Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Chocolate Sables

Let's get this part over first. According to baking nerds on television, "sables" is not pronounced like the furry animals. It's pronounced something like "sah - blays" and probably with a slightly jaunty French accent.

Which makes sense, since this recipe comes from the book French Desserts by Hillary Davis.

This post is part of a group post organized by the newly revised Virtual Potluck and sponsored by Anolon, WÜSTHOF, Paula Deen, Microplane, Gibbs-Smith, and Nielsen-Massey, who provided products to the participating bloggers as well as items for our giveaway.

Yes, I mentioned a giveaway. It's at the bottom of this post, and there's lots of awesome stuff you could win.

If you aren't familiar with Hillary Davis, you can read about her book Cuisine Nicoise on my blot here where I made a recipe for broccoli, and her book Le French Oven where I made some yummy soup here.

But let's talk about sables. If you haven't figured it out yet, they cookies. Yup, chocolate cookies. They're lovely and crisp and not too sweet, but then they're sprinkled with sparkly sugar on top, so if you want them sweeter, you can certainly add more sugar.

I thought it was interesting that these were brushed with an eggwhite wash before sprinkling with sugar. I don't think I've ever done that with cookies. I've eggwashed bread, and it made it shiny, but it was a new idea for cookies.

I love new ideas.

This recipe called for Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, but I didn't happen to have that. I did have three other kinds of cocoa, though, so I used black cocoa. I'm sure these will work just fine with whatever you have. I mean, there's just no way these could be bad.

The cookies were lovely with some eggnog for dessert. Microplane gave us each a cup grater and a spice grater to use in our recipes ... I used them to garnish my eggnog - a whisper of nutmeg and then a little bit of grated chocolate. Because, well ... why not?

The cup grater is particularly interesting. You can set it right on a cup or mugif you want to, but it's really nice for holding it above the mug - which you'd need to if that mug was full. The funnel shape means you can do your grating and get the ingredients right into the mug instead of spilling onto the rim or onto the counter.

ALSO, this would be really great for grating chocolate on top of cupcakes, right?

That little spice grater is ideal for nutmeg. I just love it!

Chocolate Sables

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa (the recipe called for Hershey's Special Dark, but I didn't have that, so I used black cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey)
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Crystallized or turbinado sugar

Sift the flour and cocoa together in a mixing bowl, then add the salt and which together.

Okay, in all honesty, I just piled the flour and cocoa into a bowl and whisked. I didn't sift at all. There were a few tiny lumps in my cocoa, but they broke up easily. If your cocoa is particularly lumpy, you might want to go ahead and sift.

Oh, and I used one of my spiffy new Paula Deen mixing bowls. I love the stripes!

Beat the butter, confectioner's sugar, and granulated sugar with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, scraping down the bowl several times. 

Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

Pour in the flour mixture and mix just until well combined.

Scoop the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, form into a ball, and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top. Use the palms of your hands to flatten it, then use a rolling pin to flatten it to about 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Of course I used my new Anolon cookie sheet. It has a nice silicone grip so it's not as hot to hang onto, but of course I used a mitt when I took it out of the oven.

Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut out round cookies. Since the instructions didn't mention a size, I used a sort of small cutter, because I don't like giant cookies. That way, I can have just one cookie if I'm not too hungry, but two cookies isn't too much, either.

Place the cookies on the baking sheet, brush with the eggwash, and sprinkle with the sugar. Just for the fun of it, I made one batch with the eggwash and one without. The ones with the eggwash were shiny and had sort of a crackled appearance, and the ones without had a more matte finish. They tasted the same, so the difference was mostly appearance.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. The instructions say to bake until crisp, but the were soft while hot and got crisp after cooling a bit. Just make sure they're done.

Let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then move them to a rack to cool completely. Needless to say, I used the rack that came in the Anolon set.

I haven't used the cake pans yet or the loaf pan that came with the Anolon set yet, but I'm pretty excited about them. The surface is really slippy, so I shouldn't have any trouble with cakes sticking. I used the parchment paper on the baking sheet that this recipe called for, but I think the cookies would have been fine without them.

Besides the fun products I used in making the cookies, I got a few items that didn't quite fit this recipe. The cake knife from WÜSTHOF looks like just the right thing to slice through cake, and the triangular shape will be perfect for lifting slices of cake for serving.

And then I received both lemon and almond extract from Nielsen-Massey. 

I considered using the almond extract in the cookie recipe because almond goes well with chocolate, but then I decided to stick with the vanilla called for. I'm kind of a fiend for vanilla - I buy it in 32-ounce bottles. Yeah, I'm crazy. But that's how much I use.

Want more recipes? 

Go visit the other bloggers participating in this potluck:


One giveaway winner will receive a copy of French Desserts by Hillary Davis, an Anolon Advanced Bronze 5-piece baking set, a Paula Deen 3-piece mixing bowl set, a WÜSTHOF GOURMET 6-inch Cake Knife, a Microplane Premium Classic Spice Grater and Spice Cup Grater, and Nielsen-Massey almond and lemon extracts.

A second winner will receive a copy of French Desserts by Hillary Davis.

The giveaway is open to residents of the US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to all of our sponsors for providing products to the participating and for the items for the giveaway! For more information about our sponsors, you can follow them on social media:

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Nielsen-Massey is on Facebook and Twitter.