Intensely chocolate sables speckled with gold in the form of caramelized chocolate. A little crunch on the edge gives away to a soft inside. The sweetness of the chocolate chunks interrupts a deep cocoa cookie. And not that you ever would, but, dipped in a glass of milk these are heaven in a bite.
Intensely flavored and deeply satisfying, these chocolate shortbreads are made with a dutch cocoa and brown sugar for a deep, rich taste. Paired with bits of caramelized white chocolate, with its silky, nutty notes, these will quickly disappear from the cookie jar.
Butter: Soften the butter first so that it’s easy to beat into the sugar. When you cream sugar and butter together, the sugar digs holes into the butter which create little air pockets that make for a loftier texture. If the butter is cold this won’t work. If you use salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe. If you were wondering, do I need the fancy butter here? I’d say no here. Really the overwhelming taste is cocoa and chocolate!
Sugar & Brown sugar: We’ll use a bit of both, for balance. While granulated is traditional for shortbread the use of brown sugar here makes the cookies softer which contrasts nicely with the snap of chocolate bits.
Cocoa: This is the most forward flavor in the cookie so use a good quality brand. I use dutch-process and recommend it but if you also like the taste of black cocoa I think it would be really wonderful here. You’ll also use a bit to roll out the dough.
Flour: Weigh your flour carefully and if you have it, opt for a pastry flour or a flour with a low-protein content as they will make for a lighter cookie. But really, any regular all-purpose flour will do here.
Salt: I use fine sea salt. Omit it if you are using salted butter. Don’t use table salt as it is very salty in taste, too much for this cookie.
Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract, not imitation. The pure vanilla will really accentuate the taste of the chocolate.
Caramelized white chocolate: You can purchase some Dulcey feves if you like, but making your own caramelized white chocolate has better flavor and is a lot more cost-effective. See how to here.
We’ll start off with some softened butter and two types of sugar. Along with the flavorings (salt and vanilla) we’ll add the leavening (soda) and beat until light and fully creamed (you can see the difference between the second and third photos).
Then goes in the cocoa and flour. Because there’s not a lot of liquid in this (or none really) dough, the flour and cocoa will make a mess if you turn the mixer on at this point. I like to mix it with a spatula first, just to start getting it combined. And I”ll put a towel over the bowl as it mixes. You just need to do it until it’s combined, don’t overmix.
For this batch I used Valrhona’s dulcey feves, although usually I use my own homemade caramelized white chocolate. Once they are folded in, wrap up the dough and chill it for a few hours.
Then roll it out to about 1cm thick, like you would a regular sugar cookie. I do this over a cocoa dusted counter. Then punch out rounds. Avoid making these too thin as they will over-bake in the oven.
Bake and cool, and if you want you can melt some more chocolate and drizzle it all over. It’ll intensify the taste of the caramelized white bits in the cookie.
Note: This recipe is adapted from Umbar Ahmed’s Chocolate Sables, I caramelize the chocolate (obviously) and changed the way to shape the dough. I originally published this under the name ‘black and gold sables’ but after doing some digging to learn what a traditional sable is (a french butter cookie), I find the recipe definitely has more in common with shortbread – even if texture-wise these have that ‘sandy’ quality. A traditional sable cookie recipe has egg yolks in the dough, the dough is washed with more yolk and they do not have bits of chocolate (or anything) in them. Icebox cookie would have been another contender for the name but, as I dispense with the slice and bake method, I decided against that too.
How long ahead of time can the dough be made?
A couple of days at most, after that the dough will start to dry out. My preference is to just leave it overnight. This gives the dough time to intensify in flavor before its baked but not enough so that it gest dry.
How long do these cookies keep?
A week I’d say, but good luck with that.
Can I add something different instead of caramelized white chocolate?
Sure! Any chopped chocolate will work or nuts. Be sure they are fairly small when chopping though or it will make it hard to roll out and stamp out the dough.
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