These are shortbread, slice-and-bake cookies, crumbly and rustic in appearance. (If you prefer a perfectly round, smooth result, my Tip is in the recipe below.) WPC’s are special-occasion treats. Served with champagne? Be still my heart. Tea and coffee? Okay. Cold milk? The perfect nonalcoholic alternative. I made these for the New Year’s Eve crew on duty at The Gant. While these cookies couldn’t compare with seeing Huey Lewis & The News at Aspen’s Belly Up nightclub, (where they’d rather have been), they were appreciated.
Appreciation. Let’s talk about that. 2014 was a banner year for me. I appreciate that more than anyone realizes. Thank you for being part of that. However, I recently celebrated my birthday. Readers, it was a big number. Truthfully, as we enter this New Year, I am still struggling with it. Not whining. Not complaining. Not grumbling. Just resolved to make peace and getting my arms around my aging.
New Year’s Eve was a long night. Aspen being Aspen, we not only had fireworks at 8pm, but also at Midnight. Since I live at the base of the mountain where the display is launched, I was in for a loud albeit spectacular evening. After baking and delivering the World Peace Cookies and taking a moment of silence to remember Dick Clark, I decided to spend the evening settling this whole 70’s-problem.
I resolved to see my limitations as possibilities. Admittedly, I physically cannot do as much nor mentally learn as quickly nor emotionally be as strong as I have been in the past. While I’ve not adjusted to that reality, I think my family, friends and, even The Gant employees, see it all too clearly. Luckily I am surrounded by people who value and respect me enough to understand, be kind but still nudge, challenge and encourage me to keep trying (as if I wouldn’t) and do better.
In thinking about who I Appreciate, the List is long. To my lifelong friends who remembered, welcomed and embraced me when I returned to Aspen, I Appreciate. Here at The Gant, where no one really l-i-v-e-s, I’ve been treated like a Queen. I Appreciate. To my nature study group, the Valley Vixens, who are truly my support system, I Appreciate. To my virtual colleagues, such a lifeline, I Appreciate. To my friends in France, who encourage me to travel again, I hear you. To my friends in Nevada, saviors during a difficult decade, I’ll see you soon. To my childhood friends, for steadfast loyalty always, I Appreciate. And, to my family, who, in every way and with great effort, embrace me. I Appreciate.
Maybe, in this new year, you wish to take a few moments to think about those You Appreciate. As for that age problem of mine, it’s a work-in-progress but I’ve just reminded myself why I need to be more grown-up about it. Happy New Year, Everyone. Enjoy the World Peace Cookies.
WORLD PEACE COOKIES adapted by Dorie Greenspan from Pierre Hermé
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
1. Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda into medium bowl.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on mediukm speed until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Add flour mixture and pulse the mixer at slow speed for 5 to 7 times, a second or two each time. Beat just until blended. Mixture may be crumbly. Add chopped chocolate and mix just to distribute.
4. Divide dough in half. Place each half on sheet of plastic wrap. Form each into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each in plastic. Chill until firm, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.
5. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using thin sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
TIP: According to Dorie, the easiest way to keep the log of dough round while stowing it in the fridge or freezer is to chill it inside a cardboard tube left from a roll of paper toweling. Slit the tube so it’s easy to wrap it around the dough. When you’re slicing the log, the easiest way to prevent losing that nice roundness is to give the log a quarter turn each time you slice off a circle of dough.
French Fridays with Dorie is an international group of bloggers cooking their way through Around my French Table, more than 300 recipes from my home to yours, by Dorie Greenspan. To see the Simplest Breton Fish Soup which my colleagues made this week while I was baking World Peace Cookies, go here.