It’s often the most simple of recipes that leave the greatest impression. Sure a three tiered layer cake, crisp coated crème brulee or decadent chocolate soufflé can be great – but it’s the most unpretentious of foods that I often find myself craving. And when these cravings kick in, it’s my great cookie love, the sable, I turn to.
This recipe has been slightly adapted from the Chocolate Desserts cookbook by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenspan. Dubbed the ‘picasso of pastry’, Pierre Herme basically re-invented the classic sable whilst working at the infamous patisserie, Wittamer – known for its exquisite chocolate creations, decadent gateaux’s and bavarian creams. And it’s Herme’s recipe that I only ever trust to use.
Pierre Herme’s Viennese Chocolate Sables are utterly delicious. The dough is comprised of egg white, butter, flour, sugar and cocoa, which results in a light and crumbly shortbread texture – almost like sand, which the word Sable is derived from.
The texture is sensational and the rich chocolate flavour, highly addictive. Light as air to the core, the ultra-delicate Sable bursts into fine crumbs in a mouthful and brings the rich sensation of dark cocoa and the powerful velvet taste of butter to the palette. It’s hard to beat the purity and simplicity of these cookies, they are incredibly moorish.
These Sables are the everyday dessert, perfect for afternoon snacks and evening treats and truly take me to a cookie filled heaven. You most likely would have all the ingredients on hand, so I urge you to whip up a batch and experience them yourself. It’s incredible that such a simple recipe can yield something so utterly delicious.
- 30g dutch processed cocoa, sifted
- 260g plain flour, sifted
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 250g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
- 3 tbsp egg whites
- sprinkle of fleur de sel
- 250g white chocolate, melted
- 250g dark chocolate, melted
- chopped, flaked or slivered nuts or almond nougatine (see below for recipe link) for decoration
- For the Sables, preheat the oven to 180 C (350F) and line two baking sheets lined with baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sifted cocoa, sifted flour and salt.
- In a separate mixing bowl place the softened butter and beat until it is light in colour and creamy. Add the sifted icing sugar and mix until well combined and pale in colour. Add the egg whites and combine well.
- Add the cocoa and flour mixture to the butter. Mix until incorporated
- Fit a piping bag with a 1M nozzle and spoon the mixture inside. Pipe the mixture into 'W' shaped squiggles onto the baking sheets.
- Bake the Sables for 10 minutes, rotating trays half way through baking. The cookies will slightly harden upon standing and will be very delicate. Sprinkle with a little fleur de sel and leave to cool on baking sheets.
- To decorate, dip in melted chocolate then sprinkle with nuts or almond nougatine. Leave to dry on baking paper.
*I used the recipe for Fanny Zannoti’s Spicy Almond Nougatine to coat a third of my Sables in – I lightly blitzed the nougatine in a food processor to get a rough and crunchy crumb.