>I made these recently for a smart dinner and served the buttery biscuits with a simple vanilla ice cream and some brownies.
Butter 200 g – at room temperature
Sugar 90 g (I used a finely ground unrefined cane sugar)
a good pinch of salt
1 or 2 vanilla beans
Flour 250 g
1 egg yolk or 3 tablespoons milk for brushing
Cristalised or fancy coloured sugar for coating (I used multicolour sugar strands here).
This makes about 50 bite-size cookies, crumbly and light with a delicious buttery taste.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter with a spatula.
Add the sugar and salt and mix them in thoroughly until the mix is fluffly and creamy.
Split the vanilla bean(s) length-wise and collect the seeds by scraping the insides of the bean with a blade. Stir the seeds into the mixture. (Save the empty pods for another use : to make vanilla sugar or vanilla oil; to infuse in milk, yogurt etc.)
Add the flour and rub it into the butter mixture with the tips of your fingers.
At that stage, you can use a food processor if you like!
Gather the dough into a ball without kneading.
Divide into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log, about 3 cm (1 1/4 inches) in diameter.
Wrap the logs in plastic wrap or parchment paper, and place in the fridge to harden for at least 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can freeze all or part of the logs to bake later; thaw partially at room temperature for about 1 hour before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.)
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°C) and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or a sheet of parchment paper.
Remove the logs from the fridge.
Beat the egg yolk, if using, with a few drops of water to thin it out.
Working with each log in turn, use a pastry brush to coat the log with egg yolk or milk on all sides, then sprinkle with coarse sugar until coated all over.
Use a sharp knife to slice the logs into rounds, about 1 cm (1/3 inch) in thickness.
Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheet, leaving just a little space around the sables – they won’t expand much.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the dough is set in the center. The cookies will barely color.
Let them rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
The sablés will keep for about a week in an airtight container at room temperature- but they will hardly need to!
Adapted from a recipe from Yves Camdeborde’s Dimanche en famille (Menu Fretin). Mr Camdeborde has the Relais de l’Odeon in Paris 6th and I have every intention to go and visit soon, fingers crossed!