Sweet and Crumbly Sables: a Grown Up Sugar Cookies for the Entire Family

My kids are suckers for sugar cookies in pretty shapes. We buy them, we make them, but they don’t give me the same thrill as my children. When it comes to sugar cookies, my heart belongs to the French sugar cookie: le Sablé (pron: sablay). Sable is the French word for sand, a reference to the tiny buttery crumbs that fill your mouth from your first bite of a sablé. Sablés cookies are crumbly, buttery, and have the perfect balance of sweet and salty.

Think of it as a grown up sugar cookie.

sweet and crumbly sablesTheir taste may appeal to adult cookie lovers, but there’s nothing wrong with making a sablé cookie pretty. Traditional sablés are round, but you can cut up your sablés into hearts, bears, or people. Drizzle them with sparkly pink and red sugars, or whatever color suits your fancy. But get ready for that first bite. These cookies are much more than a pretty face.

I sanded these sables with a pink Himalayan salt and vanilla sugar. Sweet and salty!
I sanded these sables with a pink Himalayan salt and vanilla sugar. Sweet and salty!

The quality of your butter and all the other ingredients will make a big difference in recipes like these. This is the time to buy a fancier butter than the generic supermarket brand. I love Le President butter but the price tag here in the States is often a little brutal. I usually buy Kerrygold Irish butter blocks. You can buy them in huge chunks at Costco and in smaller but equally competitively priced portions at Trader Joe’s. When all else fails, I buy Plugra butter, but I find it has a lot less taste. I could go on and on about butter. I go through embarrassing quantities every week. You won’t be wasting European butter by baking, you’ll be celebrating it and elevating it with every bite of these yummy sablés.

The longer you cream your butter and sugar, the better your cookie will be.
The longer you cream your butter and sugar, the better your cookie will be.
Sweet and Crumbly Sables: a Grown Up Sugar Cookies for the Entire Family
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: makes 3 dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (5oz)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Egg wash:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons water
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl mix the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Now mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. This will be a crumblier dough than a chocolate chip cookie dough. Don't overwork it. The dough should feel moist, but lumpy. Lump it together with your hands into a rough ball.
  4. On a silpat, cut the dough ball into two halves. Place each half on top of a large piece of plastic wrap. Roll each half into a log of 1.5 inches in diameter, using the plastic to help you shape as needed. Wrap the plastic around the log and refrigerate for two to three hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare the egg wash by beating together the egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of water.
  6. Brush the first log with the egg wash and sprinkle liberally with sugar all over. Cut each log into ¼ inch thick disks. Using a fork, make little patterns into the edge of each disk.
  7. Line the cookies on a silpat with at least an inch of space between them. If you'd like to break with tradition and make these cookies more decorated, brush them with a second egg wash made from egg white and water and drizzle colored sugars on top. If colored sugars is not the look you're striving for, drizzle with granulated sugar. The sugar topping will add to the crunch and mouthfeel of the cookies.
  8. Bake on a silpat lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned around the edges.
  9. Cool the sables for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
Variation:

Replace the vanilla extract with 3 teaspoons of lemon zest for Lemon Sables.

Replace the vanilla extract with almond or coconut extract.

3 Responses to Sweet and Crumbly Sables: a Grown Up Sugar Cookies for the Entire Family

  1. thanks for the information on the sablè cookies..I had one this past week as an amuse bouche at the mandarin oriental in las vegas and wrote down what it was but wanted more information so I googled and found your link! very helpful and I linked it with the explanation of the cookie..hope that is okay! thanks! the favor we had was almond ginger btw! my post should be up soon with it! thanks

    • Thanks for the link Lesley! Glad you enjoyed the recipe. We just got back from the Mandarin Oriental in NYC. So nice to be pampered.

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