French Sable Cookies

When David asked the charming Dorie Greenspan what her cookie du moment was during our Christmas podcast, this was her answer. Although actually, we suspect this would be her response no matter what time of year we asked given the passion she expressed for the simple French sable. We’re not about to disagree. With its crispy, perfect exterior and cakey, tender interior, it’s got a sort of simple elegance, as Dorie says. Can’t think of an occasion when that wouldn’t be welcome.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Sneaky Sable Note

Leave it to the French to create a cookie that is as graceful at accommodating other ingredients as a Parisian is at tying a scarf about her neck. Spices. Citrus zests. Nuts. Icings. You’ve got not just one cook, but countless. Sneaky sable.

Special Equipment: 2-inch baking rings (may substitute 2-inch round cookie cutters and muffin tins)

French Sable Cookie Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 3 H, 30 M
  • Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • Sanding sugar, for decorating

Directions

  • 1. With a mixer on low speed, beat the butter, sugars, and salt together for 5 minutes, until smooth. Beat in the yolks, then the vanilla. Scrape the bowl and add the flour all at once. Mix only until the flour is incorporated.
  • 2. Divide the dough in half, flatten into disks on a lightly floured surface, and place each between sheets of parchment or wax paper. Roll the dough 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for at least 1 hour.
  • 3. Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • 4. If using 2-inch baking rings, cut out the first batch of cookies and, using an offset spatula, gently transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If using 2-inch cookie cutters, cut out the first batch of cookies and, using an offset spatula, gently transfer the cookies to muffin tins to help the cookies retain their perfect shape during baking.
  • 5. Sprinkle the cookies with sanding sugar and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown on their bottoms and around their edges. Cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet or in the muffin tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 6. Continue cutting and baking, always using a cool baking sheet. Gather the scraps of dough, roll, chill, cut, and bake.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Nov 28, 2013

This cookie recipe has the soft, crumbly texture and buttery goodness that a sable should have. I used a 2-inch fluted cutter and the cookies fit perfectly in my standard-size muffin pans. The dough is very easy to prepare and can be made in a standing mixer in a matter of minutes. I usually make sables by forming logs, chilling them, and then slicing them into rounds. I very much preferred this method. Cutting the cookies out of rolled dough created a much more perfect shape that held up very well during the baking process, thanks to the suggestion of muffin pans as a substitute for baking rings. I was pleasantly surprised that the cookies released quite easily from the muffin pans (due, I believe, to the dough's high butter content). This cookie recipe is definitely a keeper.

Testers Choice
Natasha Taylor

Nov 28, 2013

I loved these. This is a simple, easy-to-prepare, anyone-can-do-it sugar sable cookie recipe. It was really easy to follow, more so than some similar cookie recipes. My only question was whether to beat the yolks before incorporating or just add them, as they are. I opted for the latter option and it was fine. These cookies had the right balance of chewy and soft, had a nice flavor, and were appropriately crunchy on the outside. The sanding sugar is MUST for these, or else you lose a bit of the sweetness I think these cookies need. My only suggestion is I wonder if you could make these with pure vanilla rather than extract. The vanilla flavor may be more intense, and I always like the little dots of a pure vanilla bean.

Testers Choice
Sarah Heend

Nov 28, 2013

These are some of the best sable cookies I've ever made. They're visually stunning. They aren't too sweet. The butter flavor stands out. But the texture is really the star of the show. These sugar cookies have the wonderful crumbly, sandy texture of a good shortbread cookie. I forgot my dough in the freezer until it was frozen solid, so I let it rest on the counter for a few minutes to soften and it worked just fine. I didn't chill my scraps after re-rolling them and that worked just fine. The dough was very easy to work with, both before and after chilling. I rolled the dough 1/4 inch thick, as directed. (I even measured it with a ruler.) My cookies were done, and maybe a tiny bit overdone, after 9 minutes, not 18. I baked half of the batch in muffin tins, as instructed. I baked the other half on a parchment-covered baking sheet to see if they'd hold their shape. They weren’t quite as uniform as the muffin tin cookies, and their edges flattened a bit and browned more than the cookies in the muffin tins, but the difference was very slight. They're especially good as soon as they cool. They soften just a bit when stored, but they're still one of the best butter cookies I've ever made

Testers Choice
Shannon Parrish

Nov 28, 2013

“These cookies are CRAZY good!” were the exact words of my six-year-old daughter. These were buttery, crisp, and absolutely perfect. I can’t say enough happy things about these cookies. These sable cookies are out of this world good and quite possibly at the top of my favorite cookie list. The only thing that I’d do differently next time is double the recipe! I also thought that the instruction to bake the cookies in muffin tins weren't necessary. I made two batches and found that the cookies maintained their shape without use of the muffin tin. Following the directions for the thickness when rolling out the dough is key. I rolled one batch to about 1/8 inch thick and the resulting cookies proved to be too thin (although I had no trouble eating those anyway.) The sanding sugar adds the perfect amount of crunch.

Testers Choice
Martha T.

Nov 28, 2013

I have to admit, I was skeptical when I couldn't locate baking rings at my local cooking stores and had to resort to placing my dough in a muffin tin. But these sable cookies are truly lovely, tasty treats that even non-dessert folks will enjoy. I placed my dough in the freezer for just under an hour. A quick note for other newbies, my metal 1/4 cup measuring cup worked as the perfect-size cookie cutter. Baking time was 20 minutes.


Comments
Comments
  1. Oh thank you for posting this. I am heading home to Australia for Christmas and can’t wait to bake these up with my mum. We’re both big Dorie fans!

    • David Leite says:

      You’re welcome, Mardi. I hope you and your mom have a great time making the cookies, and I hope your whole family have a wonderful holiday season.

  2. Kelley Butler says:

    Rock my world? Oh yes they did! I have made cut out cookies for years. Always going back to the recipe that is in a red book. Never again. These were a most awesome cookie. The dough was easy to put together and we all loved them. Thanks Dorie and David for sharing.

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