Holiday Sables


Sable cookies from Black Fox Homestead

Sable” rhymes with “day” not “stable”. They’re French and they’re fancy.

These cookies are basically a rolled shortbread. One cuts the butter into the flour and the flour coating the fat creates the distinctive “sandy” texture that gives these cookies their name.

I’ve cut mine in a fleur de lis pattern as a nod to their French origin and dusted them with a gold sugar; but any pattern and any decor is fitting.

Rolled cookies like these do take some time so put on a pretty holiday apron, turn on some music (I like Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for projects like this) and set to work.

Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare your cookie sheets either by lining with a silpat, parchment, or lightly greasing them.

Cut into small chunks 1 cup of unsalted butter, chilled and firm but not too hard.

Combine the butter in a large bowl with 2 3/4 cups of flour.

With a pastry blender cut the butter into the flour until it resembles fine crumbs.  Set aside.

Beat together until well blended:

3 large egg yolks

3/4 c sugar

3 T powdered sugar

pinch of salt

1 1/2 t vanilla

2-3 drops of almond extract if desired

Mix the egg yolk mixture into the flour and butter mixture, then  knead to form a smooth dough.  Divide the dough in half, placing each half in between large sheets of wax paper.  Roll each portion out to 1/4″ thick with a rolling pin.  Keeping the paper in place, layer the rolled dough on a tray and freeze for about 15 minutes.  (This step will help the cookies keep their shape while baking).

Working with one portion at a time, gently peel away and replace 1 sheet of the wax paper.  (Replacing the paper will make it easier to lift the cookies later on) Peel away and discard the second sheet.  Using your cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and transfer to cookie sheet spacing about 1″ apart.

Roll any dough scraps between the wax paper, and continue cutting until all the dough is used.  If at any time it becomes too soft, refrigerate again briefly.

Bake for 12-16 minutes, rotating cookie sheet halfway between baking time for even browning.  Bake until cookies are slightly colored on top and brown around the edges.  Do not overbake.

Transfer cookie sheets to wire racks and lightly dust with sanding sugar if desired.  Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen 2 1/2″ cookies depending on the size of your cutter.  This recipe was taken from Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies.

Note: The fleur de lis cookie cutter and sanding sugar used in the photo above were purchased from Fancy Flours ~ not an affiliate, just a really fun place to get some unique baking supplies.

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Holiday Sables — 4 Comments

  1. I LOVE shortbread cookies and these sound really decadent!! :)
    I always roll my dough out between two sheets of waxed paper and freeze for a little bit too, have been doing it that way for years. Sure makes cut-out cookies easier!

    • It does. And you don’t have all of that extra flour being added to the dough and making them tough.