I was recently asked to show someone a cookie recipe that they could freeze and bake as needed. It needed to be easy and straightforward without taking too long to make. I wanted to provide a basic recipe that was easily adapted so that whatever flavour you fancied the recipe could still be used. I decided to go with sables the French “sandy” cookie, a wonderful buttery and crumbly little treat. You really can have endless variations, whether you want a sour cherry, cinnamon and pistachio or lemon poppy seed this recipe can be used as a base recipe. Of course you can just keep it simple and leave the sables plain, although there is nothing plain about them. I have made this recipe multiple times now but the pictures show my first couple of experiments and you can see an error. I was experimenting with flavours and splitting batches before adding the extras but inevitably this meant uneven amounts of ingredients and overmixed dough so some clearly were not the key texture so take it from me do not split batches and don’t mix past the sandy textured stage.
Sables – Dorie Greenspan – “Baking, From my home to yours”
226g / 2 Sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups plain flour
1. Using either a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, or a electric hand mixer beat the butter on medium until smooth and creamy but not enthusiastically that it becomes light and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat for around 1 minute or until well blended. The mixture should be smooth and velvety.
2. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the egg yolks until well combined. Turn the mixer off, add in all the flour and drape a kitchen towel over the to prevent flour going everywhere. Pulse the mixer on low speed for a second or two about 5. Check the dough, if there is still flour on the surface of the dough pulse a couple more times, if not remove the towel and continue mixing for around 30 seconds just until the flour is no longer visible and the dough is uniform in texture. Do not over mix, it should look clumpy and shouldn’t form a ball at this stage.
3. Tip the dough onto a smooth work surface and form into a ball. Divide into two and shape into logs 9 inches long and wrap in plastic wrap. Either refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days or freeze the logs for up to 2 months.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats
5. Slice the logs into 1/3 inch slices. Place the cookies on the baking sheets setting them an inch apart.
6. Bake one sheet at a time for around 17-20 minutes until light brown on the bottom and lightly golden around the edges and pale on top. They will still feel tender but will set as they cool. Remove from the oven and let cool a minute on the baking sheet before sliding the parchment onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Sour Cherry, Cinnamon and Pistachio
Add 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon with the flour and mix in 1/2 cup chopped sour cherries just before the dough reaches the right consistency. Once you have formed the logs roll them in chopped pistachios.
Lemon and Blueberry
Mix in the zest of 2 lemons and 1/2 cup chopped dried blueberries just before the dough reaches the right consistency.
Mix in the zest of two lemons and 1/3 cup of poppyseeds
Orange and Ginger
Mix in the zest of 2 oranges and 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger