Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Salted Chocolate Sables #recipe by @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE: Two or three times a week, I get a drool-worthy email from Sam Sifton of the New York Times captioned “What To Cook This Week,” or Weekend, or Tonight. I love his style and his take on cooking, especially his encouragement of experimentation. (“It’s only dinner.”) And I enjoy his choice of recipes to feature from other NYT food writers, especially those of Melissa Clark. Since I don’t subscribe, I can’t always click through to the recipe, but am glad I did for this one.

One of my favorite spots in Seattle’s Pike Place Market is Le Panier, the French bakery. Readers of my Food Lovers’ Village series may recognize the name—I borrowed it for Wendy’s bakery, dangerously close to the Merc. At both the real version and my own, everything is yummy. I particularly enjoy the real bakery’s sablés, a French variation of shortbread commonly made with either chocolate or chopped hazelnuts, so of course, I had to try this recipe.

In fact, I love sablés so much I ate two in the cafe at the Louvre on our trip in January.

For this recipe, I used cocoa nibs; chopped hazelnuts would be terrific—remember to allow yourself time to toast them so you can rub off the skins. Don’t roll them too thin—no thinner than 1/4 inch.

These are terrific with an afternoon espresso. Mr. Right has informed me that they also make a great breakfast cookie, with that espresso.

Salted Chocolate Sablés

Adapted from Melissa Clark, in the New York Times

1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4  teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa nibs, mini chocolate chips, or skinned, chopped hazelnuts
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¼ teaspoon coconut oil
Flaky sea salt

Beat butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and fine sea salt until combined. Beat in flour until just combined, then fold in cocoa nibs.

Shape dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper, to 1/4-inch thick, then chill dough for 20-30 minutes or until firm.

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven, and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicon sheets.

Use a 2–1/2 inch round cutter to cut out cookies, and transfer to lined cookie sheets. Re-roll and cut scraps.

Bake cookies until they are puffed and deeply golden, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating and switching the cookie sheets on racks halfway through. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks to finish cooling completely.

Place bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl with the coconut oil. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 2-3 30-second bursts (depending on your microwave), stirring after each burst. Alternatively, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, and stir until chocolate is smooth and melted.

Use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate over the cooled cookies. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt while the chocolate is still melted. Let set for at least an hour or two before serving cookies. Or store in an airtight container, between layers of parchment or wax paper, for up to 3 days.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Bon appetit!

From the cover of THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES, Spice Shop Mystery #5 (Seventh St. Books), coming July 21, 2020: 

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves. 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface ... 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow. 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own. 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories.  Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Chopped hazelnuts sound perfect!

    1. And probably easier to find than cocoa nibs, though we happened to have both on hand!