I love so much in this world.
I love the feeling of warming dirt underneath my bare feet, as I walk around our garden in February. (February!) I love seeing the first vivid unfurlings of the rhubarb plant emerging. I love the hope of spring, the anticipation of gardening, all that dark black soil waiting to take life soon.
I love this TED Prize talk by Jamie Oliver. (Please watch it.) I love this photo that my friend Lee took of the steam rising from our kitchen sink after cooking potatoes, as well as the Polaroid our friend Deborah took this summer of the apple crisp we shared under the cherry tree in our green backyard. (I also love this reminder of sunlight, this reminder of childhood summer, and essentially every photograph ever taken by Brian W. Ferry. Also, I adore these raspberry mascarpone macarons (gluten-free!) that my dear friend Helen created.)
I love my friends and what they create. If I start making a list, I’ll be here all night. Just a glimpse.
I love how, before her bath, Little Bean’s face is smeared in dirt from walking in the woods, blueberries, oatmeal, and kisses. I love the smell of her after a bath, tucked into her covers. I love the sound she makes when she imitates a train (Too! Too!) or says Elmo’s name. I love the feeling when I hear her say Mama! and then she touches my arm. I love that child with all my heart.
I love curling into Danny’s chest at the end of the evening, far too late for our tired heads to still be up. But he’s home from the restaurant, and we talk in low voices, as we hope that Little Bean sleeps better tonight. Our plates from dinner are on the floor so I can snuggle in closer, and his hand on my shoulder is all I ever need to know about love.
I love this community of people reading and writing here, who encourage each other, and learn from each other, and ask great questions and leave even better suggestions.
Last week, I showed you the disaster that was my first attempt at Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace cookies. They melted and spread like the strange creatures in Dali’s The Persistence of Memory. In years past, I might have stopped at that point. Now, however, I know enough about the flours and my own stubbornness to continue. In that first batch, I tried almond flour and teff, along with potato starch. Almond flour is wonderful, but it’s full of fat. Teff is terrific, but it’s so fine that it almost melts when you bake with it. In a quick bread or muffin? Wonderful. In those cookies? Not so much. So I wondered aloud — how would you make these cookies?
I knew you’d come through. I love this community.
Emily offered this: “I found that subbing in Whole Foods 365 GF baking flour worked extremely well. I didn’t have to measure out my own flours at all…the GF Pantry all-purpose flour is similar to the Whole Foods one, so you could probably use that in there as well. They were delicious…my non-GF family ate most of them the first time around, which is usually how I judge success!” (For those of you new to this, or who don’t want to work with individual flours, this is a great suggestion.)
CLRCassie suggested this: “I always use the Authentic Foods Multi Blend Gluten-Free Flour (Karen Robertson’s recipe) and substitute it 3/4 cup for 1 cup flour and it always works really well. I also double the baking powder/soda.”
(Have you seen Karen Roberton’s book Cooking Gluten-Free! This was the best book I bought when I first found out I had to be gluten-free. I still turn to it. You would love it. (I’ll do a formal recommendation soon.)
ML said: “I’ve adapted the World Peace cookies using Pamela’s mix or Annelise Roberts’ flour mix for a one-to-one swap with the flour in the recipe. Works perfectly! I would also recommend adding a pinch of espresso. For a peanut butter version, swap approximately 1/4 of the butter for peanut butter. Enjoy!”
Jeni suggested: For world peace cookies? I’d use 3.25 ounces sweet rice flour, 1.5 ounces each of tapioca and potato starch, and about 3/4 teaspoon xanathan gum. I might add in an egg or a little flaxseed powder in water into the wet ingredients to add a little more protein into the mix, depending on what my instincts told me about the quality of the dough. Finally, I’d mix in a scant 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder to bring some va-va-voom to the chocolate, and skimp on the salt in the dough in favor of dusting the cookies lightly with flakes of sea salt (I love the way a good flaky salt catches the light — much too pretty to hide in dough!)”
Deena at Mostly Food Stuffs outdid herself with this tinkering. She used hard-boiled eggs in the dough, something I’d never thought to do. After seeing her photos, I’m trying it soon.
I’m pretty sure that any of these methods would work. Clearly, no one was going hungry.
I love how much we can inspire each other, and move each other into the kitchen.
I doubly love that there is no one right way to bake these cookies. We don’t think our cookies are the best for you. (In fact, I’m trying them again tomorrow, with the hard-boiled egg yolk trick. Hm. The recipe I’m posting today just might change again.) These are the ones that work best for our kitchen, in this moment.
I love getting a glimpse into your kitchens.
I love that we’ve been graced with this early spring, the days warm enough that we had a picnic on the front porch this afternoon.
We took the cookies on a picnic. I wanted to photograph them. Danny wanted to eat them, now. Little Bean wanted to touch them.
The days are busy around here, with an active toddler, two blogs, a full-time job, a book coming out, another one I’m writing now, a house to clean (sometimes), mouths to feed. And no child care. I love our life, but sometimes it feels a little much. (Those moments are directly correlated to the nights that Little Bean doesn’t sleep well.) Sometimes, it would be nice if it all slowed down for a moment.
This afternoon, it did.
Little Bean walked down the steps, holding Danny’s hand, saying “Down.” (Every stuffed animal has been thrust into the air and flung to the floor lately, while she says “Up! andown.”) I took these photographs you see, in the sunlight. The air was warm. We had nowhere to go.
For a moment, everything stopped. I realized again how lucky I am.
Then Little Bean reached for a cookie, again, and we all cracked up.
She loves these cookies. We think you will too.
You see, there is so much in this world to love. And so many ways to love.
I couldn’t touch the blog on Valentine’s Day. I generally stay away from that day now. After so many years of lonely longing, and feeling lousy about myself on the heart-smattered pink day, I find the day sort of repulsive. This was our Valentine’s Day this year. So much more meaningful to me than the days of velvet boxes full of chocolates.
I love her too.
As Tea wrote: “Spread the love around, people. We need it.”
Make someone you love (or a stranger you could love) these cookies today.
World Peace cookies, gluten-free, adapted from Dorie Greenspan
This is our favorite version of these cookies, at the moment. You could use other flours, if you want to try. Just use 6 1/4 ounces, total.
I haven’t translated these flours into cups this time. Tell truth, I want you to buy a kitchen scale and measure your flours by weight. It makes a HUGE difference. Soon, I’ll write a post about this and give you a conversion chart. But for now? Here you are.
These cookies are darkly sweet, with a texture like sandy beach, with chocolate two ways, and a bit of salt. World peace, indeed. Thank you to Dorie, and everyone before her, and all the people reading here. Good eating to you all.
1 3/4 ounces brown rice flour
1 1/2 ounces sorghum flour
1 1/2 ounces sweet rice flour
1 1/2 ounces potato starch
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoons guar gum
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1/3 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or 3/4 cup chocolate chips, smashed a bit)
Combining the dry ingredients. Sift the brown rice, sorghum, sweet rice, and potato starch into a bowl. Whisk in the xanthan and guar gums, as well as the cocoa powder and baking soda. Set them aside.
Creaming the butter and sugar. Using a stand mixer (if you have one) or your strength and a spoon, mix the softened butter and sugars together. Do not over-cream them. Mix until they are just combined. Add the egg yolk and mix. Mix in the sea salt and vanilla extract.
Making the dough. Add 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the buttery mixture. Pulse the mixer a few times. Add 1/4 more, pulsing a few times between. When you have added all the flours, and they have all disappeared into the dark brown dough, stop. Pour in the chocolate bits and mix in quickly.
Forming the logs of dough. Gather the dough into your hands, smoosh it up, and divide it in half. From each half into a log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. (The wider your log of dough, the wider your cookies will be.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put them into the refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight. (Really. They’re much better after a night of waiting.)
Baking the cookies. Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Cut the cookies into 1/2-inch rounds with a sharp knife. When you hit a bit of chocolate, the knife is bound to bobble a bit. No bother. Simply squeeze the rounds together with your fingers. Put 6 cookies-to-be on the baking sheet. Bake.
Now, here’s where it’s up to you. In our oven, 12 minutes of baking yielded a soft cookie, soft enough to droop in your fingers. 16 minutes of baking yielded a slightly crisp crust with a soft inside. I preferred the latter. You might like the former. Use your best judgment.
After the cookies are done baking, take them out of the oven and let them rest on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. You may eat now. Or, if you have the willpower, let them cool completely and eat when they are a touch more crisp. Up to you, of course.
Makes about 36 cookies.