Tuesday, December 8, 2009


TWD: Sablés

     The first winter storm hit Southern California yesterday. It was great to have the rain. We really needed it and with the rain comes the end of fire season! Along with the rains we had strong winds, which knocked out power around the county. Since I have a convection oven, it was a good thing that my sablés had just come out of the oven when our power went out. Candle light and cookies!
     Barbara of  Bungalow Barbara. selected Sablés as this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. This is the perfect make ahead cookie dough, since you roll it into logs and chill for several hours before baking. Then it's just slice and bake, and you get a delicious buttery cookie just right to enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate.

You can dress them up on the outside with colorful sugar, nuts, jimmies, and for the inside add some candied fruits, citrus zest, espresso powder or ground nuts; it's pretty much limitless. If you want to enjoy this buttery crisp cookie just drop on over to Bungalow Barbara's for the recipe or pick up Dorie's book.

from "Baking: From My Home to Yours," 
by Dorie Greenspan

2 sticks (1 cup / 8 ounces / 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (3.5 oz. / 100 gm.)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted (1.0 oz. / 28 gm.)
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
2 large egg yolks (7 teaspoons / 35 ml. / 1.3 oz. / 37 gm.), at room
temperature, plus 1 large egg yolk, for brushing the logs
2 cups all-purpose flour (9.6 oz. / 272 gm.)
Decorating (coarse) sugar

Makes about 50 cookies

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with
a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and
very creamy. Add the sugars and salt and beat until well blended, about 1
minute. The mixture should be smooth and velvety, not fluffy and airy. Reduce
the mixer speed to low and beat in 2 of the egg yolks, again beating until the
mixture is homogeneous.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand
mixer to protect yourself and the counter 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 more times;
if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds
more, just until the flour disappears into the dough and the dough looks
uniformly moist. (If most of the flour is incorporated but you've still got some
in the bottom of the bowl, use a rubber spatula to work the rest of the flour
into the dough.) The dough will not clean the sides of the bowl, nor will it
come together in a ball -- and it shouldn't. You want to work the dough as
little as possible. What you're aiming for is a soft, moist, clumpy (rather than
smooth) dough. Pinch it, and it will feel a little like Play-Doh.

Scrape the dough out onto a smooth work surface, gather it into a ball and
divide it in half. Shape each piece into a smooth log about 9 inches long: it's
easiest to work on a piece of plastic wrap and use the plastic to help form the
log. Wrap the logs well and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours, preferably
longer. (The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen
for up to 2 months.)

GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Remove a log of dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it and place it on a piece
of parchment or wax paper. Whisk the remaining egg yolk until it is smooth, and
brush some of the yolk all over the sides of the dough -- this is the glue --
then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with decorating sugar.

Trim the ends of the roll if they're ragged, and slice the log into
1/3-inch-thick cookies. (You can make these as thick as 1/2 inch or as thin as
-- but no thinner than -- 1/4 inch.) Place the rounds on the baking sheets,
leaving an inch of space between them.

Bake one sheet at a time for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the
midway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be light brown on the
bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top; they may feel tender
when you touch the top gently, and that's fine. Remove from the oven and let the
cookies rest a minute or two before carefully lifting them onto a rack with a
wide metal spatula to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining log of dough, making sure the baking sheets are cool
before you bake the second batch.
STORING: The cookies will keep in a tin at room temperature for about 5 days. If
you do not sprinkle the sablés with sugar, they can be wrapped airtight and
frozen for up to 2 months. Because the sugar will melt in the freezer, the
decorated cookies are not suitable for freezing.
LEMON SABLÉS: Working in a small bowl, using your fingers, rub the grated zest
of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons (depending on your taste) into the granulated sugar until
the sugar is moist and very aromatic, then add this and the confectioners' sugar
to the beaten butter. (Sablés can also be made with orange or lime zest; vary
the amount of zest as you please.)

PECAN SABLÉS: Reduce the amount of flour to 1 1/2 cups, and add 1/2 cup very
finely ground pecans to the mixture after you have added the sugars. (In place
of pecans, you can use ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts.) If you'd like,
instead of sprinkling the dough logs with sugar, sprinkle them with very finely
chopped pecans or a mixture of pecans and sugar.

SPICE SABLÉS: Whisk 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg into the flour.

PARMESAN SABLÉS: For savory sablés that are ideal with aperitifs, omit both the
granulated and confectioners' sugar and add 3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) very finely
grated Parmesan to the beaten butter. These are fine plain, but the logs can
also be brushed with beaten egg yolk and sprinkled with finely chopped almonds.
If you love salt, press a few grains of fleur de sel gently into the top of each
sablé before slipping the baking sheet into the oven.

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