Monday, March 1, 2010

Winter Recipe Series: French Butter Cookies (Sables)

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I think I've mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of America's Test Kitchen.  I don't always get to watch it Saturdays on PBS, but I have a few of the cookbooks (got a new one for Valentine's Day!), and a couple of weekends ago, I happened to catch them making these:

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Delicious, delicious butter cookies (or in French, "sables"...if you want to sound fancy).  Can't really go wrong with LOTS of butter, right?  They remind me of the kind that come in a tin, except I didn't make any that are pretzel shaped....

Anyway, I wanted to try my hand, and was actually surpised at how fun they were to make.  I was thinking they may be a little tricky, but overall very do-able.  I decided to make them for company a couple weeks ago.

The recipe called for Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw), which I easily found at Trader Joe's, along with the unbleached flour.  Since my mixer is broken, and I don't have a stand mixer, I turned to my food pocessor, which actually worked really well.

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Then I split the dough into two sections, rolled it with my hands until it was a couple inches thick and about 6 inches in length and then wrapped them both in parchment to chill.

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Then I made a batch of chocolate ones, because I wanted to try the swirl.  The recipe is slightly different for the chocolate (less flour because of the cocoa), but the process was the same.

Then, I followed the instructions for the swirled cookies and rolled out one of the plain sections along with one of the chocolate sections, layered them, and rolled them back up to chill (this picture is disappointing because there's a little piece of chocolate dough on top and it looks a little like a raising or something gross...but it's not, promise!).

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After a couple of hours, I took all three rolls out (one plain, one chocolate, and one combined) and cut them into 1/4 inch slices, brushed them with the egg white mixture and then sprinkled them with the turbinado sugar.

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I baked them on parchment paper (according to the recipe) and they really turned out perfectly.  The one thing I love about America's Test Kitchen is they test something 100s of times to get it just right...and this one did not disappoint.

They were delish...everyone loved them and I felt super fancy, even though it was super easy!

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Here's a copy of the recipe taken from here, and here's the link to the chocolate and spiral versions.  Enjoy!

French Butter Cookies—Sables

from the Episode: The Cookie Jar

Turbinado sugar is commonly sold as Sugar in the Raw. Demerara sugar, sanding sugar, or another coarse sugar can be substituted. Make sure the cookie dough is well chilled and firm so that it can be uniformly sliced. After the dough has been wrapped in parchment, it can be double-wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 40 cookies

1 large egg
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter , softened
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (2 3/4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon large egg white , lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar (see note)

1. Place egg in small saucepan, cover with 1 inch water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill small bowl with ice water. Using slotted spoon, transfer egg to ice water and let stand 5 minutes. Crack egg and peel shell. Separate yolk from white; discard white. Press yolk through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl.


2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, salt, and cooked egg yolk on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl and beater with rubber spatula as needed. Turn mixer to low, add vanilla, and mix until incorporated. Stop mixer; add flour and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, press dough into cohesive mass.


3. Divide dough in half; roll each piece into log about 6 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in 12-inch square of parchment paper and twist ends to seal and firmly compact dough into tight cylinder (see illustrations below). Chill until firm, about 1 hour.


4. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using chef’s knife, slice dough into ¼-inch-thick rounds, rotating dough so that it won’t become misshapen from weight of knife. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Using pastry brush, gently brush cookies with egg white mixture and sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.


5. Bake until centers of cookies are pale golden brown with edges slightly darker than centers, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using thin metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature. Store cooled cookies between sheets of parchment paper in airtight container for up to 1 week.

{recipe from America's Test Kitchen}

2 comments:

The4Bells said...

Good job, they look tasty! They would make pretty Christmas cookies too in cute little bags or paper.

Christina said...

YUMMY! Those look so yummy and are so beautiful. I love that you said they are "super easy". My first thought after reading this post was definitely not super easy!! But they look so yummy and so worth a try. I love butter cookies :-)

Great job!