chocolate sables

I have an early Valentine’s Day present for you:  meet the chocolate sable.  Sables (pronounced sab-lay) are French style shortbread cookies, often made with the addition of egg yolk.  Sable translates into sand in English, which leaves most of us wondering how such a delicious cookie came to be cursed with such a distinctly unappetizing name.  I can only hope that native French speakers don’t have the same mouth full of sand association we Anglophones have here.  (I’m thinking sandwiches on a windy day at the beach, and it’s not pretty.)

Unlike its name, this recipe is a gem: melt-in your mouth tender, buttery, sugar-crusted, chocolate bliss.  It’s taken from one of the most well-worn and loved cookbooks in my kitchen, Sunday Suppers at Luques by Suzanne Goin, and comes together in no time at all, leaving you plenty of time to break out the paper doilies and assemble some valentines… 

Other V-Day treats from the archives: chocolate pots de creme, clafoutis, homemade marshmallows (I would keep the pink, but maybe skip the peppermint for V-Day), a very easy strawberry tart if you can find any good strawberries, this panna cotta (try it with some frozen raspberries warmed with a little sugar), or the chocolate divine:


Suzanne Goin’s Chocolate Sables

  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Granulated sugar for rolling

Sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt.  Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg yolk and beat well.  Add the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms, scraping down the edges of the bowl as you go. 

Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface and pull it together using your hands.  Sprinkle the work surface generously with granulated sugar and place the mound of dough in the sugar.  Roll into a log approximately 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until cold – about 1 hour.  (The dough can hold refrigerated up to two weeks – slice and bake whenever you are ready.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silpats.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and slice into discs approximated ¼ inch thick using a sharp knife.  Place the cookies on the prepared pans – 12 to 15 on each.  Bake until set, 10-12 minutes.