This is most likely my last post before Christmas, and since I know you all are as busy as I am, I'll keep it short. These little beauties are another takeaway from my Tante Marie class, and boy are they a bestseller: buttery chocolate sables.
"Big deal, Hungry Dog," you're scoffing. "We can't throw a rock without hitting a buttery chocolate cookie this time of year. Next!"
I know. Me too. And no one thinks they need another cookie recipe. But these are different. They've got tons of bittersweet chocolate plus dark cocoa and brown sugar. And the piece de resistance--fleur de sel.
My rendition of these cookies did not turn out as nicely as the ones my classmate produced a few weeks ago. His were cut into the perfect thickness and held their shape while baking. Mine spread too much and did not look as fine and architectural as his.
The husband said, as he enjoyed a short stack of them, "Who cares what they look like?"
I suppose this is where the eater and baker diverge a bit; I actually do care what they look like. I suspect my cookies, once sliced, should have gone back in the fridge to re-chill before sliding the cookie sheets into the oven. Oh well, next time I'll know better.
In any event, they are delicious plain, or with coffee, tea, or wine. They'd be dynamite nestled alongside some good ice cream, or used for little sandwich cookies.
So no matter what you say, how much you protest, I am 100% certain you can find room in your repertoire for one more (very) good cookie.
Pierre Herme's Chocolate Sables
Makes about 3 dozen
1 1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. Dutch processed cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 stick plus 3 T. butter, room temperature
2/3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. fleur de sel (or 1/4 t. fine sea salt)
1 t. vanilla extract
5 oz. best quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
Sift together flour, cocoa, and baking soda and set aside. Put the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until very soft and creamy. Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla and beat for another 1-2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the ingredients are just incorporated (it will look a bit crumbly). Work the dough as little as possible. Toss in the chocolate and mix to incorporate.
Turn the dough on to a smooth work surface and divide in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into a log that is 1 1/2 inches in diameter (as you're shaping the log, flatten it once or twice and roll it up from one long side to the other, making sure you get all the air out of the center). Wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and chill the in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Logs, wrapped airtight, can also be frozen for up to one month.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the center. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with a thin, sharp knife, slice rounds 1/2-inch thick from the logs. Turn the logs a quarter turn after each slice to keep the cookies round (or make the log square, like I did.) Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet, 1 inch apart. (If possible, refrigerate sliced cookies for another 15- 30 minutes to guard against spreading.) Bake 1 sheet at a time for 12 minutes. The cookies will not look done nor will they be firm but this is okay. Transfer the sheet to a rack and let the cookies rest on the sheet, about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from the sheet and let cool completely on a rack. Repeat with second sheet of cookies.