Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sables (easy, delicious butter cookies)

I've always loved those butter cookies in the blue tin that you find around Christmas. I haven't, however, had much luck with shortbread in my hot kitchen. So when I read this recipe, I decided to go for it but wasn't expecting much. That said, I was so WOWED by these cookies! They were quick, easy, Christmas-y, delicious, buttery... pretty much everything you want in a holiday cookie. I made the original version but can't wait to try the orange and lemon flavors. And then the pecan version for my mom. Use a light hand and don't over think these- Dorie's directions are clear and simple and will get you a great result from a few simple, delicious ingredients. I love that.

This is one that will be on regular repeat in my kitchen (and since I know you'll love it and NYT already printed it, I'm including the recipe). This is the best slice and bake cookie I've ever made and I'm making them again soon. Thanks to Bungalow Barbara for an amazing choice- just in time for Christmas cookies. I probably never would have made this if not for TWD and I'm glad I did. My only regret is that I gave the rest away and now I will be looking at pictures of these all day without any to try!

Don't forget to enter my special Lemon Tart Giveaway!

Dorie Greenspan's Master Recipe for Sables
(use a Silpat for these cookies! And if you don't have one... Christmas is coming and they are cheap on ebay! Mine were cheaper when I bought two, which you'll want!)

from the NYT

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted before measuring
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt
2 large egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the decoration:
1 egg yolk
Crystal sugar

Working in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and very creamy. Add the sugars and salt and continue to beat until smooth and velvety, not fluffy and airy, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in 2 egg yolks, again beating until well blended.

Turn off the mixer, pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the mixer and pulse the mixer about 5 times at low speed for 1 or 2 seconds each time. Take a peek; if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of more times; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, stir for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough and the dough looks uniformly moist. If you still have some flour on the bottom of the bowl, stop mixing and use a rubber spatula to work the rest of it into the dough. (The dough will not 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 dough. When pinched, it should feel a little like Play-Doh.)

Scrape the dough onto a 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 chill them for at least 2 hours. The dough may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

When ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and keep it at the ready.

To decorate the edges of the sables, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Place one log of chilled dough on a piece of waxed paper and brush it with yolk (the glue), and then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with sugar. Trim the ends of the roll if they are ragged and slice the log into 1/3-inch-thick cookies.

Place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each cookie, and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top. Let the cookies rest 1 or 2 minutes before carefully lifting them onto a cooling rack with a wide metal spatula. Repeat with the remaining log of dough. (Make sure the sheet is cool before baking each batch.)

Variations:
Lemon Sables- Before mixing the butter and sugar together, pour the sugar in a bowl with the grated zest of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons. Work the zest and sugar together with your fingertips until the mixture is moist and aromatic, then cream it with the butter in the mixer.

Parmesan Sables- Replace sugars with 3/4 cup very finely grated Parmesan added to the beaten butter. A few grains of fleur de sel may be gently pressed into the top of each sable before the baking sheet is slipped into the oven.

26 comments:

Romaine said...

I love the Silpat and never thought about Ebay. Will check it out because it is on some Xmas lists.

Cookies are beautiful!

Nina said...

Anne, your sables look wonderful! They were a real hit here too. Can't wait to try the lemon version. Would die without my Silpats!

Aggie said...

I'm a big fan of those tin cookies too! These are cute and I would love to gift them to someone...hmmm...thanks for sharing the recipe!

Pamela said...

I've never been a big fan of the butter cookies in the tin, but these I loved. Thanks for the info on the Silpat. I've gotta check that out.

Jules Someone said...

These were lovely. I need to make mine thicker next time.

Amanda said...

Beautiful! We enjoyed them too :) I still need to get a silpat!

chocolatechic said...

These are just. so. fabulous.

They are will be the star of my Christmas.

LDH said...

I agree with Pamela ~ love the tin but not so much the cookies. These little cookies were very good!

Teanna said...

Gorgeous job! Your cookies came out perfectly!

Christina and Jacob said...

These cookies reminded me of those Christmas tins, too, especially when I smelled them. And they really were great little cookies. Yours look beautiful!

Tia said...

i want a silpat! i love your photos and your sabl├ęs are a perfect golden brown.

Susan said...

I keep thinking I need to get a Silpat. I may add it to my Christmas list! Your cookies look fabulous!

Bungalow Barbara said...

Thank you for baking along with me this week!

I love my Silpats, too. Glad you liked these cookies!

Engineer Baker said...

Definitely a go-to holiday cookie - yours look great!

Clivia said...

I just bought two silpats last week for my cookie baking blitz. I love them already. And I love these cookies!

TeaLady said...

Cookies look great. I enjoyed these - not real sweet, but very tasty.

Katrina said...

GREAT looking cookies! These became dangerous enough for me that I threw a bunch of them in the freezer (outta sight, outta mind.)

Jodie said...

Looks great!

Karen said...

I love those cookies in the tins also and my husband said these tasted like the ones in the tins too. :) Glad they turned out for you. I was peased as well.

Jess said...

Your sables look wonderful. These are my new favorites too.

Good tip on Silpat from eBay - I'll remember that!

J.Danger said...

those are my favorite cookies! The blue tin butter ones!

Leslie said...

You're right, they are perfectly buttery and so simple! I didn't use my Silpat but will next time. I bought mine at William-Sonoma...dumb!

mike said...

Silpat. A baker's best friend! These look great and I agree - the ultimate, easy holiday cookie, or any time of the year. Lemon.... HAVE to try that, have done orange and loved those as well. Beautiful cookies!

Free Samples said...

Wow, these look great! Prefect time for the holidays! Great work :P

Gabe's Girl said...

I love my Silpat. I only have one and use it over and over and over again. I also love sables. Awesome!

Simply Life said...

oh these look so perfect!