Mess en Place

When it’s no longer the twinkling holiday season, and it’s now full-on January, and the grace period for still having the Christmas tree up has ended, and the grace period for getting down to business (and not just imagining or gearing up)  on those New Years Intentions is growing long in the tooth…when you’ve squandered the days off and chunks of free time around the holidays, and you have not painted those rooms or written that book or resolved any number of big things…when even the Annual Year-End-Wrap-Up and Inventory-Taking is woefully late…when your desk does not look like this…


Desk goals





…but instead looks like THIS…


The struggle is real.

When the snow falls and falls, and then the sun shines too brightly and its glare off the snow is weirdly depressing, strangely right up in-your-face with the fact that you have not done All of the Things, or even most of the things.

When these things weigh heavy, some of us take to our beds and wallow, and some of us take to the kitchen and make something hopeful. It has to involve chocolate, and be pretty simple. It has to require only things I already have in the house, because I’m not going out into that bright glare. It has to invite possibility and friendship and love and all kinds of good mojo. It has to be share-able.

I realize that this is a lot to ask of one cookie, but the World Peace Cookie can handle all of these criteria, all of this emotional responsibility, and look cute in the process. Not cute like a very dolled up, brightly iced, very pretty-but-shitty-tasting confection from the bakery–cute like the real thing, rich and chocolaty, with that sparkle of fleur de sel.

I first received this recipe from another Montessori parent, many moons ago, but all credit goes to Dorie Greenspan, who popularized them and who is just the maven of baking all things (we’re not worthy!). I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but it was this time of year, and she promised they would be good. The other parent was a chef, and she knew from good cookies. It was a chocolate shortbread, she said. What is better than a chocolate shortbread! It did not disappoint, and I made it many times–but now, I had forgotten about it and not made it in years.

In this, the week of President Obama’s farewell speech, and in the throes of confusion, contention, controversy, contempt–World Peace Cookies are what I need to make, in order to “make something gloriously unhealthy but limit my intake of it”…”foisting the calories” on my lucky and deserving coworkers.


Cocoa–check. The kind with the creepy, mustachioed chef on it, although who is going to taste the difference if you use Hershey’s? No one.

In keeping with my new practice of Being More Organized and my re-commitment (with a ceremony and everything) to practicing Mise en Place while cooking (hoping it will spill over into life), I pre-measured everything and got it all lined up. I even took out some eggs, and these cookies do not contain eggs. Doing the organized prep has served me very well in the twelve or so days of 2017. Yay me.

fleurSea salt, check. The special sauce of these cookies. This is what I have in the house. I don’t think one needs to use fleur de sel, as long as the salt is fine and not like big, pretzel salt. I like to sprinkle a little bit on the tops of the cookies when they’re still hot, just because.

World Peace Cookies come together in about ten minutes–not even kidding. But I had not made them in a few years, and I did forget that the dough needs to chill (or freeze) for a few hours before baking. So if you’re the sort of person who does not read through the whole recipe, and just forges ahead and starts making things, reading as you go (ahem), then I’m doing you a favor with this heads up–make the dough ahead and leave enough time to let it chill its bad self in the fridge.


It’s not pretty, but mmmm, so good.


Huh huh. You said “log.”


Okay, so I ran out of fine sea salt and had to top the cookies with the very coarse sea salt that I just advised against.


And some focaccia and gorgonzola dolce from last night. Because calm down, I’m not drinking wine at 10:00am.

Make these cookies asap, bring them to someone, and let the love fest to begin.


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