We’re always looking for new snack-type food, those little bites that we can bring along for a nibble when we’re feeling a bit peckish. The other day, we happened to find a recipe for these small French savory shortbreads and thought they be perfect just to whip up one day along with lunch. The recipe was dead easy; basically, blend all the ingredients except the flour, then mix in flour, chill, slice, and bake. Plus we had everything on hand, so, why not try it out?
This recipe comes from The French Market Cookbook, by Clotilde Dusoulier, and, while we modified it ever so slightly to match what we had in the house (we’re out of honey right now), it’s essentially the same. The one thing that we really had to change was the baking time. The original recipe indicated 15 to 20 minutes, but we had to leave them in the oven for over 30 minutes before they started to turn golden. Keep that in mind when you make these.
Finally, as you read through the recipe, you’ll note that it calls for 2 egg yolks; we used just the yolks because we were making pasta dough, and we knew we could use the whites. Otherwise, we probably would have just used a single egg, and no one would have been the wiser.
Makes 30 shortbreads.
We’re lucky to have a semi-local maker of goat cheese who offers cheese as shares through our CSA. The quality is high, and it’s possible to note the changes in the milk over the season. We doubt that you can do that with supermarket goat cheese. We always recommend that you find eggs that come from happy hens. The eggs taste better, which makes you happy, too. Our final comment is that, if you have fresh rosemary, not only are we envious, but, by all means use that, just increase the amount to 2 tablespoons and chop it before using.
Procedure in detail:
Mix almost everything. What could be a better instruction? In a medium mixing bowl, measure out everything except the flour. Using a spoon, mix and mash until it looks like you have a thick yellow paste with some pine needles mixed in. Perfect.
Add flour. Add the flour and stir that in, too. It might not incorporate completely, but that’s okay at this point. You’ll fix that in the next step.
Knead. Dump everything out on a clean work surface and knead the dough a few times to get all that flour combined. You’re not kneading bread here, so, at most, fifteen turns should do it.
Roll out. Now, roll the dough out into a log. Keep rolling until it’s about 1 inch in diameter and about 12 inches long. Just like when you played with clay in art class, right?
Freeze. Wrap in plastic and freeze for an hour. If you want to freeze longer, you can; just transfer the frozen dough to the refrigerator about an hour before you want to slice it.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Both are modern miracles of the baking world, at least in our opinion.
Slice. Using a sharp knife, slice off rounds about 3/8-inch thick. Yeah, that does seem a bit thick, but the original called for 1/2-inch, which we thought was way too thick. Arrange them on the prepared sheets.
Bake. Slide the sheets into the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (that’s how long ours took, but the original recipe called for 15-20 minutes, so you might want to check part way through), rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until they turn a golden color.
Cool. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
We have to say that we are a bit underwhelmed by these sablés. There was nothing really wrong with them. They had a good rosemary flavor, and a subtle taste of goat cheese, but they were a bit on the dry side, and not as crispy as we had hoped. Overall, we think we have better ways to use up that amount of goat cheese, so we give them three stars, but these might be right up your alley, so give ’em a whirl and let us know how your sablé scratchin’ adventure turns out.