French Sable Cookies

This French sable cookie recipe, made with butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and salt, is from Dorie Greenspan and is like shortbread. A perfect Christmas cookie.

French Vanilla Sablé

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.

French Sable Cookie

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 45 M
  • 3 H, 30 M
  • Makes about 2 dozen cookies
5/5 - 2 reviews

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



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.

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. [Editor’s Note: Just like in the story of Goldilocks, you want the dough to be not too thin and not too thick but just right at 1/4 inch thick. Trust us.] Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for at least 1 hour.

Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

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.

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.

Continue cutting and baking, always using a cool baking sheet as you gather the scraps of dough, roll, chill, cut, and bake. We think you can take it from here. Find information on storing your cookies here.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

“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.

What brioche is to plain white bread, this French Sable Cookie is to the standard sugar cookie. These are incredibly buttery and rich with just the right amount of sweetness. The sable is a little like shortbread with the delicateness of pie crust. I used a 12-cup muffin pan to bake my sables. I began cutting out parchment paper circles and realized that would be an exercise in frustration. I decided to use cupcake liners instead. Using the cupcake liners in the muffin pan ensured a perfectly round, 2-inch diameter cookie that was easy to remove from the pan once baked. Even though I overbaked my first batch, they still tasted fantastic. Note that using colored paper liners may cause some smoking. However, there was no impact on the flavor of the cookie. In the future I'll use unbleached paper or silicon liners. My first batch was closer to 1/8 inch thick and only took 10 minutes to bake. I watched the remaining batches closely to get the golden color I wanted. Because the cookies were in the paper liners, I could remove them from the muffin tin immediately after they came out of the oven. The muffin tin does get a bit greasy every other batch, so I wiped it out with a paper towel in between batches.

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  1. 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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