post on the Daring Baker's Challenge. I really liked the buttery and crumbly texture of this cookie/pastry and it struck me as a cross between a butter cookie and shortbread.
So, when my copy of Baking by James Peterson arrived yesterday I noticed an interesting take on the pate sablee in the form of a marbled sablee combining plain dough with a chocolate dough. Looked great and I decided to try it out.
Now, the recipe given in the book is slightly different from the one I used last month. All told, it turned out OK but I think I like my other recipe better. It was much easier to work with overall. The Peterson version was a bit wet and sticky and made it difficult to use in a cookie. Even chilling only relieved the problem somewhat. Sure, I could have dumped in some more flour but I was determined to stick to the recipe word for word.
I'll post the recipe I used last month here because I think it is better for this kind of work. The biggest adjustment would be the cocoa powder. Peterson's version of the chocolate pate sablee calls for 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Now one thing I noticed in Peterson's directions was that he doesn't have you combine the wet and dry separately and then beat them together. Instead, he has the butter and flour beat together first and then the other ingredients are added in after that step. So, I'm wondering if that might have had some effect on the overall consistency of the dough. My rational mind says not, but when dealing with pastry and baking when something is combined can have great effect.
So, I'll give you my preferred recipe for the plain pate sablee and then Peterson's version (with my notations) for the chocolate dough and then how to assemble the cookies.
Plain Pate Sablee (courtesy Daring Baker's Challenge)
2 egg yolks at room temperature
6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup + 3 tablespoon Unsalted butter, ice cold, cubed
1/3 teaspoon Salt
1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. (Note, when I made this originally I whisked until the mixture "formed the ribbon" - that is, until there is a trail left in the mixture when you pick up your whisk and allow some to drizzle back on top.) Pour the egg mixture into the flour and butter.
Beat until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and mix again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a log, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Chocolate Sablee (James Peterson)
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg white
Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt together with a whisk. Add the butter and egg white and beat until dough comes together. Form into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
Note: You'll notice that Peterson's recipe does not call for leavening. I'm wondering if this has something to do with the difference in texture I noticed in this recipe. It's hard to say but, if you do this and find your dough is still wet (as was mine) I'd suggest trying 1/2 to 1 tsp. of baking powder to see if that helps bring it together better and would keep the chocolate portion from having a "crackly" appearance when baked. Worth a try and I'll experiment with it the next time I do this and update this post. Meanwhile, if you try it and experiment, please leave a comment saying how it turned out for you.
Assembling the cookies
Remove the plain and chocolate doughs from the refrigerator and slice into long strips and squeeze together to flatten. Lay the strips side by side and scrunch together. Then roll the dough with your hands into a cylinder about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Slice it into cookies about 1/3 inch thick.
Place cookies on silicone pad or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350° oven for about 12 minutes or until the bottom edge just barely begins to brown. Remove from sheet and allow to cool on wire rack (or allow entire sheet to cool on wire rack.)
These can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.