Wait. Those aren't chocolate chips!

Wait. Those aren’t chocolate chips!

I wish I’d made these last weekend and given them to Geordie to take to work on April 1st, because these would have made the perfect April Fool’s Day treat.

Except, I’m glad I didn’t, because I don’t want to share these. I want to keep them all to myself. They are delicious, in a weird salty-sweet kind of way.

Sablès are a French shortbread biscuit; the French word sablè means “sandy,” a reference perhaps to the delicate and crumbly texture of the cookie. They are usually round, and they are usually sweet and served as dessert or with dessert.

These sablès, developed by the great Pierre Hermè (whom you may remember as the inspiration for last month’s Ispahan Loaf Cake) are a bit of a play on the traditional recipe. Instead of a straight-up buttery cookie, we’re given a salty, olive-infused appetizer, perfect with a little white wine. I’d be willing to bet that these would also go well on a cheese plate, but I enjoyed them on their own, with and without extra olives on the side.

I love sablès, but these are the first I have ever made. They are such a sophisticated little cookie, I was a little worried about how complicated or finicky they might be. They weren’t. Not at all. As with so many impressive and dignified foods, they are much simpler and easier to make than one would first imagine. They do have a bit of an oddity to them, though, in the form of a secret ingredient.

Butter (lots of it), olives, powdered sugar, the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, olive oil, and a combination of flour and potato starch.

Butter (lots of it), olives, powdered sugar, the yolk of a hard-boiled egg, olive oil, and a combination of flour and potato starch.

That’s right: the yolk of a hard-boiled egg. According to Dorie, it’s quite typical in Austrian baking, and it – in combination with the potato starch and the powdered sugar – give the sablè it’s tender, crumbly texture.

Don’t ask me how it works. I just know that it works.

All of this gets carefully and dutifully mixed together, which takes very little time at all, even if you’re not using a machine to do it. Once everything’s combined, the dough is divided into three parts, and each part is rolled into a log shape. I have a hard time rolling circular logs. Mine always come out rectangular. Ah, well. It gives them a little more character.

The logs then go into the fridge to rest and firm and develop lovely olive flavors. At least one hour is necessary, but overnight is better. Two of my logs rested overnight; the other went into the freezer, where it will keep nicely for a while (but not for too long, because I won’t be able to resist devouring it for any extended amount of time). The yield on this recipe is pretty high – 60 by Dorie’s standard, but I estimate I’ll be getting 75-80 out of mine. I’m not sure I rolled them as thick as I should have, or that I’m cutting them as thick as Dorie suggests but that’s okay. They’re still delicious, so I’m not bothered at all.

Usually, I’m not keen on slice-and-bake cookies, but these worked like a charm. They baked up beautifully, even though they’re rectangles and not circles. Truly, appearances don’t count when you taste as good as these sablès. Besides, they’re still quite pretty, no matter what shape they are.

olivesables

I was surprised at how much I liked these. Until I started cooking with this group, I thought I didn’t like olives very much. It turns out that I like them just fine. Even Geordie seemed to enjoy these, though perhaps not as much as I did. He really liked the sablè part and wondered how it would be with other flavorings. Incredibly tasty, I’m sure. These were so easy to make, they might just become my go-to cookie/snack recipe. And they’ve certainly changed the way I feel about slice-and-bake treats.

It’s not easy to describe exactly what’s going on in this cookie. It’s sweet, but not too-sweet. It’s salty, but not too-salty. The olive flavor is there, but it’s not overpowering. Everything comes together so perfectly – nothing dominated, it all melds together in a delicious, delicate bite or two. It’s almost elusive. I keep finding myself going back for more, just to get one more bite to try to better understand what it is that’s going on in my mouth. I love these little appetizer-cookies. Just another surprise from a cookbook stuffed full of them.

Maybe these sablès aren’t for everyone, though. There seem to be mixed reactions among the Doristas. Be sure to check out their links and see what they thought! Happy cooking!

Advertisements