My Favorite Cookie Ever

September 11th, 2006

edited on 9/19/06: I had to add this in – two days ago I received a very kind e-mail from Ms. Greenspan herself!!! See end of post.

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Saying I have one favorite cookie seems like a bold and potentially disingenuous claim; after all, variety is the hallmark and joy of the cookie world, and why there are dozens of cookie cookbooks on the market, to address when you have chocolate-chip-cookie-days or macaron-days, Christmas-sugar-cookie-days or tea-time-shortbread-days, or even those guilty I-really-want-an-Oreo-days.

But I have to say I fell in love with this cookie the first time I made it, everyone I’ve ever shared them with has loved them, and it keeps appearing in my kitchen on a regular basis. It is a cookie that makes you realize that the cookie, or koekje in its original Dutch, is not a minor sweet to be munched mindlessly out of a bag or snacked on as a poor substitute for a fancy dessert, but a full and proper member of the pastry world.

Of course, with a lineage tracing to Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Hermé, who would expect anything less? This cookie first appeared under the name of Korova Cookies in Greenspan’s darling Paris Sweets, her charming, intimate ode to Parisian pâtisseries. Being the rabid fan of Hermé that I am, I made a batch, and true to the headnote, had to keep myself to consuming them all that evening. These cookies have made their return in Greenspan’s new book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, which appears to not be in general release yet but which I have been lucky enough to find! In her new tome, the cookies have been renamed World Peace Cookies, an indication of Greenspan’s continuing infatuation with these little handfuls of joy – and her recognition that they have won fans everywhere!

So why all the rhapsodizing? I humbly suggest the best way is to make the cookies yourself (and as a bonus, these are among the simplest of cookies to make; you have no excuse not to try them!) and take a bite of one minutes after it cools on the baking rack. They are a rich, dark, chocolately take on the classic sablé, and, as is Hermé’s trademark, he has perfected both texture and taste in this recipe. There is no other way to describe biting into the cookie other than it melts and crumbles in your mouth, the perfect sandy consistency. And the smooth, buttery chocolate taste that comes from cocoa powder and chocolate chunks is enhanced by the addition of fleur de sel, which takes the level of taste to a preternatural, addictive high.

I have added a few drops of peppermint extract to these cookies for Christmastime, and they are the ones that everyone always asks if I will make again.

So I’m doing my little bit to spread some world peace and happiness and send this cookie with the simple advice to Try it! and see if it doesn’t become one of your favorites as well.

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I am also adding a little song of praise for Greenspan’s new book, which I am sure you will see fully explored by me in the following months. She is forever my idol for translating Hermé’s genius and making his recipes available to English speakers and the home baker. Now she finally gets to share her own recipes from her home kitchen, and it’s a wonderful masterpiece that is homey, comprehensive, informative, and very delicious.

Korova Cookies

adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets

makes about 36 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (do not use natural; I find the taste too light. I prefer Scharffen Berger or Valrhona)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into little bits (I will admit I have used Nestle Toll House Mini Morsels before because they are nearly the perfect size; very tiny for this cookie is best. However, Greenspan does recommend chopping up your favorite chocolate for best results. If you see the mini morsels in the store, check them out for their size!)

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together in a bowl. Beat the butter in a mixer until it is soft and creamy. Add in the sugars, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for a few more minutes to combine. Add in the flour and combine on low speed just until the flour is combined. This is probably the trickiest part because the texture of the cookie depends on as little mixing as possible. The dough will be very crumbly; resist the urge to keep mixing until it all comes together because then the cookies will be too tough when baked. Add in the chocolate bits and mix just to distribute them.

If you have a scale, the easiest thing to do next is to divide the dough in half by weighing. If you don’t, just turn the dough out onto a flat surface, press together into a ball and roughly divide in two. With each half, press the dough together gently and form into a log about 1 1/2-in in diameter. In the past, for fear of overworking the dough, I would simply form rough cylinders, wrap in plastic, and chill. The cookies would not be perfect rounds but they tasted good! (There is actually opportunity to reshape the cookies when you’re getting ready to bake them). Now, I use the trick of rolling the dough into a log on a piece of parchment paper, folding the parchment in half over the log, and using a ruler to compact the log and smooth out its shape. Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for at least an hour; the logs will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or you can freeze them for a month.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Take out the logs and let them sit for a little while to soften up, otherwise I find they shatter into pieces when I slice them. Greenspan does not seem to be bothered by this and suggests you can just press the pieces back together. I have done this before and it does not appear to affect the result.

Slice the logs into rounds about 1/2-in thick; I prefer a little thinner.  Place the cookies on the sheets with about an inch between them. Bake them one sheet at a time in the oven for 12 minutes. They will not look done but that’s ok – again, overbaking will give the m a crispy texture instead. Let them cool on wire racks until just warm.

9/19/06: I received the best surprise two days ago – this e-mail in my inbox from Ms. Greenspan! Here it is:

Hi Anita,

I friend just told me about your blog and I was thrilled to visit and see your gorgeous photos of our favorite cookie, Pierre Herme’s Korova Cookies, now known as World Peace Cookies. Isn’t it extraordinary that something so simple and so easy to make can be sooooooooo good!

Many thanks for your kind and generous words about my cookbooks. I hope you will enjoy baking from my newest book, Baking, From My Home To Yours, as much as you’ve enjoyed Paris Sweets. (And, for your reader who asked, the book is now in stores and online.)

I’ll be visiting often to admire your beautiful work.

Again, my thanks — Dorie

Can I say I was floating in the clouds for the rest of the day??? FYI, I neglected to mention that I got my copy of Baking at my local Costco (called Sam’s Club in other parts of the country), although they do not offer it online so you have to go to the warehouse yourself. It should also be available on Amazon, Jessica’s Biscuit, and other online retailers at this point.

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50 Comments so far ↓

  • Alanna #1

    Risky business, claiming one cookie forEVER. This one sounds worth it! I love the size of those mini chips, too, wish the better chocolates would start making them too.

  • peabody #2

    Then I must try them if they are your favorite.

  • Mary #3

    Hi Anita,
    With your glowing endorsement here, I put a Post-It sticky on the Korova cookies page in my Paris Sweets. Can’t wait to try making them.

    BTW, your recipe lists baking powder, but the book says baking soda. A typo or did you substitute?

  • J #4

    hi anita, i am very big on both dorie greenspan and the korova cookie recipe so this post, i totally love! beautiful pictures too…

  • Kat #5

    ooh, cookies…will have to give these a try!

  • Danielle #6

    I’ll definitely try making these. Perhaps with a bit of cinnamon thrown in, though. They look just wonderful, and I’m really looking forward to trying out that great-looking texture they’ve got.

  • Danielle #7

    Just one question – maybe I’m being blind, but I don’t see when to add the chocolate. With or right after the flour, I’d think, but it there’s some strange trick to adding it at a different step, I want to hear about it.

  • Jennifer #8

    With a title like that, how can I not try them?

  • Catherine #9

    You’ve sold me! I can’t wait to try these. Where do you buy your special cocoa powder?

  • Dana #10

    Where, oh where did you get a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s new book? I have been desperately trying to snag a copy!

  • ParisBreakfasts #11

    Yummy pictures..how many days till Xmas is it?
    Trade ya ?

  • Julia #12

    Hey, a Dutch cookie (koekje!)
    and I never heard of it(!)
    What a great post. I’m loving the picture and I’d be mad if I wouldn’t try them! =)

  • Bea at La Tartine Gourmande #13

    These look just delicious. Lovely pictures. I will have to try the recipe!

  • Bea at La Tartine Gourmande #14

    These look just delicious. Lovely pictures. I will have to try the recipe!

  • Kat #15

    Just saw a post on your chocolate tarts on Slashfood, congrats!

  • daniela #16

    Wonderful, Anita!
    they’re like a little parisian street…

  • Scott at Real Epicurean #17

    Well cookies never fail to astound me. I’ve reflected recently on just how easy it is to make cookies (most people don’t realise that), and how bought cookies lack the same…bite.
    Combining crunchy with just a touch of chewy, and sweet cocao chocolate that makes your teeth tingle is a real art.

  • kitchen mama #18

    these look yummy ! I am a cookie monster and i will try this !! thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • maura #19

    I love this enchanting book, and now I have to try this cookie- thanks!

  • Julie #20

    Your words and your pictures make a very convincing case for these cookies. And if by eating these cookies I’m promoting world peace, it seems to me it’s my duty to do so.

  • GP #21

    Always on the lookout for cookie recipes for the “always full cookie jar” at our bed and breakfast. These look awesome; will have to make these in the next days.. thanx

  • sam #22

    Thanks for introducing me to this recipe Anita. I will definitely be trying these!

  • Christine #23

    Oh wow, that’s so cool! I would be on floating too. That was sweet of her. :)

  • Ivonne #24

    I’m so glad that Dorie saw these gorgeous cookies!

  • Anita #25

    Alanna,
    Thank you! I wish the better chocolate companies would make the tiny chips too – they’re so convenient!

    Peabody,
    Well, I hope they become one of your favorites as well!

    Mary,
    Thank you! It is supposed to be baking soda – I had it right later in the recipe. Thanks for the correction!

    J,
    Thank you! So glad to hear you’re a fan of it too!

    Kat,
    Hope you like making them as much as I do!

    Danielle,
    The chocolate bits are added after the flour. The cinnamon sounds like a great addition too!

    Jennifer,
    Hope they don’t disappoint – but I think you’ll enjoy them!

    Catherine,
    I use either Scharffen Berger or Valrhona – both of which are available at Andronico’s or Whole Foods.

    Dana,
    I got mine at Costco but it appears to be widely available now at most bookstores and online retailers.

    Carol,
    I’ll happily do a trade with you – it doesn’t even need to be Christmas!

    Julia,
    I was just throwing in the Dutch word for cookie – it’s not Dutch but I hope it doesn’t keep you from trying it!

    Bea,
    Thanks for the compliments! I hope you enjoy the cookie!

    Kat,
    Thanks so much! It was an unexpected surprise!

    Daniela,
    I do think of Paris whenever I make them! Thanks!

    Scott,
    So you’re a cookie gourmet as well – after making these, it’s hard to look at store-bought cookies, I agree!

    Kitchen Mama,
    Thank you! I hope you like the cookie!

    Maura,
    Glad to find another fan of her book! It’s one of my favorites!

    Julie,
    One of the tastier ways I’ve found of promoting world peace, hmm? Hope you like them!

    GP,
    Your B&B looks absolutely gorgeous – even without those cookies there I would be tempted to go!

    Sam,
    I’m happy to introduce as many people as possible to this little cookie!

    Christine,
    Thank you! It was a super sweet and awesome surprise:)

    Ivonne,
    I’m glad Dorie shared the recipe! I’m sure she was pleased by all the positive comments:)

  • Kelly #26

    I just got a giant cannister of Sharffen Berger cocoa powder and I’ve been searching and searching for an appropriate recipe to use this in. I can not wait to make these!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Julie #27

    Hi Anita — I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while, but after we met this summer at the blogger’s dinner at the Helmand, I’ve become quite a dedicated lurker. What drove me out of lurkhood was that despite numerous posts about this cookie, it was yours that prompted me to finally try it. What a gem (both you and the cookie, that is)!

  • maxine #28

    I know shortbread only uses butter, but I was nervous with the Korova recipe, and in a moment of lapsed faith, put an egg in. I imagine it’ll make them chewier and I’m kicking myself. Would you describe the texture of this cookie as similar to shortbread – maybe the “sandiness” is a result of the melted chocolate bits? Regardless, the dough is absolutely delicious.

  • sally LaRhette #29

    Hi!
    Beautiful cookies and today I made them for a meeting of the Culinary Guild of New England or The ew England Culinary Guild, Once was Culinary Guild for Women the first in the USAJulia was a founding member as well as Madame Roberge and others.anyone can make a cookie, though it is a skill development career.Go on line to hear Dorie and Lynne Kasper talk about baking and these cookies!
    You are a talented baker!
    Sally

  • sally LaRhette #30

    Dorie Greenspan did a session with lynne kasper today, dec.4 and outlined essential steps of baking for better or even superior results.The program, Splendid Table, with lynne kasper who wrote The Splendid Table. It is fun to listen to on your computer,
    I found it by looking for peace cookies or Kosovo cookies on Safari.What I learned today is the really not overemix the flour mixture into the butter and sugar.I have ead the recipe several times to try to get it right the first time, almost impossible to do, but funanyway.My cookies are quite good, not as sandy as I might like and I chopped the chocolate ,half in the cuisinart and half by hand and baked them 12 minutes, one pan at a time, cooling the pan before baking more if you do not have several pans. Lovely recipe, the fleur de sel makes a differnece.if you shop around you can save one or 2 dollars for a container.It is flaky.Good!And then I found this wonderful BLOG!

  • Ann #31

    I am not a great baker. I couldn’t get the dough to…cohere…at any point. I mixed until the particles were just about even — maybe that’s too long? The dough always acted like slightly sandy soil, even after refrigeration in wax paper logs. I finally baked it pressed into a 9×13 lined with a wedged-in silpat. Came out very tasty, if a little salty (I used table salt), but crumbly still. A great layer for another dessert, ice-cream or cake layer, maybe.

  • Katie #32

    I can’t wait to see how my first batch of these comes out. I used some sel de Guerande (not exactly fleur de sel, but close) and Mitica bittersweet chocolate. The logs are in the fridge right now! My brother’s fiancee made us some of these at Christmas, as well as the lemon poppy seed shortbread. I had to have the recipe, and fortunately she is sharing. I’m so glad I found your blog!

  • car #33

    Hi!

    These sound sooooooo fabulous! I tried to make them last night & had disaster! All of those beautiful ingredients wasted…there really was no dough, it was still powdery at the end of the combining process, so I scooped the floury mixture onto parchment paper, then sort of shaped it into a log, then wrapped that in plastic wrap….rolled it to shape the log better. But it was still powdery after 2 hours in the fridge…There’s no liquid except for the vanilla extract, am I correct? Could my creamed butter/sugar combo have not been moist enough? Any thoughts are welcome, these appear to be so beautiful & the name even appeals more!

  • kitchenmage #34

    Ill definitely have to try these…and look for the book.

    One small point though: Costco and Sam’s Club are NOT related! Costco is its own company and has reasonable management and policies (disclaimer: I’ve done technical consulting work for them) while Sam’s Club is *walmart* and thus evil. *grin*

  • Jo #35

    Hi! I just found your blog searching for world peace cookies. I found the recipe on another blog and the dough came out VERY crumbly, so I thought I’d see if anyone offered advice. I used Earth Balance (soy margarine) instead of butter because I’m a vegan, but I’ve baked other things (cookies included) with it and it always works and tastes like butter. Any advice for what to do if it’s too powdery? How crumbly should the dough be? I baked some cookies and they seem a little too soft, but tasty, but most of it crumbled as soon as I tried to cut the dough. Any advice?

    The dough, by the way, is delicious raw (an advantage of not using eggs ).

  • Sara #36

    For those who find the dough to be too crumbly after following Greenspan’s directions, I think it’s because she is assuming we all have Kitchen Aids. My mixer was not up to the task, so I worked the dough with my fingertips until it looked and felt like a proper cookie dough. Although she did warn us not to overmix, again I think that was directed at people using powerful electric mixers. It’s harder to overmix when you’re doing it by hand. I’d hazard a guess that it would be easier to get it right in the summer, when the room temperature is so much warmer, and the butter is softer before starting. Mixing it with your fingertips warms it up a tad, although if you have very sweaty hands, you should probably use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.

  • Anita #37

    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for your note – I appreciate your insight! I guess I should have clarified that the dough should be sticking together somewhat – perhaps also some people didn’t have the butter soft enough? It’s been a while since I’ve had to work without a KitchenAid – I didn’t think of how differently it might turn out for those without one!

  • Diane #38

    I am very anxious to try this recipe. Would like to know the background for the name of these cookies – World Peace Cookies.
    Plan to share with our Pray for Peace Committee.

  • Andrea #39

    I have had this recipe bookmarked for a while (found it through the icecreamireland blog). I want to give it a go, but can I confirm if you use bleached or unbleached all purpose flour? Thanks for a lovely blog.

  • yong #40

    Hi, I’m from Malaysia and my hobby is making cookies (& sell them during festival season). I wonder what’s fleur de sel? Don’t think i’ve ever come across that at the baking store. Can you show me the pic? Can it be substituted?

    • anya hamman #41

      Fleur de sel (“Flower of salt” in French) is a hand-harvested sea salt collected by hand, and is scraped only of the top layer of before the salt sinks to the bottom of salt pans.

      You can probably only find the in health or gourmet food stores, thats where if found mine anyways…. its a little more on the expensive side, but totally worth it

  • S for Kitchen Confit #42

    Yes, aren’t they wonderful cookies!

  • AnnaKatt #43

    I really really want to make these cookies, but I need measurements in grams and ml! How much is a stick of butter? The cups and half cups I can find on the net but a stick?
    Are american tablespoons the same size as european (=15ml)? regards, Anna

  • yemek tarifleri #44

    Your words and your pictures make a very convincing case for these cookies. And if by eating these cookies I’m promoting world peace, it seems to me it’s my duty to do so.
    yemek tarifleri

  • char #45

    i tried this recipe and the taste was very good! only thing…it was so crumbly that it breaks when i hold them…am i doing something wrong? do i need to ‘compress’ them tighter before cutting?

    it can be quite sweet for some asians….think some sprinkling of cacao nibs will do wonders! the bitterness and crunchiness of the nibs to offset the sweetness…yummy!

  • AK #46

    Well.. the pictures of the cookies sure look terrific… so i guess i will have to take your word for it that they really are great!

    I will know after i cook up a batch ;o)

    AK

  • kipa #47

    Cookie baking is one of my favorite hobbies. I love rummaging through Mom’s many cookbooks to find the next greatest cookie recipe. The latest was Pecan Crescents (a variation from Almond for us): It was tasty! Thanks for this new recipe, Pastrygirl!

  • How Korova Cookies Started It All | Vivian Macaron #48

    [...] Dessert First, adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris [...]

  • anya hamman #49

    Hi Anita
    I have a question about the cocoa powder… Because I have learned that Dutch processed cocoa powder has an added alkali in it that neutralizes the acids that are naturally found in cocoa, and that the alkalis added to the cocoa cause it not to react with baking soda. So most books say it is not suitable for recipes that call for baking soda. they said dutch processed cocoa needs to be used in recipes that have baking powder…. I just wondered what you take is on that, and why you chose to use the dutch processed kind? and what difference do you think it makes in this case?

    • Anita #50

      Hi Anya,
      Thanks for writing and that’s a good question! I want to point out that this recipe is from Dorie Greenspan and not by me, so I am only offering my thoughts on this recipe. You can always e-mail Dorie as well if you want a direct answer from her!

      It is true that baking soda will not react with Dutch processed cocoa powder. However, this cookie doesn’t rise very much, so what the baking soda may actually be doing more is adding some tenderness to the cookie crumb. This cookie is based on a French cookie called the sable, which is more of a tender, shortbread type cookie than a fluffy American one.

      David Leibovitz’s cocoa FAQ is a good resource where he also addresses the natural vs Dutch versions: it seems that in most cases it is fine to use either kind without a big difference in outcome.

      You can also read Dorie’s notes on her own recipe: she mentions at the end that she seemed to get better results using Dutch processed cocoa powder, so that’s likely why she recommends it.

      Hope this helps!

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