I spent a day playing in my kitchen this week. Last month I received a gift from a dear friend. I got to know Kate through LivingTastefully (one of the upsides of having a blog!) and last September I met Kate and her husband, John, when Bill and I were in New York attending a wedding. We were welcomed into their beautiful home and still talk about the wonderful time we had with them in the historic town of Canajoharie.
Kate surprised me with Sablés Maison, a French cookie stamp with three interchangeable silicone disks -- one of the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur, and the Arc de Triomphe -- with a book of French cookie recipes included. Kate knows (oh, how she knows) of my love for France and French pastry, and she was correct in assuming that I would love this gift.
I made both a sweet and a savory cookie. Sablés Tout Chocolat, one of the recipes that accompanied the stamps and sandwiched with Espresso Crème, was the sweet cookie; the savory is a spice-filled, buttery shortbread flavored with curry, tumeric, cumin, and cayenne. It's a great little treat along with an apéritif and is extremely easy to craft as a sliced log cookie. Don't feel like you need to own a set of these stamps to enoy this savory shortbread.
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping into a log
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the salt, curry powder, cumin, pepper, tumeric, and cayenne. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat until combined. Add the flour and continue to mix until incorporated.
2. Turn the shortbread dough out onto a large sheet of waxed paper. With floured hands, press the dough into a strip about 2-inches wide with a length of 12-inches. Wrap the dough in the waxed paper and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to shape. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap and using the plastic as an aid, roll the dough back and forth into a log. Wrap and return to the refrigerator for at least an hour.
3. PREHEAT OVEN to 325˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the shortbread log from the refrigerator. Using a very sharp paring knife (or a piece of fine thread) slice the log into 1/4-inch-thick disks. Transfer pieces to baking sheet, spacing 1/2-inch apart.
4. Place baking sheet on the center rack of oven and bake until set, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Shortbread can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 2 months.
• 200 grams unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling cookies
• 80 grams granulated sugar
• 40 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus additional for rolling cookies
• Pinch of ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 extra-large egg, room temperature
• Espresso Crème, for filling (recipe below)
1. In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.
2. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mixture and beat until just combined and no streaks of flour can be seen. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
4. PREHEAT OVEN to 325˚ F. Remove dough from refrigerator and let warm a bit. This is a rather dry dough and will roll easier if it is not very cold. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly-floured work surface (I like to combine some flour with some cocoa powder), and using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll to a 1/8-inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter (or any other shape, or size) to cut the cookies. Dust off any traces of flour with a pastry brush if necessary. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the preheated oven for approximately 13 minutes; transfer to a cooling rack.
6. While the cookies are cooling, mix together the Espresso Crème.
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups Confectioners' sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder (such as Medaglia D'Oro) dissolved in 1/8 cup hot water
• 1 teaspoon Cognac
1. Combine the butter and Confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until fully combined and smooth.
2. Either spread or pipe espresso cream in between cooled wafer cookies to create a sandwich.
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