I love baking. Love the process of mixing soft butter with sugar and adding the finishing touches with egg yolks and sifted flour. Truth is I have always liked it but never was passionate or consistent enough to pursue this hobby and at least bake occasionally. This said, here am I, writing this first post. Have just eaten sandwich aka my boyfriend style – pan fry bread, add cheese so it melts and throw everything you can find in the fridge on top. Simple guilty pleasure. But working all the time for me. On the side Agatha Christie Poirot episode. I guess I’m a fan by binge-watching all the seasons available out there.
Anyways, here we are with these amazing buttery and super simple vanilla sablé. They are an amazing treat to have after dinner, for a snack or just because there is always a time for a good cookie. And this one is definitely one of them.
Sablé is french cookie back from 1670. It was originally created in Sablé-sur-Sarthe. It a classic shortbread cookie and you can take this vanilla version as a base and develop it further by adding other flavours. Another interesting way of using it is as a cheesecake crust. Haven’t done it myself but definitely going to as now I have access to all this amazing cream cheese I can find in New York.
The recipe I’ve borrowed from Alexandra’s Kitchen. My only adjustment was to use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean. What can I say? I wish I’ve used a vanilla bean as I just love to get that black and super flavourful paste but I just couldn’t find any and the need for fresh cookies was desperate enough to switch vanilla bean to the extract. I don’t regret it and trust me neither will you.
If you’re a beginner baker as I am I really suggest you firstly bake three or four cookies to see how your oven is working and how much time exactly you need. You will need to rotate the pan halfway through baking time, therefore you can start with 8 min, rotate the pan and bake for another 8 min. For me, it worked perfectly. The total baking time around 16 min. The right cookie should be brown around the edges and lightly gold at the bottom.
I also haven’t used any mixer here just so that I can get used to not having one and also as I strongly believe this can help you to understand the baking process better. You simply feel everything deeper and this can’t go wrong. This said I still have a bit overmixed the dough after adding flour. The thing is that you have to stop mixing when you see that dough is like sand, flour is almost fully incorporated but still not fully. I think I have gone a bit too far at this stage and this is a crucial part as if you overmix the final texture won’t be as airy as an ideal sablé should have.
This recipe is really easy and you need just 6 ingredients, the only thing you should really have is patience. Why? Because before actually baking cookies you need to prepare the dough and let it rest in the fridge for at least three hours and it’s really better to leave it overnight. Therefore if you’re a weeknight baker as I am you can simply prepare the dough the day before and then bake it on the next day. Another patience check is waiting time for cookies to cool firstly on the pan, around 15 min and then transfer them on a cooling rack and let them cool down completely to room temperature.
You see? It’s all about being patient, but that’s maybe the secret why baking is some kind of relaxing therapy? Without any more words. here is the recipe. Enjoy the process and hope you like these beautiful buttery cookies as, after all, is there anything better than butter?
Vanilla Sablé Cookies
This might be a new favorite recipe of mine for French classics - simple shortbread sablé cookies with the hint of pure vanilla. They are easy to make, and you would need only seven ingredients. Being so delicious it’s a perfect treat to enjoy with afternoon tea or a cup of coffee in the morning.Ingredients:
- 1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 to 2 vanilla beans, pulp removed from the pod)
- 2 sticks (8 ounces; 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups (272 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk (or the white saved from the egg used in the dough)
- sanding sugar or granulated
- Mix the sugar with vanilla extract or vanilla pulp from beans. You can either use mixer or spatula.
- Gradually add soft butter, salt and sifted confectioners’ sugar every time making sure it mixes fully. In the end, you should get a creamy texture. Avoid overmixing the batter as you’re going for an airy consistency of a cookie and overmixing can make it really hard. Then add egg yolk and mix again. Flour is added all at once in the final stage. Here it’s really important to incorporate the flour fully but stop mixing when your batter looks like sand.
- Transform the dough on the surface and divide into two same portions. You should then form them into a log like a stolen about 9 inches long. Wrap both of them into plastic film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or better overnight).
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Brush each log with the mixture of a splash of cold water and egg yolk (or reserved white). Coat both logs with sugar to form a beautiful crust. Using a knife, cut the dough into 1/2-2cm thick rounds. Place cookies on the baking tray making sure they are separated from each other about 5cm apart.
- Bake cookies around 16-20 min, rotating the pan halfway. I’ve used the first four cookies as a trial and baked them for first 8 min, then rotating the pan and baking for another 8 min. You’re looking for a cookie with brown edges and a light golden bottom.
- Let the baked cookies firstly to rest for 15 min on the baking tray and after transferring them to a cooling rack so that they can fully cool down to room temperature. The more resting time they have the better the final texture will be.