Ever since I tasted Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies, I have had an eye on her cookbook Dorie’s Cookies. One bite of the World Peace Cookie, and I was crazy over the play between crumbly and chewy, the deep chocolate flavor, the ease of baking, and the adorable little puddle-circle shapes. The recipe struck me as genius, and I wanted more.
I checked the cookbook out of the library earlier this year and read through it voraciously. I continued to fall in love with Dorie’s cookie creations and her charming personality. The cookbook contains a delightful introduction where Dorie tells of her love for cookies, the steps in her inspiration for new creations, and how the cookbook fell almost magically into place. At the end, I felt like she had personally given me a gift to share with others. I eagerly continued to unwrap it.
The next section is a thorough and helpful list of cookie baking techniques followed by details and specifications on the ingredients called for and completed with notes on useful cookie baking gear. Though I consider myself an experienced baker, I learned more than a few things that have already upped my cookie game (notably, when beating butter, never go beyond medium speed unless specifically directed to — aeration is good for cakes, not cookies). Others were good reminders and solidifications of important aspects of cookie baking. Throughout, I appreciated how Dorie seemed to be right along my side, pointing things out that she learned only recently herself or being clear that she doesn’t like to be more fussy than she needs, but some steps really make a difference.
Then come the recipes, broken down into six sections: 1. Brownies, bars, break-ups, and biscotti, 2. Cookies for every day, any day, 3. Cookies for weekends, holidays, and other celebrations, 4. The beurre & sel collection (the cookie shop she opened in Paris), 5. Cocktail cookies (savory), and 6. Cookie go-alongs and basics. The selection of cookies answers any need or want for inspiration. Each recipe is accompanied by ultra-high definition photos which give you a good sense as to what you are getting into.
Another aspect that I love about this cookbook is that almost every recipe has a margin section entitled “Playing Around” where Dorie offers possible variations. I love the flexibility that it brings and am sure it will help inspire personal creations and riffs on other favorites. Plus, you’re not getting just the impressive span of cookie recipes indexed in this cookbook, but double or even triple that!
Since checking the book out (and then I was gifted it shortly after, no doubt because I was raving about it so enthusiastically), I’ve baked Cabin-Fever Caramel Banana Bars, Chocolate Chip Not-Quite Mandelbrot, Classic Jammers, Coconut Patties, and these French Snacklettes which I share below. With each recipe, the cookies were special. Even when seemingly simple, they caught your interest. It’s a mark of a true genius and recipe creator that any baker can recreate them and feel like a pro. This cookbook fits that bill exceptionally.
Now these French Snacklettes have a similar play between chewy & crumbly with deep chocolate flavor as the World Peace Cookies. Their shape, however, makes them have more chewy within (yet all the edges ensure ample crumbliness). They reminded me of Toblerone in cookie form, both their shape and the bits of almond that are reminiscent of the nougat in the famous candy bar. They are addictive and were perfect snacking bites.
1 cup (100g) sliced, slivered, or whole almonds (blanched or unblanched)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
3/4 cup (102g) flour
1/3 cup (28g) cocoa powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (or 3/4 tsp fleur de sel)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
7 tbs (3.5oz or 99g) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (85g) finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (or mini chocolate chips)
Position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. (Though I fit all my cookies on one tray, in which case, the middle rack is better.) Preheat to 325F. Line 1-2 baking pans with parchment paper. (If you have a large half sheet baking pan, one should be sufficient. These cookies don’t spread so can be squeezed in close to each other.)
Put almonds and sugar in food processor fitted with the blade attachment and process until the almonds are mostly ground. Scrape the bowl occasionally to prevent a thick paste from forming at the bottom. Add flour, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon and pulse to mix. Scatter the butter over the top of the mixture and, working in long pulses, process until moist curds and crumbs form. This might take a couple minutes, but scrape and check the dough often to avoid overworking it. The dough is ready when you can pinch a piece and have it stay together. Add chocolate and incorporate with a few pulses.
Turn dough out onto a clean surface and gather into a ball. For each cookie, pinch out about a teaspoon of dough and squeeze it with your fingers to form a nugget. You can shape the nugget into a pyramid shape, but haphazard, playful shapes will taste just as good (and go quicker). Place each shaped cookie on the lined baking sheet(s), leaving just a little bit of space in between each of them as they won’t spread much at all.
Bake for 15 min, rotating sheets top to bottom, back to front after 8 minutes (or just rotating if you only have one sheet). At the end of the baking time, the cookies will be very soft, and that’s fine. They will firm as they cool. Transfer the baking sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies rest for at least 5min before transferring them to racks to cool completely. Enjoy!
Using Almond Flour: Use 1 cup almond flour instead of the almonds and room temperature butter for the cold butter pieces. Whisk the almond flour, flour, cocoa, and cinnamon together. With a mixer or by hand, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and blend until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate chips, then continue at step 3.
Vanilla Snacklettes: Omit cocoa and cinnamon, but if you’d like to keep the chocolate, do so. Increase flour to 1 cup and, when you add the butter, add 1 tsp vanilla as well. Continue with the original recipe.