Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies

December 11, 2013

Every week -- often with your help -- Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: Shortbread cookie meets salted chocolate chip, and world peace feels within reach.

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

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Of all the cookies you will bake (and eat) this holiday season, this is the one people will remember.

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

That's because they're fine and sandy like a sablé, but with a friendly, soft chew. They're made up of well-salted, well-buttered cocoa dough, with generous pockets and wisps of chocolate feeding through.

When our friend and contributor Sarah Jampel made a batch at the office last summer, Amanda took one bite and called them "uber-genius." It was a legendary day.

More: Try Dorie's Cardamom Crumb Cake.

And then there's the name. As the story goes, Dorie Greenspan's neighbor told her that a daily dose of these cookies was all we need to ensure lasting world peace, and so they became -- naturally, ambitiously -- World Peace Cookies. (The internet responded well to that.) 

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

But even before that, the recipe had won instant fans, when Greenspan first published them as "Korova Cookies" in Paris Sweets in 2002. She has always credited Pierre Hermé for the original recipe, which he had created for a then-cutting edge restaurant in Paris called Korova. (Greenspan points out that the restaurant was the first on the lobster roll trend in Paris. "It was called Le Hot Dog Chic," she says.)

But, because she was the one to test and translate them for American kitchens, and popularize them with their lovable new name, we think they're both deserving of our gratitude here. Thanks guys!

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

So what was it about these cookies that made them so memorable? "Pierre created the Korova cookie, now World Peace, and told me that he had the American chocolate-chip cookie in mind." Greenspan told me. "I think it was the addition of brown sugar, not a very commonly used ingredient in France, that made it most like our cookie. But, of course, it was the salt, the fleur de sel, that made the cookie such a stand-out." 

More: Watch Amanda and Merrill make cookies with Dorie.

Even though these little cookies are the stuff of legend, with personality to spare, they're as simple as any other slice-and-bake recipe -- perfect for anytime baking, but especially during the holidays. You would be well off keeping a few logs of this dough in your freezer at all times.

There's nothing to making them that you haven't done before.

Sift cocoa, flour, and baking soda into an powdery ombré mountain.

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52   Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

Cream butter and sugars, along with vanilla and fleur de sel. 

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52   Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

Combine the wet and the dry just enough to make a sticky bowl of dough.

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies

Stir in chunks and flecks of bittersweet chocolate. 

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52    Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

Squeeze them into a log-like shape, but don't worry about making it perfectly round -- they'll go their own way in the end anyway.

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies   Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies on Food52

After chilling (or freezing) the logs, slice them thick. Any errant clumps can be pressed back into the cookie disks -- no harm done. 

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies

Bake. Don't overbake. That's it.

"I've seen World Peace Cookies made with peanut-butter chips, with cinnamon, with icing, and with gluten-free flours. I've seen them huge and small," Greenspan said. "I don't think you can do much to make them better and happily, there's little you can do to ruin them."

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies

Adapted slightly from Baking: From My Home to Yours (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur del sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom, except photo of Dorie and Pierre by Barbara Rihl

Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]

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I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Kathy R. February 18, 2015
I've made these a couple of times, and they are fabulous. Use the best 60-70% chocolate you can find. It really makes a difference.
Ashlie E. August 31, 2014
I would like to make these to send toa friend, would they travel well?
Silly A. March 4, 2014
I made these cookies yesterday. They are phenomenal! Here are my pictures
a R. January 2, 2014
Maybe the best cookies I've ever made.
JessieV January 2, 2014
I agree. They are incredible!
maeveoh December 28, 2013
The mouthfeel on these cookies is incredible. Crumbly, melty, and so deeply chocolate. o m g. My log only made it 45 minutes in the freezer, but still somehow my cookies came out looking/tasting good.
Gwen December 22, 2013
I followed the recipe exactly as written using the fleur de sel & mini chocolate chips, and they came out perfect. This recipe is a keeper.
MD2662 December 21, 2013
I just made these today and they are absolutely delicious! As the instructions say, take the cookies out at 12 min even though they may look under cooked = heaven!
JessieV December 21, 2013
These are now my very favorite cookies! I'm now on my third batch - thank you so much!
lisa V. December 20, 2013
I've made a similar cookie to this for years. Try adding a smidgeon of fresh nutmeg and cinnamon to the flour mixture. Pure deliciousness.
kscan December 18, 2013
I've been bsking for a very long time and can't remember the last time I had a failed cookie. These failed, a crumbled, falling apart mess.
Betty M. December 12, 2013
Daily, we source your blog for recipes to add/test our food charger powder. Today, we're trying the World Peace Cookie.
Ana-Maria December 11, 2013
Best cookies recipe ever! I've been making it for years and it's loved by our family and friends! Simply amazing! Really amazing!
Caron G. December 11, 2013
I'm so going to make these! Thanks for the idea!
Midge December 11, 2013
I now know what I'll be giving my neighbors for Christmas this year - thank you Kristen! Any thoughts on how long these babies keep (for mailing long distances)?
Kristen M. December 13, 2013
I'm embarrassed to say I don't -- that's the peril of making these around coworkers. They tend not to stick around for more than a day. Maybe someone else in this thread has more experience with keeping them longer?
Vysherwood December 17, 2013
I find they keep better in the fridge, but are best eaten room temperature. My experience, kept out of the fridge they are good for 2 or 3 days. In the fridge, they last a bit longer.
KirstenS December 11, 2013
I made these for years, after I heard Dorie talk about them on The Splendid Table. They are simple but oh, so elegant -- perfect Christmas gifts!
Isadora December 11, 2013
The recipe as printed here left out the 1/2 cup white sugar.
Kristen M. December 11, 2013
This should be fixed now (it's actually 1/4 cup) -- thanks for letting us know.
Nicole S. December 11, 2013
Thank you for sharing this...this recipe work up is absolutely brilliant! Happy holidays! #fellowcookielover
Emma W. December 11, 2013
making these asap
Monica M. December 11, 2013
Yes, I've made these and there's definitely something special and unusual about them even when it's familiar at the same time. I have a problem with them spreading (I need some of Dorie's cookie rings) but I must make them again soon. Thanks for the reminder.
David N. December 11, 2013
Spreading with cookies usually means too much sugar. Measurements by volume can vary widely, which is why professional baking formulas use weight. Try reducing the sugar by 10-15%
dymnyno December 11, 2013
My favorite cookie! I have been making them for years.