After trying the pain d’épices, I was trying to remember all my favourite childhood snacks. Of course, sablés and palets bretons were one of them. Sablés and palets are the French shortbread cookies from Normandy and Brittany. I hope to find a recipe for palets; in the meantime, here are my sablés. Just as buttery as the Scottish cookie, their texture is slightly sandy, hence the name. Unlike other shortbread recipes, I thought that
Ingredients for 3 dozen sablés:
1 ½ cup cake or all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cornmeal
1 vanilla bean
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (Note: I make my own vanilla extract by letting the beans soak in dark rum. This method also helps preserve the vanilla beans, preventing them beans from drying)
1 cup unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
2 egg yolks
1 pinch of salt
1. Sift flour, cornmeal and sugar into a bowl.
2. Cut the butter into the flour mixture, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. Separate the egg yolks into a small bowl.
4. Slice the vanilla bean, scrape the vanilla seeds onto the yolks, and lightly mix in the extract with a fork.
(click on the yolks for more pictures)
5. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture using a wooden spoon until obtaining coarse dough.
6. Divide the dough into two portions and transfer onto parchment paper.
7. Press and roll each portion into a 2 inch-diameter log using the parchment paper.
8. Refrigerate for at least 2 hrs (overnight if possible).
9. Preheat oven to 340 F.
10. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
11. Once the logs are chilled, cut the dough into ½ inch discs using a serrated knife. (Tip: If the dough is crumbly, slightly pat the dough and put back into the fridge)
12. Place on baking sheet spaced 1 inch apart and bake for 10-12 minutes until just lightly golden on the edges.
13. At this point, the cookies are soft to the touch. Let cool on baking sheets until firm.