface. Divide dough into two equal portions, and then roll each portion into a log that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The dough will probably fall apart some as you are doing this, but just smash it back together.
5. Wrap each log in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or up to 3 days or freeze for 2 months).
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Remove cookie logs from the refrigerator and unwrap them. Use a sharp knife to cut each log into slices 1/2 inch thick. Place slices on cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart.
8. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes (one cookie sheet at a time). They will still look undone, and that is perfect. Remove from oven and allow them to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*I think I used 1/2 teaspoon of just regular old table salt, and they turned out just perfect.