Gingerbread Sablé


gingerbread sable

It’s that time of the year again to get out the Christmas cookie cutters and, this year, I’m having much fun with my newfound cookie stamps and baking molds. I love the old-fashioned Swiss-style Christmas cookies, and I thought it would be fun to replicate them using a favourite family recipe.

gingerbread sable

When it’s time for a bit of fun in the kitchen with the children, we often resort to making cookies; the kids have hours of fun rolling out the dough and stamping out various shapes, and the cookies happen to be quite delicious to eat!

This recipe is based on one used by my husband’s great-aunt, who loves to make a big batch of sablé (French butter biscuits) whenever we visit her in France. Aside from the buttery goodness in this recipe, I love how the dough is extremely easy to work with. The children can roll it and re-roll it as many times as they like, yet the dough will remain soft and pliable, but still firm enough to cut out shapes.

gingerbread sable

If I am baking with the children, I always double the recipe so they each have a bit of dough to play with while I get on with the real business of getting some cookies in the oven. Afterwards, I try to salvage whatever dough I can from the children (i.e. the bits which they have not tried to eat raw ?) to make some more cookies, although they usually surprise me with some of their own successfully cut-out shapes (dinosaurs are popular in our home, even at Christmas).

gingerbread sable

To make our usual cookie dough a bit more festive, I added some spices to give it a subtle hint of gingerbread. You could, of course, play with the ingredients to make it spicier, but we tend to receive a lot of traditional spicy gingerbread from friends and neighbours at this time of the year, and I wanted to make something a bit milder and child-friendly.

Our children absolutely love these cookies and devour a whole batch within the space of just a few days. So my recommendation is to hide a small plate of cookies somewhere for you to enjoy on your lonesome with a cup of tea. And don’t forget to save some for Santa too!

gingerbread sable

Gingerbread Sablé

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: Makes about 12 cookies


  • 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons light muscovado sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 300g (10.5 oz) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons cold water


  1. 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.
  2. Add the egg yolks.
  3. Measure the flour and spices into a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the flour mixture at a time to the bowl and incorporate on slow speed.
  4. Once all of the dry ingredients have 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.
  5. Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll until the mixture is about 5mm thick.
  6. Place the rolled out dough in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  8. Cut out shapes from the dough and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  9. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.
  10. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Kitchen Notes

The dough keeps well in the fridge for several days. The cookies also keep well in an airtight container.

Share your photos!

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




  1. Ann 20 December 2016

    Can’t wait to try the recipe. I adore the star and reindeer stamps in your photo. May I ask where they might be available?

    • Eat, Little Bird 20 December 2016

      Thanks, Ann! I bought the cookie stamps from a store in Zurich called Tchibo. They also have an online-shop, but I think they only deliver to select countries in Europe. I’ve just checked their website and it looks like the cookie stamps are sold out, but you might find something else that catches your eye 🙂 Here is the link:

  2. Patrizia Desportes 20 December 2016

    Good morning Thanh, and thanks for the recipe???I’m already done with my annual Christmas cookie baking, but …???I’ll give this recipe a try very soon?
    Do you ever tried to use French salted butter and to replace the cold water with milk? Just my Tuesday morning thoughts??

    • Eat, Little Bird 21 December 2016

      Hi Patrizia,
      I hope you will enjoy this recipe! You’ve asked some very good questions … I do sometimes use salted butter for these cookies, in which case I would omit the salt from the recipe. This happens only when I have run out of unsalted butter (very rare, but it does sometimes occur!). However, as I sometimes worry about the salt in my childrens’ diet, I try to use unsalted butter instead when I’m baking. But I do love my salted butter, which I have on hand to spread on my bread at mealtimes 🙂

      I think you could certainly use milk in place of water. My husband’s great-aunt’s recipe uses water, so I do as I’m told 😉 I think her recipe is very close to a French shortcrust pastry (pâte brisée), and these recipes traditionally use water to bind the pastry. I’ll try this recipe with milk next time 🙂

  3. Beeta @ Mon Petit Four 22 December 2016

    I absolutely adore sablés! They’re so buttery and perfect <3 Every time I visit Paris, I stop by La Grande Epicerie and pick up a box of those La Mere Poulard sablé yummy!

    • Eat, Little Bird 26 December 2016

      Ooh we love those biscuits too!! And I totally love La Grande Épicerie ❤️ I always want to buy so much whenever we go there. For a while, whenever we travelled to Paris, we stayed at a hotel just around the corner from La Grand Épicerie (I also love shopping at Le Bon Marché 🙂 ), so we got to buy food there quite often. Makes me miss Paris just writing this!

  4. Angela 23 December 2016

    These are beautiful Thanh! Such gorgeous cutters too! Have a very Merry Christmas! Xx

    • Eat, Little Bird 26 December 2016

      Thanks, Angela! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you and your family also! xx

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  6. Libby 11 October 2017

    Can you tell me where you got your canal house stamps from?

    • Eat, Little Bird 11 October 2017

      Hi Libby,
      I purchased the cookie stamps and moulds used in these photos from the following store:
      However, I think they only deliver to selected countries in Europe. The houses are made by pressing the dough into a silicon mould. I’m looking forward to giving it another try for Christmas this year 🙂

  7. […] think these Reindeer Cookies will provide a nice alternative to the usual gingerbread cookies at Christmas, although I know I will be baking many batches of the latter […]

  8. […] a lot of cookies in the lead up to Christmas, and whilst we tend to recreate old favourites like Gingerbread Sablé or Swiss Walnut Christmas Cookies for the sake of tradition, I always try to sneak in a few new […]

  9. kate 11 December 2017

    Did I read correctly that the recipe only makes 12 cookies? I do not have a stamp and is the stamp that you use so large that there are only 12 cookies? Thanks-

    • Eat, Little Bird 13 December 2017

      Hi Kate,
      This recipe produces a small batch of cookies. If you are making cookies of this size, then yes, the recipe makes approximately 12 cookies. However, I usually double the recipe and make cookies of various shapes and sizes from the dough. The recipe is fairly easy to scale up or down 🙂

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