If you are a chocoholic, like my daughter Emilia, I predict you’ll flip over these double chocolate wonders called World Peace Cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home To Yours. Originally created by well-known Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé, they consist of a shortbread batter enriched with cocoa powder, chocolate pieces and a generous helping of fleur de sel.
Fleur de Sel, ‘flower of salt’, gets its name from the flower shapes that comprise the delicate top layer of salt crystals that enter the marshes of Brittany, the Camargue, and Noirmoutier regions in France, and the Algarve region in Portugal. These delicate crystals are harvested by hand and contain a higher mineral content than other salts. They also retain a moistness which imparts a subtle scent of the ocean when the container is first opened. Because it is so delicate and melts faster, fleur de sel is often used as a ‘finishing’ salt in desserts and savory dishes.
The presence of the fleur de sel takes centre stage in this cookie. Its addition intensifies the chocolate and draws out its warm, rich flavor. You could eat an avocado, steak or rice pudding without a pinch of salt, but you’d be missing the brightness and essence that salt is able to draw from them. It is the essential ingredient in pickling and preserving and was once a spice high in value. In ancient Rome, soldiers were paid in salt (it was their ‘salarium’, hence the word salary).
Thanks to Jessica of cookbookhabit for choosing these cookies. Check out her blog for the recipe. I made the cookie as printed, with fleur de sel and mini chocolate chips. The batter came together nicely and the cookies retained their shape when baked and cooled. If you can’t find fleur de sel you can use regular table salt, but use half the amount, as the recipe indicates. If you are concerned about sodium intake, try them, but limit yourself to a couple a day if you can! And fleur de sel will delicately replace the necessary electrolytes your body craves!
So, add some fleur de sel to your life…it is the ultimate flavor enhancer for any dish, sweet or savory! And Emilia, my dear hard-working freshman in college, your cookie care package is in the mail!