We recently returned from our annual family retreat to Grindelwald, a small but popular ski resort in the Swiss alps. We have been going there since our son was a mere 1 month old baby, so it was somewhat awakening to accept that, this year, he attended ski school for the first time. Not only did he exceed all of our expectations at being able to focus and participate willingly during his morning lessons, it turns out that he is a bit of a natural at skiing too. Wow. My little baby boy can now ski. He can already speak French and Swiss German better than me, and soon he will be zooming down the black slopes, leaving me behind in the dust!
Each afternoon after we picked him up from his lesson, we would stop by the local bakery for an afternoon tea treat. He has always loved their giant chocolate chip sablé, and this year was no exception. It’s so funny to see the children eat these giant cookies – they are almost the size of their faces!
Once we arrived back home in Zurich, we didn’t have to wait very long before our son started requesting his usual chocolate chip cookie for afternoon tea. So like any proud mother, I have only been too happy to indulge him.
A sablé is a French shortbread cookie and the recipe below is based on one given to me by my husband’s great-aunt. Like most French cookies, this one is rich in butter, but it is significantly less sweet than, say, most American-style cookies. In fact, I should own up now and confess that my recipe below contains double the amount of sugar which my husband’s great-aunt uses; she shook her head in disapproval when she found out, although I was not brave enough to point out to her that she serves her sablés with a pot of jam on the side …
My son was super-excited to come home this afternoon to a plate of chocolate chip sablés still warm from the oven. And I feel better just knowing that our cookie jar is, once again, full to the brim.
- 350 g (12 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 tablespoons caster sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 600 g (21 oz) plain flour
- 4 tablespoons cold water
- 160 g (6 oz) dark chocolate chips
- Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the flat paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract.
- Add a few tablespoons of the flour mixture at a time to the bowl and incorporate on slow speed.
- Once all of the flour has been added, add a bit of the cold water (you may not need all of it) and mix until everything comes together into a soft ball.
- Add the chocolate chips and incorporate this into the dough.
- Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll until the mixture is about 1 cm thick.
- Place the rolled out dough in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Use a large round cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the dough and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. I used an 8 cm (3 inch) round cookie cutter.
- Bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.
- Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
You can make these cookies as big or as small as you like. Just bake them until they are lightly golden.
The cookies keep well in an air-tight container for several days.
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If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird