This recipe comes from Pierre Hermé and Dorie Greenspan with a small adaption (we’ve used an ounce less chocolate). Sea salt and chocolate are very fashionable in the biscuit or cookie world. The saltiness cuts through the rich chocolate brilliantly. Serve these after dinner with a coffee – just one or two sablé biscuits is enough for each person. You can make the dough in advance, cover it tightly in a few layers of cling film and store it in the fridge for a few days or freeze it, ready to slice and bake when you are ready.
155g all-purpose flour
30g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
155g unsalted butter, at room temperature
145g packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
110g 70% chocolate, broken into small chips
1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together. Cream the butter until it is soft and almost white in a stand mixer or in a bowl with an electric whisk. Add the sugars, salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes.
2. Add the flour and cocoa mixture and beat on a low speed just until it comes together and is sandy in texture. (The mixture will look like the inside of an Irish peat bog.) Don’t over-beat the mixture. Fold in the chocolate pieces.
3. Lay out a sheet of cling film. Pour half the mixture along the centre. Pull up both sides of cling film and press the mixture into a long sausage shape, using the cling film to shape it. Press the mixture together so that it is uniform all along and roll the tube so that you have an even sausage shape. Roll the tube in a second sheet of cling film and seal. Make a second sausage with the rest of the mixture and place the two tubes of cling-filmed dough in the fridge to chill for an hour. (At this stage you can pop them into a freezer bag or wrap them in tin foil and freeze them for up to three months.)
4. To bake the Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables
Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Unwrap the first roll of dough on a clean board and cut slices about 1/2 inch thick. Place the rounds on the baking sheet leaving an inch between them. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes. Let the baking sheets cool on a rack. Lift the biscuits off gently when they are warm and transfer to another rack to cool.
Chocolate Sable Variations and Recipe Notes
You want your biscuits to be the same size when you cut them. Otherwise some will go dark at the edges.
If the dough breaks apart when you are cutting them, stick the bits back on to the biscuit and shape gently. If they are misshapen, they still look and taste lovely.
Increase the chocolate by 30g (1 oz) in the above version of this recipe and you have the original recipe from Pierre Hermé.
You can also add a sprinkling of finely chopped walnuts or pistachios to the mixture to add crunch.
Recipe Notes and Tips
You need to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder for baking – it is treated with an alkalizing agent that makes it less acidic. We used Green & Black’s Fair Trade Cocoa because it is perfect for baking with but you’ll find other brands that work. Ask at the delicatessen before you buy it.
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