I know what you're thinking. Wouldn't it be lovely if all we had to do to rid the world of conflict and bring peace was to bake a few batches of top-notch cookies.
Israel and Palestine…..fixed.
Russia and Ukraine…..done.
Syria's civil war………a thing of the past.
Lannisters v. Tyrells……..just make sure there's enough cold milk to go around (it turns out drinking wine in Westeros can prove fatal….poor Joffrey).
It seems silly to ponder a world where a single sweet confection could turn the tides of conflict and put us on a path to world peace, but if any treat could, then it would surely be these masterful cookies.
These chocolate sablés are the work of world famous French pastry chef Pierre Hermé and his long-time friend and part time Parisienne, Dorie Greenspan. This is not a new recipe, in fact I probably first saw it on-line 2-3 years ago and remember thinking; World Peace…….yeah, I could get behind that….I should make me some of these suckers.
Alas, as was the case with Midge's Burnt Caramel Pudding that I made a few weeks back, this recipe has been gathering dust in my ever growing file of recipes to try. A crying shame really, because these sandy (hence the name sablé), deeply chocolaty, pleasantly sweet, and slightly salty cookies are the BOMB! Knowing both Hermé and Greenspan (by reputation) I expected no less, but even still these cookies are shockingly good for something so simple to make.
Aside from their killer taste, what I like most about these cookies is that they are cut and bake, and therefor the perfect snack to make ahead of time, freeze until you need them, and then cut individual cookies and bake to order.
A friendly word of advice.
Cut and bake only what you need for a given situation because I promise you that once you've tasted these you'll snarf down any leftovers as easy as breathing. You've been warned!
Cheers – Steve
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Valhrona)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cups (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt, or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup of store-bought "mini" bittersweet chips (I used Girardelli mini chips)
- Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.
- Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the mixing bowl to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer on low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek - if there is still a lot of flour of the surface of the dough, pulse a few 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 - for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don't be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you've frozen the dough, you needn't defrost before baking - just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer. I find them much easier to cut when thawed, so if you have the time pull them from the freezer at least 30 minutes before baking.)
- Center a rack in the oven and heat to 325℉. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them - especially if cutting from frozen - don't be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about an inch between them.
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes - they won't look done, nor will the be firm, but that's just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature before storing.