My goal for this batch of cookies was to bridge the transition weeks as the weather grew colder. Nutmeg and toasted walnuts add warmth, while drops of strawberry jam brighten each sablé and remind one of sunny afternoons.
When crafting this cookie, I relied on Dorie Greenspan’s master recipe for sablés (found in the New York Times). I trusted her basic measurements, then added a few of my own ingredients.
Test Kitchen Notes
When you are starting from such a solid base as a Dorie recipe, you really can't go wrong. Cristinasciarra gilded the Greenspan lily with walnuts and strawberry jam, and I thoroughly enjoyed the results. It's essentially a linzer sablé, but open-faced and without the fuss. —Allison Bruns Buford
50 to 60 cookies, depending on your cutting skills
sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
golden (or light brown) sugar
powdered sugar (sifted)
freshly grated nutmeg
large egg yolks, room temperature
strawberry jam (although fig or pear would also work)
Heat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the walnuts on top. Bake them for 10 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Turn off the oven, remove the walnuts, and allow them to cool. Once cool, use the heel of a mug (or a mortar and pestle or food processor) to crush them into crumbly bits.
If you have a fancy-pants stand mixer, fantastic: Fit it with the paddle attachment.
If not, a hand-held mixer with beater attachments works just fine. Put the softened butter in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until the butter is a bit whipped, about 1 minute.
Add all three sugars, the salt, and the nutmeg. Continue mixing until everything looks creamy and incorporated, about 3 more minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the egg yolks, mixing to combine.
Turn off the mixer and add the flour. Start the mixer again on the very lowest setting to avoid a flour flurry all over your countertops. Mix until the flour is just combined, then fold in the walnut crumbles and mix again until just combined.
Scoop out half the dough and lay it on some plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap to help you, roll the dough into a log about 10 inches long. Repeat this process with the second half of the dough. Place both logs into the refrigerator and let them chill for no less than 2 hours. (These logs will also remain happily in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a couple of months.)
When the logs are well-chilled, heat the oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Keep the baking sheets off of the oven -- you want the cookies to be as cool as possible before baking.
Cut the log into 1/3-inch slices. (Note: I am not an expert cookie slicer. As a result, my sablés oscillated in thickness a bit. It’s fine if yours do, too.) Lay each cookie on a baking sheet, making sure to leave a little space between them.
Scoop about 1/4 cup of jam into a plastic baggie. Seal the top, then cut a small hole into one of the bottom corners. Dollop a small circle of jam into the center of each cookie.
Move the baking sheets to the oven. Bake the sablés about 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies turn golden. Let the sablés cool for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling. These cookies taste better a few hours out of the oven.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.