Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two Recipes for World Peace

"Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me." I sang that as a kid, especially around Christmastime, and the older I get, the truer it is. Peace marches and public prayers for peace and the repeated proclamation that one wants world peace are wonderful in themselves. Then again, what kind of clown isn't in favor of world peace? I mean, do you ever hear anyone saying, "All I want for Christmas is a big world war."

What I want for Christmas is a smattering of peace within my own heart. It is so tempting to play back the dwindling year and count the ways I've failed: Didn't make as many paintings as I'd intended. Didn't sell as many paintings as I'd intended. Didn't eat healthily enough. Didn't exercise enough. Didn't pray enough. Fell behind in church attendance. Fell behind in bookkeeping. Spent too much money. Argued too much with my spouse over silly, inconsequential matters. Kept too quiet over more important matters.

But it's done. What good will it do to mourn these shortcomings now? It only eats up today, and today is what I've got. Today I'll listen to Joseph Rael's "Song of Peace." A friend of mine says that a group of people have been listening to it daily for several weeks. They will continue to listen until the dawn of 2008. It's one of those "let's attune our hearts to peace and see what happens" kind of things. Me, I'm game. I'll listen for that inner song of peace.

And I am most definitely game for making and eating World Peace Cookies. Dorie Greenspan in Baking: From My House to Yours (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), relates that her neighbor, upon eating these cookies, (the creation of legendary Parisian pastry chef/peacenik Pierre Herme), vowed that they were so completely satisfying on the most basic human level, that one cookie, consumed once a day, by each person inhabiting the planet, would result in world peace.

Know how they proclaim a worldwide ceasefire for a period of time on Christmas Day? What if they passed out cookies while they were at it?


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

3. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting Ready to Bake:

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

6. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them — don't be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won't look done, nor will they be firm, but that's just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Haven't tried the recipe yet. Flannery discovered it. She and I will be testing it later this week. We'll see if Monsieur Herme is Nobel Peace Prize material.


murat11 said...

Seems that M. Herme and Ana Pascal from Stranger Than Fiction had similar dreams for the world. Ms P ditched Harvard Law to focus on winning the world over one chocolate chip cookie-eating tax auditor at a time.

The Benedictines have a wonderful daily mantra for all our sense of shortcoming: "Begin again."

Bake on.

San said...


I'd forgotten that baking subplot in "Stranger Than Fiction."

Remember that slogan from way back when--"What if the Pentagon had to hold a bake sale to raise funds?"

What IF?

Make cookies, not war.

murat11 said...

About "Heart Compartments": reminds me of Mondrian: I always liked all his paint-compartments: there's a beautiful tree of his in the McNay here. Like the collage elements. Nice that "Heart Compartments" went to New Orleans, to help in the healing.

oldmanlincoln said...

I appreciate your appearance on my blog and your comments about my post of Ivester Inn.

If you liked that you will probably also like the post I will put up tomorrow about the First Snow we had in 2005. It was a newspaper article back in 2005 but adapted for the blog tomorrow.

Anyway. I came to thank you for that and to look at what you are up to here. I like your paintings and on your other blog I noted that you had sold everything or so it seemed. That's good.

I also liked your You Tube video today. I also like the cookie for world piece. But I don't think it will ever happen.

I wrote a piece about the First Terrorists in America (it was us) and I think that is coming home to roost as the old saying goes.

Have a nice holiday.

San said...

Once in a while, Paschal, I do feel the need for a little geometry. The calculus can be exhausting.

Speaking of healing, the purchaser of "Heart Compartments" is engaged in a major home rehab, I'm assuming as a result of Katrina. (A friend of hers, also a San buyer, lost not just her home but her entire neighborhood.) She bought it online and told me that when she received it, the web image just didn't capture the "softness of the detail." That made me feel good and bad. Good that she was pleasantly surprised by the "in person" painting. Frustrated that my digitals may give a wrong impression. But I got her email the day I was preparing to leave to see my mother through cancer surgery, so in that way, it was healing for me.

Thanks for making the connection between the painting and healing (making whole--bringing the compartments together.)

San said...


Thanks for visiting again. Yes, I will look at the "First Snow" piece.

I'm of course kidding about the cookies for world peace, but only to a point. It does begin with each person. When I'm in the kitchen, feeling unrushed, baking something delicious, it's a kind of meditative state. As is attentively eating something really GOOD.

"We have seen the terrorists and they are us." And they weren't baking cookies either. ;-)

Happy Holidays to you too.

Dan said...

San, I hope for world peace too, but given the fact that it's never happened ... even in the animal kingdom, I don't think it's part of human nature. So we may as well wish that we grow our own wings and fly.

But those cookies sure look damned good! :)

Hugs San!

San said...

Yeah, Dan, we'll grow our wings and fly to the nearest bakery!

Hugs back.

Karina said...

Count me in as one who immediately thought of the lovely baker of cookies in Stranger Than Fiction.

As for looking back on your year- it's seductive. But in the end, we have to shake off days past, and their expectations, and simply get our hands into paint, or dough, or dirt.

Make art- or cookies- not war! I'm there, Sistah.


San said...


It's so good to see you here again. Thanks for the visit.

"... simply get our hands into dough or paint or dirt..." Very well put, babe.

Bake off and peace out.

Sparkling Red said...

Could it be possible to bring about world peace by eating cookies? The only way to know for sure is to try.

Now, is there some kind of proxy system so that I could eat cookies on behalf of other people? I would totally be willing to do that, because I am such a selfless person. ;-)

San said...

Intercessory cookie consumption--an idea whose time has come!!!

Sparkling, you are a genius. The depth of your compassion makes me weep, not to mention the bottomlessness of your stomach.

lime said...

ooooh, the search for inner peace, yes..i could do with a bit of that as well. and i do belive those cookies may have fallen from heaven! they sounds divine!

San said...

Lime, I can't believe they flew up from hell, so you're probably right. Musta been heaven-sent.

Meanie the baby dragon said...

Hi San! Me yike dem kookeez! Me goin tu azk Mawmaw tu bayk dem! Yummy!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Talk about peace through superior oven power! I like it!

It's hard to hope for world peace when people can't find peace within themselves. Hopefully your suggestion will help lead to a butter world in which piece (chips, anyway) can flour! Bake love, not war!

(I know, I know...I'm cringing, too.)

HMBT said...

Peace...such a wonderful concept. Cookies...such a delightful way to think about peace. I love the idea, I'll have to try it out.

I love the compartment work...bring everything back to center with jewel tones and the brightness of love from the internal divine in all of us.

Have a wonderful day, and tasty Holiday with your kids!

Lee said...

Good morning, San. Loved the post! Read it twice. That peace song is very effective. I felt better after listening to it. Great choice! I'll have to try those cookies for peace. Frozen cookies to bake later sounds really useful.

Hearts Compartments is lovely. My eye focused on it seeming to be three dimensional. The items/words you had in some of the compartments were cool. "Songs" seemed to be in the deepest compartment and that struck me as appropriate. Life is a song and the energy of life sings through us. There were some words I just couldn't read. Other compartments seemed to have different things in them. One had a figure of a person I believe. Some were locked, again appropriate. Very detailed work full of meaning.

Peace! & Hope!

self taught artist said...

nice painting, very chalky and biblical

San said...

Hey Meanie,

Maybe Mawmaw will let you lick the bowl!

San said...

"A butter world in which piece can flour." Why would I cringe, Moody? Such a vision is worthy of a standing ovation, man.

San said...


"...the brightness of love from the internal divine with in all of us..." Thanks for that joyous take on the painting.

And you too have a tasty holiday with your family!

San said...

Lee, as ever, I appreciate your looking so closely at my art. That observation that some of the compartments are appropriately locked--astute.

And I'm really glad you enjoyed the "Song of Peace." Maybe you and your sister will make the cookies.

Merry Christmas!

San said...


Thanks. "Biblical and chalky." Go together like "Bonnie and Clyde." My daughter's metaphor.

jsd said...

San, I'll just say it again, there's something about your art that reaches that something within me and makes me go Wow, I wish I had this piece of art, and how lucky the person who does own it is.

San said...

JS, thank you! Wish you could've seen it "in person."

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Camplin said...

bake me up so peace sweats. I love the square painting.

Celebration of Life said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, San!

San said...

Thanks, Todd. On the agenda this weekend: Saturday, we'll bake cookies. Sunday, we're be in a Solstice sweat lodge. Trying to keep all bases covered.

San said...

Good morning, Jolene! Have a beautiful Wyoming Christmas.

Merelyme said...

oh what a wonderful site you have here...so glad you stopped by my blog. i will definitely add you to my links!

San said...

Thanks, Merelyme!

I'll put you on my blogroll too. I'll be updating it soon.

Celebration of Life said...

Chuck and I will be in Montana with Ms. Creek. (She's my youngest sister.) Send me positive energy that the roads will be good, the wind will be calm!

San said...


The Guardian Angel of Safe Highway Travel and Calm Breezes is hereby summoned.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Yu shud cownt up the good things yu did, not the bad. Yu can start wiv givin peepol a resippy for yummy choccie biccies. That goze a long way in my book.

My Mummy waz in a convent for a wile, menny yeers ago, an she remembers that Benedictine motto- but it haz 'always' at the start- so it's even better, cos it's "ALWAYS begin agen". HEHEHE!

It can speshly be applyd to baking, cos we eet it all befor it's cold, so then she haz to bake another lot!


San said...

BT, you warm my heart. Thank you for your wise commentary.

And give yer Mummy a big bear hug fer me!

kate said...

Those cookies look delicious! A cookie sit-in to the strains of 'Imagine'.

Your painting is cool ... I love it!

Happy holidays to you!

San said...

Kate, all we have to do now is determine the location of the cookie sit-in. Your place or mine?

Happy, happy holidays to you!

Sky said...

great post and a recipe that sounds yummy! i am a lucky woman today to find this!

San said...

Sky, I'm so glad you wandered over.

Your comment's got me glowing!

b2 said...

Someone who's interested in true world peace by cookie needs to come up with a decent gluten-free/dairy-free/potato-free chocolate cookie. 4 years of gluten-free baking experiments (the last one only yesterday) have left me quite hostile and unsatisfied. It just doesn't work, and I refuse to think of food as "medicine." Food is life. Life should be abundant. This is an abundant world. I am cookie-less. But not less kooky. This is my cookieless howl against the injustice of it all. Peace to all, including you "normals" who can eat cookies. And peace especially to those who are afraid to eat anything in our highly processed world without knowing the history of each ingredient because not knowing has caused them pain in the past. Peace even to those who insist that food allergies and sensitivities are "all in your mind" while they watch you erupt in hives, wheeze, and hobble on swollen joints to sit in the bathroom for the day, or scramble for your epi-pen.

San said...


I know you were ambivalent about posting what you called a "grinch" comment. I know you are completely lacking in grinch attributes. You are simply cookieless at Christmas. A damnable position to be in.

The holidays are a meldown time for many. Were I to be deprived of cookies at this time of the year, I would be in a padded cell. I went to the Gluten-Free Goddess's blog. There she has something called Nirvana Bars. They are gluten-free and if you click on a link there, you'll go to a casein-free version her son came up with.

Remember those ooey, gooey Magic Cookie Bars from the 70s? These look to be a variation on those. Runny with melting chocolate and other gooey stuff. They have coconut too!! I can feel them in my mouth.

Run, do not walk, to the Gluten Free Goddess. Check out the Nirvana.

If it has some ingredient that's not right, I apologize profusely for raising false hope.


QUASAR9 said...

Hi San,
seasons greetings to you and your close ones

hmmm those cookies look good enough to eat. But I bet there's none left - lol!

San said...

Well, Quasar, all I can say is a taste of world peace is everything it's cracked up to be.

Make merry, my friend.

Lori Witzel said...

San, thanks for coming around and leaving nice lil' treats in my blog's Comments Kitchen.


On occasion, I stumble into a cluster of bellicose, "holler-in-each-other's-faces until the spittle flies" blogs, and it frustrates me beyond measure.

How can people choose to feed hate and fear, when they can feed each other love and cookies?

Oh well. Yours for more peace and hugs all around this season, and in years to come.

San said...

Lori, thanks for visiting again.

I hear you regarding those soapbox blogs. Better to steer clear of them I guess.

Peace, hugs, cookies, and joyous journeying into 2008...

Dilly said...

Be mor peeceful if fewer Bears in howse.

Smell better too.



San said...

Sweet Dilly,

I wish you lots of Christmas goodies. And here's a BIG BEAR HUG. Sorry. Couldn't resist.


Philip said...

Love the painting and your message of peace. We have to live in hope that it will come one day. People of the world are pretty much the same and yet there are so many things that we allow to divide us (politics and religion for example) - silly when we all share the same world and, if there is a God, he/she/it would have no religion.

San said...

Thank you, Philip. It's always a pleasure to read what you have to say.