Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pierre Herme's salty chocolate sables

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.


  1. I have never tried a pierre herme recipe. Just seeing his name intimidates me LOL. I think i'll bookmark these and try them though, they don't involve anything too fancy like most of his recipes.
    Here's an idea that helps cookies keep their shape: refrigeration. Maybe after u slice them, refrigerate again. THey tend to loose shape if they get warmed up too much before baking.
    Have a very merry christmas daaahling.
    *kisses* HH

  2. Salty chocolate? I'm in!! These look good to me!

  3. I agree with the husband on this one, for sure. But for that matter, I think they look pretty danged good, too ...

  4. I'm with the husband! As far as chocolate cookies are concerned, who cares what they look like. In this case, they look droolworthy, I'm running out of time to make this for Christmas, but I think I'm going to make them in the new year.

    Have a fantastic Christmas Hungry Dog! And Frances. And husband of HD :)

  5. Yum!! More cookies the merrier. Pierre Herme can never go wrong!

  6. I read the title on my rss feed and exclaimed, "d**n, that sounds good!" I can't wait to make these. And I think yours look totally delicious no matter what, the texture looks like the perfect sable with those little bits of I said, I can't wait to make these!

  7. HH: I am definitely re-chilling the dough next time...I am sure that will help!

    oneordinaryday: give em a try!

    Rich: I know, looks shouldn't matter...

    Shaz: happy christmas (and eating!) to you too!

    Jessica: It's my first PH recipe--I'm a convert.

    Connie: I hope you love them!

  8. the question isn't whether i can find room in my repertoire, it's whether i can find room in my belly. and the answer is yes. :)

  9. I'm not really a baker, so don't realize the issue about a cookie's shape. I'm more like your husband and go for the taste. Then I tell friends they're "rustic." ;-) Hope you have a great holiday!

  10. Oooh, a touch of fleur de sel always does wonders to dark chocolate. A totally irresistible combo. ;)

  11. Well I'm sold! I can always use another good cookie recipe and I've got nothing like this - they sound so delicious!

  12. grace: there is always room for cookies.

    ben: good call on the "rustic"!

    CJ: It's heavenly, isn't it?

    Biranna: I hope you try them!

  13. Sophie: thank you! Happy Christmas to you!

    tamilyn: right? :)

  14. I've had this recipe bookmarked in one of my Pierre Hermé books for I don't know how long. I think I'll take this as a sign to get off my ass and bake them already!

    p.s. If it makes you feel any better, I have never been able to get slice-and-bake cookies to come out round. There's always a flat side. I've learned to just go with it. (Or reshape them all by hand, which is a huge pain and not worth it in the end.)

    Hope you had a very merry Christmas!

  15. camille: yeah, make 'em! :) And as for the slice-and-bakes, it does make me feel better. I always feel like they're supposed to be the simplest cookies but they really aren't!

  16. I think the look great...My sliced cookies always turn out oval never round.

  17. Thanks, Bo--and thanks for stopping by!