Chocolate Sablé Cookies

When I did my internship at Pierre Hermé Paris, I would prepare a large batch of these cookies every single day…  Sablés are essentially shortbread cookies where you first cream the butter and the sugar togetherand then delicately add the dry ingredients.  The trick to perfect sables it not to over-mix the dough once the dry ingredients have been added.  Otherwise the cookies will end up tough.  Right before baking, the cookies are rolled in a coarse sugar such as turbinado or sanding sugar.  This give them a beautiful sparkly appearance as well as a crisp texture which is a beautiful contrast to the flaky cookie.

Makes about 30-40 cookies

2 ¾ cups flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

10 ounces butter, at room temperature (this is trés important!)

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon water

1 egg

½ cup coarse sugar (turbinado sugar or sanding sugar), for coating

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder and salt together and set aside.  With a handmixer or standup mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed to soften.  Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the almond extract and the water and beat for another 30 seconds.  Reduce the speed and fold in the flour/cocoa powder mixture.  Mix just until the ingredients come together in smoothdough. If it doesn't come together just with the mixer (all mixers are not created equal!), then turn out and knead by hand.  Divide the dough in two balls and wrap in plastic.  Place in the refrigerator and allow to rest for at least 45 minutes.

In a clean working surface, roll out each ball of dough to form a long, slender log about h 1 ½ inch in diameter and about 8 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic and allow to rest for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Whisk the egg in a small bowl and spread the turibnado or sanding sugar on a sheet of parchment paper.

Remove the dough logs from the refrigerator and unwrap them.  Brush each log with a bit of egg and roll it in the sugar pressing gently to ensure the dough is coated in sugar.  Then slice each log into rounds, each about ½ inch thick.  Place the rounds on the baking sheets about one inch apart of each other and bake for 16-18 minutes.  The cookies should be slightly firm to the touch.  Remove form the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.