The Chocolate Sablé is the little black dress of biscuits: reliable, grown-up and with just a little hint of naughtiness! They take no time at all to make, but the rewards are bountiful. I use 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in these biscuits, which might seem like a lot to some people, but salt and chocolate were meant to be together – it highlights the chocolate flavour and enhances the overall taste. Just don’t use table salt; you need a good flaked sea salt, such as fleur de sel. To dress up these cookies even more, I have dipped them in tempered chocolate and sprinkled them with cacao nibs, but this is optional – they are still a wonderful treat without it.
For the sablé dough
275g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt
200g unsalted butter at room temperature, diced
50g caster sugar
200g light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
For the coating
250g dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa solids), tempered
cacao nibs, to sprinkle (optional)
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a medium bowl and add the sea salt, then stir together. Set aside.
Put the butter in large mixing bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat until smooth and light. Add the sugars and vanilla extract, and beat together for 2 minutes until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix together until you have a mixture that looks sandy (which is what sablé means in English), add the chocolate and mix to combine. The final dough should look almost like soil; it should not have formed into one large ball of dough. This is the key to getting the correct texture; mixed for too long the biscuits will be tough.
Tip out the mixture onto a work surface and gently press together to form a uniform dough. Divide in half and roll into two logs, 4cm thick.
Wrap in clingfilm and put them in the fridge to chill for 3 hours or until firm. (At this point you can freeze the dough for baking at a later date, or do as I do and bake one half of the dough and freeze the second.)
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan oven)/gas 4 and line three baking trays with baking parchment. Remove the dough from the fridge and, using a thin, sharp knife, cut into rounds about 1cm thick. Put the biscuits onto the baking trays, leaving 2cm between each one. Bake for 10–12 minutes until set around the outside but still soft in the centre.
Leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Once the biscuits are cool, dip each one halfway into the tempered chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off. Put onto the prepared tray and sprinkle with a few cacao nibs before allowing the chocolate to set fully at room temperature. The biscuits will keep for up to one week stored in an airtight container.
Although I have given a suggestion for the cocoa percentages of the chocolate used in this recipe it is purely a guide; you can use whichever chocolate you prefer. The key is to use one that you love.
(recipe is taken from my book Patisserie Made Simple by Kyle Books and the recipe photograph is by Laura Edwards)