chocolate sables with sea salt

Friday, December 30, 2011

I once had a friend tell me that when you have a song stuck in your head the antidote is to give it a big finish. That got me thinking about eating during the Holidays. The "song" in my scenario-metaphor being the constant stream of food intake that we've all been participating in since those little bite-size Snickers came on the scene pre-Halloween. 

Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

So I say: these cookies are perfect for New Year's Eve! I can't think of anything better to finish off the gluttony of The Season. Let's end it on a high note, people! Let's really seal the deal.

This sable recipe comes straight from a famous chocolatier in Paris. That's right, I said Paris.That means they're good. Those Frenchies know what they're doing.  

These cookies have no egg in them so they're particularly buttery and crumbly in a melt-in-your-mouth kinda way. Also? The double chocolate situation is de la chaîne.*

*off the chain

Chocolate Sables with Sea Salt
recipe ("Korova Cookies") from Dorie Greenspan & Pierre Hermé, Paris

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Scharffen-Berger)
1/2 t baking soda
1 stick plus 3 T unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 t fleur de sel or 1/4 t fine sea salt
1t vanilla extract
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits (I used Scharffen Berger)

Sift or whisk the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda together until well mixed and set aside. Cream the butter until light and fluffy in an electric mixer (fitted with the paddle) and then add the sugars, salt and vanilla and beat for another two minutes. Add the dry ingredients bit by bit (on low speed). Take care not to over mix. The dough will be very crumbly. This is good. Add the chocolate bits and mix just until incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and squish it so it sticks together. This part is a bit tricky (because it's so crumbly) but divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log that is about 1 1/2" in diameter. Dorie says: "Cookie-dough logs have a way of ending up with hollow centers, so as you're shaping each log, flatten it once or twice and roll it up from one long side to the other, just to make certain you haven't gotten an air channel." I couldn't agree more. Who wants an air channel?

Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. You can also freeze those suckers for up to a month.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325. With a sharp, thin-bladed knife, cut the logs into rounds that are 1/2" thick. If they break, no worries--just squeeze them together. Place the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets 1" apart and bake (one sheet at a time) for 12-14 minutes. They won't look or feel done but this is what you want. They'll cool to perfection.

And I promise: I'm working on a kale soup for next week when we're all contrite and chaste.

Bonne année!

P.S. I looked this up because I've been wondering about it all season...

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