I worked at a patisserie for a year and a half in San Francisco, Miette. Of all the things we made, this cookie is the only one I still make with any frequency. It's easy and it is a true crowd pleaser. I think the secret is that it's a little less sweet and a little more salty than a normal cookie. Now, salted chocolate is all the rage but not 8 years ago when we were making and selling these. BTW, "sablé" means "sand" and these cookies have a sandy texture.
The original name of this cookie is Korova, which was the name of the milk bar in Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange. It was also the name of a restaurant off the Champs-Elysees for which Pierre Hermé created these cookies. The restaurant is gone, but the cookies are still sold at the Pierre Hermé patisserie.
- 1-1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick plus 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (120 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel, or 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits, I recommend Scharffenberger 62% or 70%
Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together. Cream the butter in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed.
Add both sugars, the salt, and vanilla extract to the butter and beat for another minute or two. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients. Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated -- the dough will look crumbly, and that is just right. Stir the chocolate pieces in while handling the dough as little as possible.
Lay out sheets of cling wrap; then squeeze the dough together so that it's solid with no air pockets, in logs about 12" long and 2" in diameter (or smaller if you want smaller cookies). Wrap the logs and freeze them for at least two hours and up to 3 days.
Bake at 325º for 12 minutes on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake one sheet at a time for best warm air circulation. The finished cookies will be crumbly and will really fall apart until they cool a bit.
First! Speaking of first, Liz brought a bag of these to our very first date. I have been hooked ever since.