Sables are are French shortbread cookie (pronounced "SAB-blay") which are both buttery and crumbly. I'm not sure that cornmeal, farine de mais, is used much in France, but I've read that there are regions, particularly the Basque and other coastal regions, where corn was introduced from the New World.
Regardless, cornmeal and sables were made for each other. The graininess of the cornmeal totally enhances the texture of this cookie.
The flavor of this cookie is reminiscent of a mildly sweet cornbread but with the crunchiness of a butter cookie. I could imagine adding some bits of jalapeno to these cookies and serving them with chili.... hmmm.
For more sables recipes, check out these amazing chocolate sables, or these vanilla bean sables.
Cornmeal Sables Recipe
Adapted from The All-American Cookie Book.
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 T milk
1 1/2 T vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)
1/2 C sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 C cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
9 1/2 ounces unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 C cornmeal
3/4 C powdered sugar
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, milk, vanilla, sugar, and salt together until full incorporated.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the butter, flour, cornmeal, and powdered sugar until crumbly.
- In a large shallow bowl, combine the two mixtures and knead until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Divide the dough in half and roll each piece between two pieces of wax or parchment paper until 3/8 inch thick. Place each piece of dough, still between two pieces of paper, into the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove one of the rolled out pieces of dough and remove one of the layers of paper. Place the paper back onto the dough and flip it over. Remove the (now) top piece of paper and, using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles and place them onto the baking sheet. Re-roll the leftover pieces and cut them into cookies.
- Bake the cookies, one baking sheet at a time, for 12 to 16 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. The cookies should be barely browned at the edges.
- Continue working with the dough in the freezer as the oven becomes available.
- Cool the cookies for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, and then move them to a cooling rack with a thin spatula.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Linked to the Weekend Re-Treat