I admit that I forgot about these wonderful sables until my sis and my best friend started separate yet simultaneous conversations about chocolate chip cookies this week. It seems that fate would have me bake up some of cookies, or more specifically my favourite sablés. I, for one, think that they are better than any chocolate chip cookie.
The funny thing about these sablés is that I started baking them only because I was intrigued with its name – Korova. When I saw its name, I realised that it shared the same name of the milk bar in Stanley Kubrick’s haunting film, ‘A Clockwork Orange’. To satiate my curiosity, I did some research on it to see if it has got anything to do with the film. It was a tad disappointing that it doesn’t have anything to do with the milk bar or the film. It turns out the name comes from a restaurant in Paris that Pierre Hermé created these cookies for.
That was the only disappointment I have with these cookies. From the first time I made it, I loved it and vowed that I can eat it over and over again (and maybe finish a batch unknowingly in a single sitting).
I remember having oreos and milk when I was a child. Sometimes you don’t question why you have milk and cookies together, you just do and for a good reason too. Though it is a simple childhood/midnight snack, milk and cookies go so well together. These korova sablés pays homage to this humble snack.
This time, as I made Pierre Hermé‘s korova sablés, I played with things a little with the addition of candied ginger in the dough. I like the hint of mild sweet spiciness that zaps through your tongue in the midst of the dark decadent chocolate. It is almost like a good surprise, popping up when you least expect it to and you are happy with it.
Sablés are my favourite cookie texture (if you can actually pick one) – that melt in your mouth buttery goodness, sandy, crumbly mouth feel is exactly what I look for as I bite into a cookie.
Why don’t you bake some up this weekend and store them in a cookie jar, a little ammunition to starve off your midnight hunger pangs. You know they will come in handy when you browse the web and face an onslaught of photos that make you drool, and your tummy growl. You can then turn to some comfort in that little cookie and a glass of milk.
have a brilliant weekend,
Recipe: Dark chocolate and candied ginger sablés
Adapted from Pierre Hermé’s Korova sablés
Makes 36 sablés
175g all-purpose flour/plain flour
30g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
150g unsalted butter, room temperature, chopped into cubes
80g brown sugar
75g caster sugar
1/2 tsp *fleur de sel or 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate, chopped into small bits
optional: candied ginger bits
1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda together.
2. Cream the butter with a paddle attachment on the mixture and beat until the butter is soft and creamy.
3. Add in the sugars, salt, vanilla and mix for another minute or two on medium speed.
4. Add in the sifted dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. the dough will look crumbly. For the best texture, you would want to work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added.
5. Toss in the chocolate pieces and candied ginger, if using, and mix with a spatula to incorporate.
6. Split the dough into two. Then shape the dough into two logs that are about 4 cm in diameter. Wrap the cookie logs in cling wrap and chill them for at least 2 hr in the fridge.
7. Preheat your oven to 165 deg Celsius. Line the baking trays with baking paper. Using a sharp bladed knife, slice the cookie log into rounds that are 1.5cm thick. Place the cookies on the tray leaving about 2.5cm space between them. (They will spread slightly)
8. Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time, on the center rack for 12 minutes. Allow them to cool on a cooling rack. They are quite fragile to handle when they are just out of the oven, so you should allow them to cool before you moving them about.
*Fleur de sel: I probably have mentioned this before. I would still say it another time: Fleur de sel is my favourite salt, hands down! Fleur de sel translates to ‘flower of salt’ ( it does sound beautiful right?). It is an hand-harvested salt from the coast of Brittany. The one I use is from the small town of Guérande. Fleur de sel is pricy so it’s best to use it sparingly and I would probably not use it for cooking because you would be cooking off its subtle flavours. I love using it with a just grilled steak, a fresh salad, and especially in chocolate and caramel (it just lifts their flavours).
Appearance wise, it isn’t pure white, maybe a little hints of ash colour. Taste wise, it is definitely a lot less salty than regular salt or sea salt, and an almost unique flavour. Texture wise, it is flaky and also a little moist. Still, I think the best way for you to understand its flavour is to try it.