These French Butter Cookies, also called a Sable, have a slightly crunchy and crumbly texture, and a rich buttery flavor. They are an easy yet elegant Christmas cookie!
Ever since we got back from Paris, I can’t stop dreaming about our amazing trip and all things French. So I just had to bake up a French cookie to pretend I was back in France. Sables are delicate butter cookies that are slightly crunchy and slightly crumbly in texture. Sable means sand in french, and the texture is kind of sandy – hence the name! They are simple in flavor but absolutely delicious. Plus you can decorate them with colored sugars, making them the perfect little treat around Christmas! We encountered cookies like this or some variation of a sable all over the bakeries of Paris. They are served when you order afternoon tea or coffee, and we even had some served to us with a cocktail after dinner one night! That is my kind of after dinner drink!
The unique thing about this particular sable recipe is the egg. You only use a yolk, and you hardboil it first! This was the first time I have ever made a cookie this way. The recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen and they are geniuses, so although it seemed strange to me, I had to try it. The point of cooking the egg yolk is to take out some excess moisture from the cookie to achieve the perfect “sandy” texture.
Other than the cooked yolk, this is a pretty standard cookie recipe. You cream the butter, sugar, cooked yolk, and salt together. Add some vanilla for delicious flavor, stir in flour, and you have your dough. You roll the dough into two logs and then chill it. This is a great dough to make around Christmas because you can keep the log in your fridge for a few days before you bake them, or stick it in the freezer. Then you can quickly have Christmas cookies ready whenever you need them!
Once you are ready to bake your cookies, slice the chilled dough with a sharp knife. Then place the cookies on a cookie sheet, brush them with a little egg white mixed with water, and sprinkle them with the sugar of your choice. Of course I picked red and green! Advice though – use coarse or sanding sugar for this. My red sugar was just normal sugar, and the color spread on the cookies. The coarse white and green sugar looked much better. You can also use a turbinado sugar (like Sugar In The Raw) if you don’t have colored coarse sugar.
These sable cookies are like little French gems. Simple but delicious. Classic and elegant. They are the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea and really add something special to any Christmas cookie spread.
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