Holiday Chocolate Sables (Cookies)

December  2, 2010
3 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Serves 50
Author Notes

When it comes to holiday get-togethers, chocolate never seems to disappoint. My kids love these cookies, but they always disagree about how to top them. While my daughter likes dark chocolate, my son prefers white. To keep them both happy I always end up making both types of ganache. They can then frost their own and top them with their favorite decorations. I like to keep these cookies small so that people can sample each. The dough keeps in the fridge until needed and once baked and frosted, the cookies taste great for a few days. I’ve also included an emergency frosting recipe, when I don’t have time to wait for ganache to cool. - monkeymom —monkeymom

Test Kitchen Notes

I'd been dreaming of chocolate cookies and then monkeymom's recipe strolled in. The recipe was a snap to put together. While forming the dough logs, I had to barricade myself and the cookie dough to stop a passionate 7-year-old girl from eating it all up. I caved in and we munched together. I love the fact that you can vary the texture of the cookie by slicing it into thin rounds, for a crisp cookie or thick rounds for chewy centres. I think it is also the perfect template for trying out various flavor combinations -- orange and cardamom, slices of fresh hazelnut and cinnamon, even chocolate bits would be great. Thank you, monkeymom. —Kitchen Butterfly

What You'll Need
  • Chocolate Sable
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • dark or white chocoloate ganache (recipe below)
  • crushed candy canes and/or festive sprinkles
  • Dark or White chocolate ganache
  • 8 oz white chocolate or dark chocolate either in chip form or finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Chocolate Sable
  2. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, vanilla seeds, and salt on low speed in a mixer. Add butter a little at a time, taking care to stop the mixer with each addition to avoid a mess. The mixture will look very sandy. Once all the butter has been added, add the egg yolk and continue to mix until ingredients are evenly distributed and contents is a consistent, sandy texture. It will come together but not completely.
  3. Cover plastic wrap onto a work surface and dump dough mixture onto it. Form dough into three logs about 1 ½ in wide and 10 inches long. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled—20 minutes minimum.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap log and cut slices a little less than 1/4 inch (you can expect 4 cookies/inch). Place on cookie sheet lined with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Bake for 9 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and let cool.
  5. Frost cooled cookies with thickened ganache frosting and top with decorations. Let ganache harden.
  6. Emergency topping: Another way I have frosted these is to place 4 bittersweet chocolate chips on top of each cookie when they come out of the oven. Put back into oven for 1 minute, then remove. Using the back of a spoon, spread melted chocolate over each cookie, then sprinkle with peppermint shards. Remove to wire rack and let cool. Use only bittersweet chocolate chips for this.
  1. Dark or White chocolate ganache
  2. Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan until bubbly. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is uniform. Let cool, stirring periodically until thickened and spreadable. (If you choose white chocolate, the ganache may appear on the thin side at first, but will harden with time. Alternatively, you can start off with ¼ cup cream, adding more after the initial combination.) Don't refrigerate or it may seize.
  3. Note: you can add a couple of drops of peppermint extract to the ganache to up the minty-ness if you are using crushed candy canes.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Olivia Cazayoux
    Olivia Cazayoux
  • Colleen Yiu
    Colleen Yiu
  • monkeymom
  • mrslarkin
  • TheWimpyVegetarian

Recipe by: monkeymom

My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.

36 Reviews

Anne M. December 24, 2023
Found this recipe here a few years ago and this has become THE holiday favorite in our house. We make extra batches to hand out and people always remark how great they are - not too sweet, and such a great nod to the holidays!! These are officially a new family tradition. <3
Vittoria December 15, 2021
Adding another 5-star review! These were a total hit. The flavour of the cocoa cookie alone is incredible! Perfect balance of sweet/cocoa/salty - they're quite addictive. My husband said they paired perfectly with a stout and he loves them plain as much as he loves them with the ganache! The ganache does turn the cookie into more of a beautiful presentation, but the cookie alone is absolutely delightful and I think I'll be making those more often to just have on hand for when people pop over for tea, coffee, drinks, etc! I used the dark chocolate ganache only, and sprinkled with crushed candy canes on some as well as sprinkles on others.
Vittoria December 15, 2021
I forgot to add that I made these with Einkorn flour - 218 g (assuming 1 cup of all purpose was 128g). I also measured out the butter (227 grams). I also used vanilla extract (1 tsp).

I did not have any issues with the dough being crumbly. Another tip that I forgot to mention is that I started the dough by mixing the butter in with my hands (very clean hands:) ), and also melted a small portion of the butter before adding to help bring it together. I did this because I had originally tried to follow the instructions and use the hand mixer, but it was making the mixture fly everywhere because it was too dry! So I got it started with my hands and then once it was coming together I switched to the hand mixer. This worked really well actually and I found I had no issues at all with the dough being too crumbly.
Joanna M. December 12, 2017
These are an absolutely HIT! Hoping I can help out any future bakers who may be making this recipe:
- If your dough ends up being too crumbly to roll into logs, maybe you did what I did and put in 1 stick of butter, instead of 1 CUP (2 sticks). I added in the 2nd stick at the end after I realized my mistake and it turned out perfectly!
- I used 1 tsp vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean
- I spaced them about 1-1.5 in apart. They expand a little but not that much.
Thank you monkeymon, these will become a holiday staple now :)
Olivia C. December 4, 2016
I tried to make these cookies but the dough was way too crumbly. I was able to mold it into logs with the help of cling wrap, but when I tried to cut the logs after a few hours in the fridge, it crumbled to bits. Did anyone else have this problem? I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to salvage the dough. Add another egg yolk?
Jen December 3, 2016
They sound amazing, and I can't wait to make some. But no matter what I try I can't print out just the recipe, it includes all of your post. I would much rather be able to print only the actual recipe if possible. Any suggestions? Thanks, Jen
drbabs December 3, 2016
From the print page, you should be able to copy the recipe and paste it into a word document. Then you can edit it as you wish and print it.
Connie B. December 2, 2016
Does anyone know if these would travel well - thinking of Christmas gifts.
Jaclyn P. December 22, 2015
Can I use vanilla extract instead of a bean? I can never get those at my grocery store.
Colleen Y. November 16, 2015
how far apart would you space them?
This-is-T December 22, 2014
Made these as directed and they were too crumbly to even bake. Not sure what went wrong??? Should I have added another egg yolk?
Olivia C. December 4, 2016
I had the same problem. When I tired to cut the log, it crumbled into a complete mess. Were you able to fix the dough?
monkeymom December 17, 2010
So glad you like them KitchenButterfly! Thanks so much for testing them (with your daughter!). I agree that these are very versatile. Hazelnut and cinnamon sound so good!
mrslarkin December 14, 2010
Yum! I just saw these now!! So funny, my husband brought home a few cookies from work the other day, and it was a chocolate cookie with white chocolate topping and crushed candy canes on top, and I thought "wow this is a really great cookie!" Now I can make them! Thanks for recipe, monkeymom!
monkeymom December 17, 2010
Your welcome mrsL! Hope you like them!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 10, 2010
Wow!!!! Love love love these. I just iced them and sprinkled candy cane pieces and all set to go with all my cookies i baked today. I love your recipe and thought I'd pass along another idea for a ganache i've done: add a little strained apricot preserves. It adds some pectin to firm up the chocolate nicely and brings out a subtle hint of fruit to the chocolate. Thanks mm!!!
Kitchen B. December 10, 2010
What a wonderful ganache idea. Now I'm tempted to share one back - I mae citrus dust all the time - I cut and oven dry thin slices of citrus, mostly orange. Once dried, I blend, sieve twice and then the powder to the ganache for a burst of flavour
Sagegreen December 10, 2010
Great ideas! Nice recipe, monkeymom.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 11, 2010
I love your idea too, KB! I'm definitely going to try making citrus dust!! Thanks so much for the idea.
Kitchen B. December 11, 2010 and if you want to see my citrus dust results!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 11, 2010
I just went to your blog to read it, KB. Thanks so much! I've saved it so I can make these over the holidays!! And I love your blog - and really love the photos!! So beautiful!
monkeymom December 11, 2010
Wow! I'm so happy you like them! I love the idea about the ganache! I also have been eyeing your citrus dust for months KB. There are so many uses for it and it's a great time of year to use them. So cool!
Kitchen B. December 9, 2010
I'm testing excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
monkeymom December 10, 2010
Yay! I made them again a couple of days ago and they actually made more than 50 be prepared for that!
Kitchen B. December 10, 2010
Thanks monkeymom but I can assure you that between home and office, there'll be nary a sable to spare!!!!!!!
hardlikearmour December 8, 2010
These are gorgeous! I bet the white chocolate ganache on the dark chocolate cookie is divine.
monkeymom December 7, 2010
Note: I made a mistake in this recipe - it should be 2 sticks of butter (1 cup), not 2 cups!
food52 editors, please help! Thanks and sorry if anyone has tried it with the wrong amount!
Food52 December 7, 2010
TheWimpyVegetarian December 7, 2010
Whew! I'm making these on Friday!
monkeymom December 7, 2010
Whew indeed! I'd feel so bad if you had made them that way. I made these again today as sandwich cookies with a white chocolate filling (like oreos). The sable dough is in the beginning very sandy but if you keep mixing it, it will come together. It reminds me of pate sucree. It's very forgiving. You can roll these and cut cookies or reroll scraps into a log and cut them pretty well when they are not still room temp. Hope they go well for you!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 11, 2010
My husband loved these so much that the only improvement he could recommend was making cookie sandwiches, as you did, so you could more of them more quickly :-) I made extra dough and froze it. Having some friends over next Saturday and think I'll add these little cookies to the dessert plate.
Threemealsaday December 4, 2010
These look great. I think I will add it to my 2010 holiday cookie trials. Have you ever thought of putting some rum in the sable?
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
I have to bring 5 dozen cookies to a holiday party, and these have GOT to be one of the types I bring. They soooooo good!
monkeymom December 2, 2010
Thanks CS! Let me know how it goes!
drbabs December 2, 2010
oh, yummmmmmm.
monkeymom December 2, 2010
thanks drb!