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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

French Butter Cookies - Sables

As December comes around, you can find stacks of butter cookie tins everywhere. They are probably available year round, but you just can't miss the huge stacks of tins during the holiday season. They are so delicious that I do cave into temptation and end up buying a couple of boxes. The ones that I see stocked in the local store,  generally are called "Danish" cookies and over the years I have come to associate butter cookies with being Danish.  A few days ago, I was watching the cooking show "America's Test Kitchen" and they demonstrated a cookie recipe called "Sables". Now they kept calling it a a French cookie. Their cookie platter looked delicious on the show and reminded me of butter cookies. Of course, I made fervent notes and jotted down the detailed recipe with all the tips they provided. I couldn't wait to try out the recipe, so I prepared the cookie dough (rather late at night) and then baked them the following day. Oh the result!!! Absolutely delicious and decadent. It was just like the butter cookies that I indulge in during the holiday season. So, based on this experience, I must conclude that I love all butter cookies. I have also learnt that they taste delicious and similar, irrespective of what they are named and what country they come from.

10 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 yolk of hard boiled egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1.5 cups all purpose flour/maida
1 egg white
1 tsp water
2-3 tbsp sugar (garnish)

Mash up the egg yolk so that it is soft and lump free. Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat together the butter, sugar, salt and yolk for a couple of minutes. Once the ingredients are mixedd together, add vanilla essence and mix. Then add the flour a little at a time and mix till the flour is completely incorporated into the mixture. At this stage, the mixture will have a soft dough like texture. Bring it all together and roll out the dough into two logs. These will be about six inches in length and about 1.75 (1 and 3/4) inches in diameter. Roll up these logs tightly in parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate these rolls in the fridge for at least an hour. Then take these well chilled logs and cut them into diskettes about 1/4 inch in thickness. Place these on a baking sheet. Don't crowd the cookies, leave about an half to an inch space around each cookie. Then, make an egg wash by mixing together egg white of one egg and water. Brush the top side of each cookie with this egg wash. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each cookie. Bake the cookies at 350F for 10-15minutes.

Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheets itself, then transfer these to the cooling rack. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Process the egg yolk through a sieve using a spoon to mash it up and squeeze out of the sieve. This will ensure there are no big chunks or lumps. The butter should be room temperature, but still solid. You can freeze the dough once you roll it into a log and you can bake the cookies when you are ready to eat them. The egg wash helps the cookies get a shine and also helps the sugar stick to the cookie.


  1. At last. After looking online through many butter cookie
    recipes I found this one with the egg yolk from a boiled
    egg. Thanks so much

  2. Hi Beth,
    Hope your cookies turned out great!

  3. thanks a lot for ur efforts and easy recipes.....three cheers to you