Make Ahead

Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies

December 10, 2013
34 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Of all the cookies you will bake and eat during the holidays (and beyond), this is the one people will remember. They're fine and sandy like a sablé, but with a friendly, soft chew, a bit like American chocolate chip. They're made up of well-salted, well-buttered cocoa dough, with generous pockets and wisps of chocolate feeding through. "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. Except overbake them." If in doubt, pull them out early -- they'll firm up as they cool. Adapted slightly from Baking: From My Home to Yours (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). —Genius Recipes

Watch This Recipe
Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies
  • Prep time 3 hours 25 minutes
  • Cook time 24 minutes
  • Makes about 36 cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour (see note)
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (150 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (120 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur del sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips (no pieces larger than 1/3 inch), or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
In This Recipe
  1. Note: If measuring by volume, it's important to measure the flour and cocoa lightly, as follows: stir flour briefly in the container or bag, spoon into the measuring cup until it's heaped above the rim, then level it with a straight-edged knife or spatula. If you dip the measuring cup into the container, you'll have more flour and cocoa and a drier, crumblier, more difficult dough.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.
  4. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (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 — let it warm just enough so that you can slice the log into rounds and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)
  6. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 °F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  7. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to 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 1 inch between them.
  8. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won't look done, nor will they be firm, but 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 serve them or let them reach room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nicole Hurley
    Nicole Hurley
  • Dave Adams
    Dave Adams
  • AdventureGirl
  • ELCookie
  • Katherine Mandzak
    Katherine Mandzak
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

151 Reviews

tomny67 December 27, 2020
I think Dorie said these were her favorite cookies. I just made them for the first time and I concur. They are absolutely delicious. They’re extra-chocolatey and the texture is lovely. I followed Dorie’s instructions, sifting and measuring ingredients by weight... which I never do. I unintentionally left out the granulated sugar and I don’t regret my error. I honestly don’t think they need the extra sugar. This recipe is a keeper.
Rebecca December 20, 2020
These are the best cookies ever. Those of you who are having problems with too-crumbly dough are probably putting in too much flour. Weigh it out instead of scooping it, and you will likely have better results. I have been making these for years and the only problem is that they disappear to quickly!
Randie R. December 18, 2020
I’ve only made them once, but I had no trouble with the dough being crumbly. I don’t know that I did right, but I hope I can do it again next time. The only thing I can think of that might have helped me, is that I softened the butter in the microwave, because I decided to make the dough around 11 last night.
Nicole H. December 13, 2020
So, I’ve made this cookie with equal parts success and (near) failures. I say “near” because it’s delicious (and SAVABLE) even when the dough resembles the dry sands of the Sharan desert. I found that my dough benefited from browning the butter ahead of time and letting it cool. The downside of this method is that there is some moisture lost in doing so. You may need to add a tablespoon of oil and/or alcohol (to NOT activate gluten) and to get the dough to hold together. I didn’t know that when I first tweaked the butter but was determined to salvage my crumbling mess. The answer is a biscuit cutter. Simply lay the cutter on your cookie sheet, fill with chocolate crumbles and press them down firmly with your fingers or the bottom of a glass. Carefully lift the cutter off and you’ll have perfect, solid shortbread cookies -THAT HOLD TOGETHER. Resist the urge to eat them straight out of the oven or they will fall apart. They absolutely must cool completely before you eat them. Hope that helps! Carry on, brave bakers!
plevee November 7, 2020
I have followed this recipe exactly, weighing and measuring everything. I used Gold medal regular AP flour and sifted it with the cocoa. I can barely get the flour to mix with the butter and sugar - it's not just crumbly - it's powdery I can't see this coming together. Is there anything I can add to make this work?
TeaForMe November 7, 2020
Try adding a bit of olive oil (a mild or buttery one). A mild olive oil will play well with the chocolate flavor and might help keep the dough to a manageable level of crumbly.
TashaLee August 30, 2020
I followed the recipe exactly and these came out very well. The dough is quite short and crumbly, which is the expected nature of this kind of dough. I found a sharp knife, and confident, careful slicing helped minimise crumbling slices. As some people have struggled with it: if you find that the crumbly dough log is too hard to work with, try shaping it into a disc before chilling and slicing it into wedges like a traditional shortbread.
Dawn A. August 22, 2020
I made them just as the recipe described and they turned out fantastic! I didn't have a bit of trouble with the dough. I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder, maybe that makes a difference?
tomny67 December 27, 2020
I used basic cocoa powder from Aldi and they came out perfectly. The key to success is to follow Dorie’s tips. Watch the video, read the recipe, and follow her directions. No need to brown the butter or add olive oil (as others have suggested). Listen to the pro and you’ll get the best results.
Dave A. July 15, 2020
There's a cleaner journey to this cookie! I've made this cookie a million times--my friends and family love it--but every time the "genius" trick of draping a towel over the stand mixer to cut down on mess still leaves me with coco and flour all over the underbelly of my mixer and dusting the countertop.

Ignore the towel trick and do this for no mess: pour in the dry ingredients, and before turning the machine back on, remove the flat beater and use it to manually cut the flour and coco into the creamed butter and sugars, like you're cutting butter into biscuits. I do this until there are no more big swaths of dry ingredients waiting to create a dust-up. Put the flat beater back on, and now you only need a couple quick pulses (without a towel draped over, you can see what's happening!) until the dough gets uniform and chunky.

Hope this helps anyone else who loves this cookie but can't stand an unnecessary mess!
linderseed May 31, 2020
Made! I used an updated recipe on Dorie's website with slightly different measurements than appear here. I also used European butter (Ferrarini from Costco). I didn't have any issue with them falling apart - perhaps because of the update or more fat in the butter. I found her tip of using the bench scraper and tugging the parchment paper to be so handy! Would definitely make them again.
Tara April 26, 2020
I am a caterer but admitting I’m not the best baker in the world but I do bake all the time. Was looking for a new Chocolate cookie. Followed this recipe exactly with super high quality ingredients. This recipe did not work. Dough was so crumbly that I could not roll it, form it or cut it. Chilled it for 4 hours. Seems like it is missing oil. Baked them anyway in crumbles and were a delicious deep chocolatey flavor but oh so dry. I will brown the butter next time and add oil and use a different recipe ;-)
Alexis March 29, 2020
Made these a few times, yet watching the video yesterday made a big difference in technique. My young grandchildren/assistant bakers watched with intense interest.. Covering the mixer with a towel after adding the flour/cocoa mixture was life changing! We used Barry cocoa and 86% chocolate and the cookies came together well after slicing. Little hands molded the the straggler pieces. We baked them right after dinner and had warm cookies and milk...huge hit with a new audience. Delicios!!!
AdventureGirl March 16, 2020
baked this dough this morning after assembling the dough two days ago. it was rolled in parchment and just left undisturbed in the frig. cut the dough directly from the frig, maybe should have left it sit for 10 minutes to soften a bit. it was a tad crumbly here and there, but was able to smooch the dough together as stated in the recipe. baked at exactly 12 minutes. cookies came out perfectly. huge hit.

wonder if we could omit the cocoa powder? any thoughts?
Sona J. March 22, 2020
If you omit the cocoa powder, the dough would lack acidity to react with the soda and would be way too moist. Cocoa is integral in this cookie.
Doğa February 28, 2020
This is the best cookies i've ever made for sure. I did this with exact measurement and it turned out perfectly. Thank you Dorie for this lovely cookies :)
Camille February 4, 2020
Just made these with very dark chocolate, browned butter, and a splash of orange flower water. Absolutely divine! If you brown your butter, you will lose some liquid through evaporation and may need to replace it with a few teaspoons of milk. This will bind the sandy clumps of dough together. Expect to be working with shortbread, not a gooey American cookie dough, and all will be well!
Camille February 4, 2020
Update: These cookies have driven a wedge between me, my family, and my roommates. Everyone sees me differently after I've baked a batch of these, and I'm worried that no one truly loves me for who I am, just what I can pull out of the oven. I think it was the browned butter that really did me in - its aroma lures everyone out into the kitchen to plead for more cookies.
jensiegelnyc April 15, 2020
that made me smile...can't wait to make these!
ELCookie January 3, 2020
My new favorite cookie. :)
Katherine M. November 7, 2019
This exact recipe was modified by Claire Saffitz in her Gourmet Bakes series on the Bon Appetite YouTube series for her Gourmet Oreo video, which is where I discovered it. I found that using her tip and browning the butter (bringing it down to room temp by putting in a Pyrex dish and storing in the fridge while prepping the rest of the ingredients) adds an amazing dimension of flavor. It also makes the dough a little earlier to work with, though I've made these many, many times with differing dough consistencies each time! Add some homemade Oreo filling between two and your life will be forever changed :)
Beth100 May 29, 2019
I always add a tablespoon of Scotch whiskey to help the crumbly dough come together better without activating the gluten. This works very well and adds an extra flavor dimension.
Gina B. January 15, 2019
These were divine. Texture was perfect and not too crumbly to roll up. I read the various comments about sweetness and cut the sugar by 50%, which was not sweet enough for my taste. Will remake with 1/2 c of brown sugar/2 Tb white. These are simple and delicious.
jessicam December 19, 2018
This is a bad cookie dough recipe. I rarely write reviews but I want to save others the frustration of making these. The dough is so dry that even after chilling for 24 hours (and following the directions to the tee) I was unable to cut the dough. It just fell apart. I had to add a whole egg as a binder and was able to form rough cookies.

The taste is good, however. It is kind of a sandy brownie cookie. But overall I do NOT recommend this recipe.
EO April 16, 2019
Sorry you had such a bad experience. I have made these for years and now they are expected of me when I'm invited to Easter and Xmas dinners because they are so loved. Perhaps you just don't like the texture --and a very sharp knife is an asset. They can be crumbly but you can patch it together. My dough is never exactly the same, no matter how many times I've made them. But they are always always delicious.
jlriddell December 13, 2018
I have been making these for 3 years running. For some reason, this time, the dough was super crumbly, to the point they were not holding together when slicing. Squishing the dough back together really doesn’t work since it does not make a nice-looking cookie. Maybe butter was too cold? I see someone else here is substituting some olive oil, which I will try. Re: sweetness, I routinely cut sugar in cookie recipes by 1/3 or sometimes more and have always been happy with the result!