Christmas cookies (Sables)
Desserts

Edible Gifts: French Christmas Cookies (or Sablés)

December 9, 2017

These French Christmas Cookies are great gifts! They keep for a while too, if you can resist them!


Who doesn’t love receiving gifts? The anticipation that comes with not knowing what is inside. Then as you tear open the wrapper, an enticing aroma comes out.

It’s buttery and sweet.

You get a slight whiff of cinnamon and vanilla.

You open your eyes and you see delicate French Christmas cookies.

French Christmas cookies, or sablés.

Sablé is a French word which means “sand” in French and refers to the sandy texture of these cookies. These originated in Normandy, France.

I have been making these sablés for the past few years to give away as Christmas gifts. I love that these butter cookies are thin, crunchy and have a hint of cinnamon.

This recipe came from one of my favorite food blogs, Chocolate & Zucchini. The original recipe can be found here. It makes a ton of cookies though, so I made only half the recipe as I needed fewer cookies this year.

You do need to plan for these as you need to rest the dough at least 8 hours in the fridge.

Buy the best butter you can find.

European butter

As the main ingredient of these Christmas cookies is butter, buy the best one available.

Cut the butter into one-inch cubes and get it to room temperature if it came from the fridge.

In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients.

In the bowl of your mixer, put in the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Give a quick mix with the paddle attachment on low speed. Add the egg and the vanilla.

making sables

Mix on medium-low speed until the egg is incorporated and you have a crumbly dough.

Add in the butter one cube at a time. Make sure to mix each butter cube well into the dough before adding the next cube. You will get a pretty soft dough. This will be hard to roll out at this point, that is why it needs to rest in the fridge.

Sleep tight lovely cookie dough

Divide the dough into 3 parts, and cover with plastic wrap, making a thin disc as you do so.

Christmas cookie dough Christmas cookie dough

Christmas cookie dough Christmas cookie dough

Christmas cookie dough Christmas cookie dough

Christmas cookie dough

Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to a day. This also ages the dough and allows the flavors to meld.  I have also frozen the dough and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

When you want to bake, preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.

Line your baking pans/cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. To be efficient, use 3 baking pans/cookie sheets. One with cookies baking in the oven, one cooling and one you’re working on.

Making cookies!

Get one of your cookie dough discs from the fridge. Generously flour your working surface. And I mean GENEROUSLY. This dough is super sticky, so don’t be stingy with the flour.

Grab your assistant if you have one!

tiny hands rolling out cookie dough

Roll out the cookie dough as thin as you like (mine was about 3mm thick) using a generously floured rolling pin.  Each time you roll out, rotate the dough a quarter turn, add more flour under the dough, and roll again.

Get your cookie cutters and cut out your cookie pieces.

cutting out cookies

Arrange on the baking sheet. You may put the cookies close to each other as these don’t expand much while baking.  Bake one pan/sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven 12-15 minutes. Check at 12 minutes. You want golden brown cookies.

Once the cookies are baked, let them cool on the pan/sheet for a few minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack. If you have fragile areas (like necks or legs), be careful during the transfer.

Gather the remaining dough into a ball and roll out again. If it is becoming too soft and sticky, put it back in the fridge to firm up.

Repeat with the unused dough.  Ensure that the baking pan/cookie sheet is cool before reusing again. If you’re using parchment paper, you may reuse it. Clear any crumbs and place the cookie shapes on again.

Store the cookies in an airtight container. They will keep for a month at room temperature. That is if you haven’t devoured them all yet.

Don’t worry, I won’t tell! I eat copious amounts of these cookies too!


You might also be interested in these:

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

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French Christmas Cookies (Sables)

French Christmas Cookies (Sables)

Yields depends on the size of your cookie cutter, I got 50 cookies

French Christmas Cookies (or Sablés)

Thin, crispy, buttery cookies with a hint of cinnamon are perfect edible gifts!

8 hr, 20 Prep Time

48 minCook Time

9 hr, 8 Total Time

Recipe Image
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Ingredients

  • 210 grams (about 1 ½ + 2 tablespoons) all purpose flour
  • 140 grams (about ½ cup + 3 tablespoons) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 125 grams (about ½ cup + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature and diced

Directions

  1. In the bowl of your mixer, put in the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Give a quick mix with the paddle attachment on low speed. Add in the egg and the vanilla.
  2. Mix on medium low speed until the egg in incorporated and you have crumbly dough.
  3. Add in the butter one cube at a time. Make sure to mix each butter cube well into the dough before adding the next cube. You will get pretty soft dough. This will be hard to roll out at this point, that is why it needs to rest in the fridge.
  4. Divide the dough into 3 parts, and cover with plastic wrap, making a thin disc as you do so. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to a day. This also ages the dough and allows the flavors to meld. I have also frozen the dough, and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
  5. When you want to bake, preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
  6. Line your baking pans/cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. To be efficient, use 3 baking pans/cookie sheets. One with cookies baking in the oven, one cooling and one you’re working on.
  7. Get one of your cookie dough discs from the fridge. Generously flour your working surface. And I mean GENEROUSLY. This dough is super sticky, so don’t be stingy with the flour.
  8. Roll out the cookie dough as thin as you like (mine was about 3mm thick) using a generously floured rolling pin. Each time you roll out, rotate the dough a quarter turn, add more flour under the dough, and roll again.
  9. Get your cookie cutters and cut out your cookie pieces. Arrange on the baking sheet. You may put the cookies close to each other as these don’t expand much while baking. Bake one pan/sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven 12-15 minutes. Check at 12 minutes. You want golden brown cookies, not dark brown ones.
  10. Once the cookies are baked, let them cool on the pan/sheet for a few minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack. If you have fragile areas (like necks or legs), be careful during the transfer.
  11. Gather the remaining dough into a ball and roll out again. If it is becoming too soft and sticky, put it back in the fridge to firm up.
  12. Repeat with the unused dough. Ensure that the baking pan/cookie sheet is cool before reusing again. If you’re using parchment paper, you may reuse it. Clear any crumbs and place the cookie shapes on again.
  13. Store the cookies in an airtight container. They will keep for a month at room temperature. That is, if you haven’t devoured them all yet.
Cuisine: French | Recipe Type: cookies

Notes

The 8 hours are for resting in the fridge.

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