The situation in Egypt is gripping. I’m all for healthy protest, and I’m happy the Egyptian people have used their voices to create a change in leadership. What really has my attention with regard to the foment in Egypt is the photojournalism coming out of there. Photojournalism is an art form that I don’t think gets enough respect. With the advent of digital cameras and now the iPhone being used as a legitimate (from most sane people’s perspectives) tool, I think our future will be rife with an abundance stunning, horrifying, heartbreaking, and beautiful images from around the world.
I think if I could be anywhere in the world right now, I’d choose to be in Afghanistan with an iPhone loaded with camera apps. One of my favorite photographers, Damon Winter, works for the New York Times and has made some incredible photos in Afghanistan. There was a great post on the Times’ Lens blog this week about Mr. Winter’s work and the iPhone. When I was first learning about photography I railed against toying with photos after they were shot, whether in the dark room or on the computer. I have come to see that as a narrow viewpoint and have fully embraced any technology that will allow an artist rapid, meaningful communication and the realization of his or her vision.
Perhaps you’ll think I’m naive, but I truly believe art can change the world. And that means world peace is a possibility. While I may not see this in my or my child’s lifetime, thinking about it gives me some comfort.
Until I can trek to the far reaches of the globe and document others’ triumphs and tragedies, I will bake. I may not be able to kick world peace fully into gear from my Los Angeles kitchen, but I can bake the incomparable Dorie Greenspan’s treacherously delicious World Peace Cookies. I think you should too.
World Peace Cookies
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 36 cookies
Dorie says this recipe yields 36 cookies, but I get about 30. I’m probably cutting them too thick, but since I’ve gotten no complaints, I’m going to keep cutting them the way I cut them. All hyperbole aside, these are the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. I find that making the dough and refrigerating it the day before I bake the cookies is the best way to go with these. Dorie’s recipe calls for ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt, but I used ½ teaspoon. Also, make sure your butter is really soft. Really soft.
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
½ teaspoon baking soda
11 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons), room temperature
⅔ cup light brown sugar (packed)
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped in pieces no bigger than ⅓ of an inch (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao)
1. Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda into medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth but not fluffy. Add sugars, vanilla and sea salt and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add flour mixture and beat until just blended. This sucker is going to be crumbly. Add the chopped chocolate and mix to distribute.
3. Knead dough gently into a ball. Divide dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap, then form into a 1½-inch –diameter log. (I am not exact about this. I roll the dough halves into logs that are about the same shape. This doesn’t always work out as well as I’d like.) Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. Dorie says you can do this 3 days in advance if you like. I find a day in advance the best.
4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into ½-inch-thick rounds. (I estimate this and try my best. Heck, there’s not a test on this so just try your best!) Space an inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 12 minutes, until cookies appear dry. They aren’t going to be firm or golden at the edges, so you’re just going to have to trust this timing, brothers and sisters. Transfer to a rack and cook. Repeat until the dough is all used up.
5. Store these in an airtight container, where they’ll be good for 3 or 4 days. They probably won’t last that long, though.