Bon Appétit (December 2013)
Say, have you seen the cover of the December Bon Appétit yet?
No? Take a gander.
Pretty stunning, isn't it?
Those gorgeously bold cookies on a striking black-and-white plate are so elegant and so...elevated. It's like Christmas stripped of all the kitsch. Like an Art Deco Christmas. Like spending the holidays with Marlene Dietrich in Berlin.
Wait...where were we? Right.
We wanted some. And Bon Appétit had just the thing: Chocolate-Pistachio Sablés.
The cover story is a great little primer on holiday cookies, with nice side tips and advice. But it's a decidedly grown-up take on Christmas cookies. No smiley gingerbread men here. Instead, there are varieties like Roasted-Almond Thumbprints, Salted Honey and Chocolate Bark, and Rosemary and Toasted Caraway Shortbread.
And then there are these Chocolate-Pistachio Sablés.
What's a sablé, you're asking? Seriously, you don't know what a sablé is? Wow. (Just kidding; we had no idea.) Turns out, it's a handy word that exactly describes the process of making these cookies. Take it away, New York Times:
The French sugar cookie called a sable is the ideal blank slate [...] . ''Sable'' means ''sandy,'' and it is just that: crisp, tender, sugary, salty and as crumbly as the sand-castle walls of childhood. Making sables is easy, as they are simply icebox cookies -- mixed, rolled into logs and chilled for a day, a week, even a month or two before baking.
It's that last part that makes these such a wonderful holiday cookie: You make the dough, roll it into logs, and freeze it as long as you want. Then when you're ready to bake, just pop it straight out of the freezer, slice into discs, throw 'em into a hot oven and you'll have perfect cookies in 10 minutes. What could be easier?
We'll tell you one thing that's not easy: Not eating every one of these cookies by yourself. They are delicious. Salty and crunchy and chewy and chocolately and not overly sweet -- seriously, they are just about perfect.
We made these this weekend, during the first snow of the season here in D.C. Fat wet flakes fell and dusted the street outside our windows. And it took every ounce of willpower we could muster not to ravage the entire batch of cookies between the two of us.
Instead, Zach took them to work on Monday, where they received raves from his coworkers, including one woman who described herself as "so not a cookie person."
Guess she's more of a sablé person...
Notes from Zach and Clay:
- We tried 3 different serrated knives in slicing our cookie dough, two smaller knives and a larger bread knife. The dough seemed to crumble with all but the large bread knife, for what it's worth.
- The yield on this recipe is 8 dozen cookies, but ours didn't produce nearly that many, we assume because we sliced the dough thicker than 1/4 inch. We think we got closer to 5 dozen cookies at the end.
Yield: 8 Dozen
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1¼ cups (lightly packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, kosher salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; mix just to combine, then mix in egg white. Fold in chocolate and pistachios.
Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°. Working with 1 log of dough at a time and using a serrated knife, cut logs into ¼”-thick rounds and transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing ½” apart.
Sprinkle cookies with sea salt and bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until set around edges and centers look dry, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.
DO AHEAD: Cookie dough can be made 1 month ahead; freeze instead of chilling. Slice frozen logs into rounds just before baking. Makes about 8 dozen.