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- Dish type
- Biscuits and cookies
Light and crumbly biscuits, gentle in flavour and ideal for afternoon tea, special picnics or as the occasional lunchbox treat!
27 people made this
- 200g plain flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 120g butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon water
MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:12min ›Extra time:15min chilling › Ready in:37min
- Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Place the flour and salt in a bowl then cut in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar and mix well to incorporate.
- Combine the vanilla extract and 3 of the egg yolks and beat lightly before adding to the flour mixture. With your hands, bring the mixture together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film then place in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a 5mm thickness and cut into biscuits using your favourite biscuit cutters. Arrange on the prepared baking tray.
- Mix the remaining yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and brush each biscuit. Allow to dry then brush again.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(6)
Breton sablé biscuit dough
Brittany is famous for its rich, sandy textured "sablé" biscuits. Similar to shortbread, they are made with lots of butter and egg yolk, and just a hint of vanilla.
This dough can be made into simple biscuits – already delicious on their own – or used as the base for tarts and other desserts.
Last modified on: August 1 st 2018
Cooking notes :
- Do not over-knead the dough or the sablés will be tough.
- Keep on eye on the oven while you bake the sablés, as they have to remain quite pale in color (much paler than the Breton sablés, for instance) and can turn too golden very quickly. If too baked and golden, they will be tough and end up difficult to eat with the jam in the middle (they will crumble and the sandwich gets messy).
- Lunettes de Romans are traditionally made with Rasberry jam. I love to use Bonne Maman jams (no ads, I just love their jams!). But you can opt for the jam of your choosing: strawberry, blueberry, apricot, orange marmalade…or even lemon curd, caramel or hazelnut spread.
- I even prefer these Lunettes the next day. The Sablé cookie is a little bit more tender (from the moisture of the jam), the jam is less runny (it gets a bit stickier the next day) and the sandwiches are better sealed together – they are less messy and more even enjoyable to eat.
These are a good tea cookie. They are dry and crumbly - so NOT for people who like moist cookies. I was surprised to see baking powder in a sables recipe, but it makes these cookies a little less dense than traditional sables. Toasting the walnuts AFTER they are chopped really brings out the walnut flavor. The second time I made this recipe I left off the raw sugar and drizzled the cookies after they had cooled with melted chocolate - which I thought much improved the taste. Chocolate is such a good compliment to walnuts. I'm a reasonably patient cook, but don't enjoy fussing with cookie cutters, so I rolled these out in a slab and cut them into small diamonds.
So, if I substituted granulated sugar for confectioner's sugar in this recipe, would it be a one-to-one substitution? I cannot stand the cornstarch flavor and texture in confectioner's sugar.
These are very good cookies. The oven temperature in the recipe is 325 F and it works just fine!
I make these cookies every year and they are very good. It's a quick, easy, yet elegant addition to christmas baking.
These were just OK. The oven temp is way to high for a rolled cookie. The first tray was too brown on the bottom while the tops were still pale. I lowered it to 350 with better results but the taste was average at best. If you want a much better nut cookie try the mexican wedding cakes on this site. They are out of this world!
These were great and easy to do.
I made these exactly to the recipe. They were delicious!! I did shorten the baking time a little. Just watch closely.
Yves Camdeborde’s Sablés (Butter Cookies) Recipe
Menu Fretin is a young French independent publishing house that specializes in culinary books*. Considering the teeny size of the organization, and how crazily difficult it is for an indie to carve a space for itself among the Goliaths of publishing, its book list is impressive, featuring daring projects that straddle the old and the new.
This, to me, is the perfect sablé: a crisp-then-crumbly cookie that tastes of vanilla and butter, with a touch of salt and a caramel undertone.
Menu Fretin has published such historical gems as an augmented edition of Alexandre Dumas’ Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, a biography of Grimod de la Reynière and other assorted texts of nineteenth-century food writing, but also new works by contemporary chefs Olivier Nasti in Kaysersberg, Juliette and Jean-Marie Baudic in Saint-Brieuc, or the twenty-six expatriated French chefs gathered in a collective called Village de chefs.
Late last year, three titles were added as part of a new collection called Menu Festin (small feast). [Update: the 11 slim volumes of the collection have now been reissued as a single book.] For each of these little books, the clever concept is to have a chef come up with a five-course menu (appetizer, first course, main course, dessert, mignardise or pre-dessert) around a particular theme, then lay out the full cooking timeline throughout the book, with a countdown from the first prep steps to the time of serving. Step-by-step pictures and check lists of tasks and ingredients round out the cook’s game plan.
One of these books is called Dimanche en famille and is authored by Yves Camdeborde, the famous Béarnais chef who’s often credited for fathering the neo-bistro trend in Paris, where he now runs the über-popular Comptoir du Relais and the hotel it’s attached to.
As the title of the book suggests, Camdeborde’s menu is for a Sunday family meal, unfolding as follows: his grandmother’s gougères (cheese puffs) as an appetizer, then a beef consommé (or broth) with foie gras ravioli, a salt-crusted chicken with chanterelles and pasta, an Armagnac-soaked savarin (a yeast-raised cake) with apricot marmalade and whipped cream, and some vanilla sablés (sandy butter cookies).
I find the entire menu appealing in a traditional way that evokes a family other than my own, a big old house somewhere south, and a table in a garden under a cherry tree. I probably wouldn’t serve it all in one go because it sounds like a lot of food, even for a Sunday, but I love that each dish helps you learn one or several techniques, and Camdeborde is generous with his tips and explanations.
The first recipe I tried is the one for sablés, as emphatically recommended by Laurent Seminel, who runs the publishing house.
Butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, salt: it looks like a classic recipe for sablés diamant (butter cookies rimmed with sugar), and it uses my preferred technique of slice-and-baking the log of cookie dough. But what makes it exceptionally successful, I think, is that it calls for a low-temperature oven (150°C or 300°F). This allows the sablés to bake gently and evenly, without coloring, while the sugar coating around the sides has time to form a caramelized crust.
And what you get is, to me, the perfect sablé: a crisp-then-crumbly cookie that tastes of vanilla and butter, with a touch of salt and a caramel undertone.
It is a treat on its own, but it works well with fruit salads and ice cream, too. We’ve been savoring this latest batch with my chocolate frozen yogurt), before I was inspired to turn the last few into miniature tartlets, with a smear of crème fraîche and a cluster of wild strawberries on top.
The recipe makes a big batch — the book says it yields eighteen cookies, but mine were bite-size and I got about fifty — so half of the dough may be frozen for on-demand sablés on a later date.
Want more sablé recipes? Take a look at these:
* In French, the expression menu fretin means things or people of little importance it is the exact equivalent of the English expression “small fry”. The adjective menu(e) means small, and fretin is the small fish that fishermen throw back into the water because they’re not worth the trouble.
French Butter Cookies (Sable Breton)
Because trust me, friends, these French butter cookies will have you reaffirming just how much you love butter in your baked goods. There simply is no replacement for some good ol’ fashioned butter.
The French know this. They revere it, in fact.
While most of us balance our meals with healthy fats like olive oil and avocados, they’re celebrating butter in all its glory.
Softened, melted, clarified, salted – you name it, they cherish it.
These French butter cookies, also known as sablés in French, are possibly the most widely enjoyed cookie in France.
They’re what chocolate chip cookies are to Americans.
You’ll find these French butter cookies in almost every grocery store in France. The really special ones are found in more upscale markets like La Grande Epicerie in Paris.
I first heard about them when my best friend’s French fiancé told me about a brand called La Mère Poulard.
They are famous for their buttery sablés, tantalizing shortbread cookies that melt in your mouth just as easily as they crumble between your fingertips.
While you can find the La Mère Poulard brand and these French butter cookies everywhere in France, they’re actually a specialty of Northern France.
They’re specifically from the Brittany region (which is where the Breton part of the name comes in). The region is famous for its excessive use of butter, particularly salted butter.
This is the one time I actually stock up on salted baking butter. While I buy spreadable salted butter every now and then for my morning toast, I rarely ever bake with salted butter.
Making these French butter cookies are the exception.
To create these cookies, it’s best if you can use a European, salted variety of butter for its premium quality. The butter is the star here, after all.
While using a generic salted butter brand won’t kill the recipe, why not let the star ingredient shine like it’s supposed to? That’s why I stand by saying it’s best not to skimp on quality here with this ingredient.
Other than the fancy butter, the rest of the ingredients are pantry ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Ingredients like all-purpose flour, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. It’s not a long ingredient list, but that doesn’t mean that these cookies make any less of an impact.
I also love these French butter cookies because they’re a cinch to whip up.
You don’t have to refrigerate the dough, and they bake in 12 to 15 minutes. So many cookie recipes these day instruct you to refrigerate the dough overnight for best flavor and texture, but these French butter cookies don’t require any of that kind of patience.
You can create the cookie dough and roll it out in under 15 minutes and then bake it in 15 minutes or less, making these a 30-minute project.
In fact, I tend to bake just a handful of them and freeze the rest for random cravings through the following weeks. Not only does it make for quick and easy cookies later, but it’s a great way to keep yourself from eating a whole dozen straight out of the oven!
As these cookies bake, they will crisp up nicely in the oven. Yet, the wonderful thing about them is that they will also instantaneously melt in your mouth (thank you, butter!).
I love having a couple of these cookies with an afternoon cup of tea or espresso.
All of my family and friends love when I bring out a tray of these delicious French butter cookies, especially when they know these taste as good as they look.
To create the cross-hatching pattern on top of the cookies, all you have to do is drag a fork down one way on the cookies, then drag them across in the opposite direction.
A brushing of a single egg yolk on top gives these cookies their glorious golden hue, making them look appetizing and radiant – the way these cookies truly are.
These French cookies are such a delight it’s no wonder the French love these so much!
How to achieve more layers
I made these biscuits a little smaller than most would. The secret to a big, tall biscuit: more dough rolled out thick. But besides the height of the biscuit, there's another important technique to keep in mind when making biscuits: rolling and folding, which is what you do to make flaky homemade croissants and puff pastry.
Rolling and folding the dough works the proteins in the flour more which builds up a little gluten and adds structure to biscuits. Folding ensures that your biscuits will have lots of flat layers of butter tucked between the dough. Those butter layers will open up the crumb of the biscuit and add physical layers.
French Sable Cookie
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 3 H, 30 M
- Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Special Equipment: 2-inch baking rings (may substitute 2-inch round cookie cutters and muffin tins)
Ingredients US Metric
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz), diced, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- Sanding sugar, for decorating
With a mixer on low speed, beat the butter, sugars, and salt together for 5 minutes, until smooth. Beat in the yolks, then the vanilla. Scrape the bowl and add the flour all at once. Mix only until the flour is incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, flatten into disks on a lightly floured surface, and place each between sheets of parchment or wax paper. Roll the dough 1/4 inch thick. [Editor’s Note: Just like in the story of Goldilocks, you want the dough to be not too thin and not too thick but just right at 1/4 inch thick. Trust us.] Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for at least 1 hour.
Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
If using 2-inch baking rings, cut out the first batch of cookies and, using an offset spatula, gently transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If using 2-inch cookie cutters, cut out the first batch of cookies and, using an offset spatula, gently transfer the cookies to muffin tins to help the cookies retain their perfect shape during baking.
Sprinkle the cookies with sanding sugar and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown on their bottoms and around their edges. Cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet or in the muffin tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Continue cutting and baking, always using a cool baking sheet as you gather the scraps of dough, roll, chill, cut, and bake. We think you can take it from here. Find information on storing your cookies here.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
“These cookies are CRAZY good!” were the exact words of my six-year-old daughter. These were buttery, crisp, and absolutely perfect. I can’t say enough happy things about these cookies. These sable cookies are out of this world good and quite possibly at the top of my favorite cookie list. The only thing that I’d do differently next time is double the recipe! I also thought that the instruction to bake the cookies in muffin tins weren't necessary. I made two batches and found that the cookies maintained their shape without use of the muffin tin. Following the directions for the thickness when rolling out the dough is key. I rolled one batch to about 1/8 inch thick and the resulting cookies proved to be too thin (although I had no trouble eating those anyway.) The sanding sugar adds the perfect amount of crunch.
What brioche is to plain white bread, this French Sable Cookie is to the standard sugar cookie. These are incredibly buttery and rich with just the right amount of sweetness. The sable is a little like shortbread with the delicateness of pie crust. I used a 12-cup muffin pan to bake my sables. I began cutting out parchment paper circles and realized that would be an exercise in frustration. I decided to use cupcake liners instead. Using the cupcake liners in the muffin pan ensured a perfectly round, 2-inch diameter cookie that was easy to remove from the pan once baked. Even though I overbaked my first batch, they still tasted fantastic. Note that using colored paper liners may cause some smoking. However, there was no impact on the flavor of the cookie. In the future I'll use unbleached paper or silicon liners. My first batch was closer to 1/8 inch thick and only took 10 minutes to bake. I watched the remaining batches closely to get the golden color I wanted. Because the cookies were in the paper liners, I could remove them from the muffin tin immediately after they came out of the oven. The muffin tin does get a bit greasy every other batch, so I wiped it out with a paper towel in between batches.
I loved these. This is a simple, easy-to-prepare, anyone-can-do-it sugar sable cookie recipe. It was really easy to follow, more so than some similar cookie recipes. My only question was whether to beat the yolks before incorporating or just add them, as they are. I opted for the latter option and it was fine. These cookies had the right balance of chewy and soft, had a nice flavor, and were appropriately crunchy on the outside. The sanding sugar is MUST for these, or else you lose a bit of the sweetness I think these cookies need. My only suggestion is I wonder if you could make these with pure vanilla rather than extract. The vanilla flavor may be more intense, and I always like the little dots of a pure vanilla bean.
These are some of the best sable cookies I've ever made. They're visually stunning. They aren't too sweet. The butter flavor stands out. But the texture is really the star of the show. These sugar cookies have the wonderful crumbly, sandy texture of a good shortbread cookie. I forgot my dough in the freezer until it was frozen solid, so I let it rest on the counter for a few minutes to soften and it worked just fine. I didn't chill my scraps after re-rolling them and that worked just fine. The dough was very easy to work with, both before and after chilling. I rolled the dough 1/4 inch thick, as directed. (I even measured it with a ruler.) My cookies were done, and maybe a tiny bit overdone, after 9 minutes, not 18. I baked half of the batch in muffin tins, as instructed. I baked the other half on a parchment-covered baking sheet to see if they'd hold their shape. They weren’t quite as uniform as the muffin tin cookies, and their edges flattened a bit and browned more than the cookies in the muffin tins, but the difference was very slight. They're especially good as soon as they cool. They soften just a bit when stored, but they're still one of the best butter cookies I've ever made
This cookie recipe has the soft, crumbly texture and buttery goodness that a sable should have. I used a 2-inch fluted cutter and the cookies fit perfectly in my standard-size muffin pans. The dough is very easy to prepare and can be made in a standing mixer in a matter of minutes. I usually make sables by forming logs, chilling them, and then slicing them into rounds. I very much preferred this method. Cutting the cookies out of rolled dough created a much more perfect shape that held up very well during the baking process, thanks to the suggestion of muffin pans as a substitute for baking rings. I was pleasantly surprised that the cookies released quite easily from the muffin pans (due, I believe, to the dough's high butter content). This cookie recipe is definitely a keeper.
I have to admit, I was skeptical when I couldn't locate baking rings at my local cooking stores and had to resort to placing my dough in a muffin tin. But these sable cookies are truly lovely, tasty treats that even non-dessert folks will enjoy. I placed my dough in the freezer for just under an hour. A quick note for other newbies: my metal 1/4 cup measuring cup worked as the perfect-size cookie cutter. Baking time was 20 minutes.
This cookie has a simple set of ingredients yet results in a sophisticated and delicious cookie that's crisp and buttery. It would be an excellent addition to a holiday cookie plate because it balances out all of the fancy decorated cookies yet can hold its own when it comes to taste. While the process for making the cookies seems a bit fussy, the alternative methods resulted in the same cookie and the same buttery goodness. In fact, I like the alternative methods for this sable better than the method where you form the dough into a log, chill it, and slice it. That approach is super easy, but I always end up with a round-ish cookie with one flat side. I think the baking rings method in this recipe is meant to reduce this look, but unless you expect absolutely perfect circle cookies, it isn't worth the fuss or going out and buying several baking rings. What's key to maintaining the circle shape is to cut the cookie dough when it is very cold and that's why I preferred chilling the dough in the freezer for an hour. I baked cookies that were 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches in diameter. That shortened the baking time to 12 to 15 minutes. Make sure to turn your pan around about halfway through the baking time. I made some of the cookies without the sanding sugar and they were delicious and still sweet. The sanding sugar adds a little specialness to the cookie, but it's by no means necessary.
Alternative method 1 (cookie cutter+ muffin pan): It was suggested to use a regular cookie cutter to make the cookies and then put the cookie in the bottom of a muffin pan to maintain the circle shape and this method worked just fine. Still kind of fussy to me, but it does work and you don't need a bunch of baking rings. I lightly buttered the bottom of each muffin cup and didn't have any issue with sticking. This worked with a 2-inch biscuit cutter and the cookies fit perfectly in my muffin pans. I suggest checking to make sure the cookie cutter size does fit in the bottom of the muffin pan first since I had another muffin pan I didn't use since it had a smaller base than the others.
Alternative method 2 (cookie cutter+sheet pan): I tried a typical approach for rolled cookies and just ended up putting the cookies on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Because the dough I used was very cold, it easily held its round shape even in transitioning it from the cookie cutter to the pan. For the scraps, I rolled them back out into a 1/4 inch thickness and popped them back in the freezer. The cookies didn't really spread out and kept their round shape. Granted, they didn't have the perfectly perpendicular straight sides that the cookies would have with a baking ring, but none of my tasters complained or even noticed. This was the easiest method for making these cookies and the one that I'll continue to use.
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Chocolate Sable Cookies
The first time I tasted chocolate sable cookies, I wasn’t actually in France, but in Miette’s Bakery in San Francisco. It was love at first bite, and let me tell you why. I’m usually not dying over “regular” butter cookies because, although I find them nice next to my morning coffee, they don’t blow my mind. These cookies, though, are quite tender with an intense salty chocolate taste throughout. The flavor is a knock out!
Fast forward a few years and 30 cookies later (tasting them from more amazing places such as Balthazar and Pierre Herme), and I’ve finally made these cookies at home. My friend was asking me the other day why don’t I ever make butter cookies so she has something to snack on alongside the coffee, and every time someone asks me why I don’t ever make something, the next morning I will. Get what I mean?
Sable means sandy in French, which is a perfect description of this cookie’s crumbly yet delicate texture. The less you work with the dough, the more tender and delicate the cookies will be. They are basically shortbread cookies with a deep, intense chocolate flavor – the absolute best part of this recipe. Not only is cocoa added, but also grated chocolate. These cookies are not too sweet. In fact, you can feel the saltiness in every bite, which enhances the chocolate’s bitterness and flavor. Good quality chocolate, about 70% cocoa, will work best here. Baked chocolate goods are all about the chocolate. I didn’t want to believe it for quite some time, being the simple girl that I am, but it honestly does make a difference.
These cookies are very simple to make. The only thing that takes some time here is grating the 100g of chocolate. As I’ve already mentioned, though, this what gives the cookies a unique chocolaty taste, so don’t despair it really isn’t that bad at all. Still, if you’re really not up to it, there’s also the option of cutting the chocolate into very small pieces, like mini chocolate chips.
Now, a word about the salt: I won’t dive into why sea salt is better in this case than other varieties, such as table salt, but I will say that sea salt kind of has a “cleaner” and “sweeter” taste that better compliments baked goods. You can use either 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon of ‘fleur de sel’, which is a flaky sea salt that’s considered to be of high quality.
There are 2 options to shape the cookies. The first one is mentioned in the recipe: shape the dough into a log, refrigerate, then slice into rounds (imagine slicing bread). I find this process to be the easiest. The second option is to roll out the dough on a floured surface until it’s 1/2-inch thick, then cut the dough into squares using a knife (or use a cookie cutter to cut any shape you like). If you shape the cookies to a different size than what’s mentioned in the recipe, make sure to adjust the baking time accordingly. My cookies were about 1-1.5 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch thick, and they were ready in 10 minutes. If over baked, they will lose their tenderness.
This recipe is adapted mostly from Miette’s recipe, but also from Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan’s, the latter of which uses more butter and sugar and doesn’t grate the chocolate. They actually refer to these cookies as ‘world peace cookies’ and I can totally get why.
Notes about this recipe
Where’s the full recipe - why can I only see the ingredients?
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