Dorie Greenspan’s Vanilla Bean Sablés
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Looking for an elegant, festive cookie to gift this holiday season? Look no further: Dorie Greenspan’s vanilla bean sablés. These are my ideal of a cookie — perfectly sweet, deeply vanilla, nicely salty, sandy textured. A “sparkling sugar” crust makes for a festive and elegant presentation. Tuck them into paper-lined boxes or in cellophane bags tied with baker’s twine and gift away! I find these sablé cookies completely irresistible.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned I had received a package of cookies in the mail from some friends who were spreading Dorie Greenspan’s #cookiesandkindness message. The delivery filled me with such joy, I decided to play along, too, but the little ones in my house quickly foiled my plan.
Yesterday, I re-initiated my efforts, making a batch of vanilla bean sablés, a Dorie Greenspan recipe I discovered earlier this fall while paging through Baking Chez Moi, a cookie Dorie declared as her “favorite.” When I pulled the pan from the oven, I set it down clear out of what I thought to be little-people view. But no sooner had I transferred the cookies to a storage jar than I heard a voice ask: “Where did the cookies go?”
Surely I could spare a single sablé I reasoned, so I gave Graham one, reminding him: This. Was. It. But a few minutes later, he returned, looking up at me with big, twinkly eyes, and noted: “I just can’t stop thinking about those cookies.”
What was I to do? Soon, the others caught wind, and before long half of the cookies had disappeared. Drats! Feeling like a hopeless #cookiesandkindness ambassador, I took action. I pulled out some decorative boxes, packed in the remaining cookies, tucked the boxes into a small flat rate box, duct taped it closed and set it aside, destination unknown. But those cookies will be in the mail today! The #cookiesandkindness message will radiate! I vow to make triple batches of sablés from here on out!
What Are Sablé Cookies?
- Sablé cookies are, in essence, French shortbread. They’re buttery, sandy-textured, nicely salty, and perfectly sweet.
- Logs of sablé cookie dough freeze nicely, so don’t be afraid to make the dough ahead of time. Bring it to room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing and baking.
- Cooked sablé cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Gift them in tall, clear, cellophane bags, tied in baker’s twine. These are nice: Wilton Treat Bags
Friends, Dorie’s Cookies, Dorie’s latest cookbook arrived yesterday, and there is a whole chapter — “The Beurre & Sel Collection” — devoted to sablé-like cookies, which I find completely irresistible: perfectly sweet, nicely salty, sandy textured. Of the 16 variations, several are sounding particularly tempting: coconut-lime, mint chocolate, and blondie. I cannot wait to explore. Incidentally, Dorie’s Cookies is one of the heaviest cookbooks I have ever held, no doubt a measure of the #cookiesandkindness packed within its pages.
I loved this tip from Dorie: Stash the emptied vanilla pod into a canister of sugar, and you will have vanilla sugar—and you will! Truly, your whole tub will smell of vanilla.
Can you see the vanilla caviar speckling the dough?
I found this Decorative Sparkling Sugar at a local store. The sparkling sugar looks so pretty on the cookie edges.
Vanilla Bean Sables
- Total Time: 3 hours 32 minutes
- Yield: 36
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi
These are my ideal of a cookie — perfectly sweet, deeply vanilla, nicely salty, sandy textured. I found Bob’s Red Mill Decorative Sparkling Sugar at a local co-op (Honest Weight in Albany), and it is so pretty and nice to have on hand.
Having played around with the baking times/temperatures a bit due to my unreliable oven, I’ve found what works for me:
- Oven at 300ºF (which registers at 325ºF on my oven thermometer).
- Bake for 22 minutes, let cool briefly on sheetpan.
- Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time.
The cookies should not be eaten warm.
Storing: You can wrap the logs of dough airtight and keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months; coat them with the egg wash and sugar just before baking. Once baked, the cookies will keep at room temperature in a closed container for about 1 week.
for the dough:
- 1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
- 1 to 2 vanilla beans, pulp removed from pod
- 2 sticks (8 ounces; 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups (272 grams) all-purpose flour
for the edging:
- 1 large egg yolk (or the white saved from the egg used in the dough)
- Sanding sugar or granulated
- Put the granulated sugar and vanilla bean pulp in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl in which you can use a hand mixer. Using your fingertips, rub the vanilla into the sugar until it’s fragrant.
- Add the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl and, using the paddle attachment, beat on low speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy (you don’t want it to get light and fluffy), scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Drop in the egg yolk and beat for 1 minute. Add the flour all at once. Mix on low speed just until the flour has disappeared (or do this last little bit by hand with a flexible spatula).
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it in half. (You can use a scale to get two equal halves if you wish.) Shape each half into a log about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs in parchment or plastic film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- When you’re ready to bake: Preheat the oven to 325ºF. (See notes above re baking—if your oven runs hot, you may want to reduce the temperature. I preheat my oven to 300ºF, which registers 325º on an oven thermometer.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Add a splash of cold water to the yolk (or the reserved egg white) and mix with a fork to blend. Brush each log with this egg wash and roll it in the sanding (or granulated) sugar until it’s evenly coated. Using a sturdy knife, trim the ends of the logs if they’re ragged, then cut the dough into ½-inch-thick rounds. Place as many cookies as will fit on the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
- Bake cookies for 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway. The cookies are baked when they are brown around the edges and golden on the bottom. Let cool briefly on sheet pan, then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. These really shouldn’t be eaten warm; they need time to cool so that their texture will set properly. Repeat the baking with the remaining dough.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Category: Cookie
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American, French
Keywords: cookies, sables, vanilla, bean, sugar, Dorie, Greenspan, Christmas, gifting
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
55 Comments on “Dorie Greenspan’s Vanilla Bean Sablés”
I’ve just added this cookie to my list of possibles for Christmas gifts. I imagine it would be very pretty with red and/or green sugar for sparkly holiday cheer, and the one-week lifespan of the cookies makes them a great candidate for mailing. I have Baking Chez Moi, but somehow missed this recipe; I think it’s time to pull the book from the shelf to search for other gems. Thank you!
Definitely on all fronts! These cookies keep very well. I haven’t tried other colors, but I imagine they would be pretty. And I know, there are so many gems in Baking Chez Moi. I just bought a canele mold, because I’m suddenly obsessed. Trying Dorie’s recipe first!
When a child tells you they can’t stop thinking about a cookie, how do you not give them more? These look fantastic! They are now on my baking short list!
Tracy, right?! Also hieeee friend! Hope you are well. xoxo
I received that book yesterday from Amazon and when I picked up the box I thought for sure that they had sent me the wrong thing. Or more than one thing. It is a lovely weighty book!
This recipe is fabulous. Thanks for reminding me how much I it. I’ve made it before and can’t wait to delve into that heavy book.
It is a lovely weighty book indeed! These are so good, Lisa.
They look delicious and what a doll!
Thank you, Monique!
Are these cookies hard to bite down? Reason why I’m asking: would these cookies be good to send to elderly people? Please don’t laugh! Can I adjust the recipe to make them a bit soft? But not too soft. Ah, Christmas. Joyeux Noel! Michael K.
I love it! And, yes! These would be great for elderly people — the texture is dry and crumbly. They are not soft and chewy or thin and crisp. These kind of melt/dissolve in your mouth. I think they will be well received by older folks.
I’m a bit confused after reading the note….are you supposed to bake these at 300 or 325 degrees?
Hi Kim! Great questions! I just edited the recipe because that was confusing. The oven temperature should be about 325ºF, so if your oven runs hot, I would set it for lower. I’ve baked them at 350, too, and they still taste great/come out great, but I prefer the results at the lower temperature. Hope that helps!
Love Tig’s costume. I love sables too. Yum! These look great!
Thank you sweet Dana!! xo
These look so good! Pretty, too! Perfect cookie for a shower that I am hosting.
Thank you for sharing!
🙂 🙂 🙂
Ali, I just made these and they are delicious! They are tender and so full of flavor. Yum!
I know you said to not eat them warm because the desired texture wouldn’t be set yet, but…
I couldn’t help myself! I had one and after that one I know exactly why your son couldn’t stop thinking
about those cookies. I will definitely make these for my shower.
Trish, yay!! I’m so happy to hear this. And, I know, it’s nearly impossible to wait … I’m just passing along Dorie’s wishes 🙂 🙂 🙂 So happy you will be making them for the shower. Aren’t they addictive? I think it’s that salty-sweet dynamic. So great to hear from you.
Addictive is right! I agree that it is the salty-sweet combo. They finish with a hint of salt which I love! I used a European butter because it is what I had. So good! I did manage to let the rest cool properly. Thank you for sharing that tip.
Have a great weekend!
Oh, I bet the European butter tastes so good! These are definitely a cookie worthy of using good butter. Have a great weekend as well!
This reminds me of my Irish shortbread recipe.
Very similar to shortbread! It’s so good, Lisa!
These look wonderful! Would you mind posting an update on where you find your cookie boxes (or stationary boxes re purposed) and what sizes you like to order? In another post (on bakers twine if I recall) you had a link out to another company but their website either isn’t working or is not longer secure. I found a bunch on Uline but wasn’t sure what sizes to order. 🙂
Sure thing! The brand of the boxes is Wilton, and my mother found them at Michael’s and passed them along to me when she was clearing out her house. The size of each box is 1.75 x 5.5 x 2.75 inches, and they’re meant for 1/2 lb of candies. I found one on Amazon, but it’s for a very large quantity. This looks like a good deal for baker’s twine. Hope that helps! The exact boxes might be hard to track down, but now that you know the dimensions, I would look for something like that. It’s a nice size for a gift.
THANK YOU!!! 🙂
I love the vanilla sable shortbreads . . . I have made them several times. But the last time they were very soft & butterly. Unlike, my previous batches. Looking at other recipes, do you think 1/3 of conf. Sugar is enough? Many call for 1 1/3 . Thank you for your thoughts.
I just did some googling on humidity and baking and flour and cookies … and well, my brain just doesn’t work like that. Part of me is just wondering if you needed to bake them longer? Did the shape change at all — like, did the cookies spread and flatten? Or was it just the texture. You certainly could increase the amount of conf. sugar, but if the recipe worked before, I’m wondering if it’s something else?
I used my vanilla beans to make vanilla extract. Can you substitute vanilla extract for the beans. If so, how much vanilla extract do I use?
Yes! So sorry for the delay here. I would use 1 to 2 teaspoons. I like to go heavy on vanilla, so I would probably use 2.
Would this dough be good for rolling out and cutting into shapes for bridal shower cookies? Do they puff quite a bit?
Hannah, so sorry for the delay here!! I think you could definitely roll out the dough and cut into shapes — so pretty! You may want to chill the shaped pieces before baking them.
Bummed, my cookies came out dry and crumbly. I checked other postings of this recipe (including Saveur’s) and realized this post is missing a second egg yolk from the batter.
These are so delicious! Made them yesterday and the recipe turned out great. I had only one vanilla bean, so I substituted the second one for 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste. So simple. The hardest part is to wait at least 3h for chilling 😉 and let them reach room temperature after baking 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!
These are so delicious, and super easy to make! I love to add rosemary from my garden to the dough for extra flavor!
Ohhhh … love the idea of a little bit of rosemary!
Made these yesterday Half the recipe was made into sables the other half made into jammers They were incredible.
Wonderful to hear this, Carolyn! I can’t wait to make these… cookie season is much needed this year 🙂
These are the cutest cookies for giving. And they are delicious. I did not have vanilla bean so I added 1 tsp of vanilla. They turned out great. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Great to hear this, Jamie! Happy New Year!
So, regardless of one’s personal oven calibrations, should they actually be baked at 300 or 325?
Hi! The original recipe calls for baking at 325ºF. If your oven is accurate, do that. If not, an oven thermometer is helpful in determining what you should set your oven temperature for — you may have to set it for higher or lower. Hope that helps!
Just made these and all I can say is amazing! I used the scaled measurements for accuracy and made sure not to incorporate too much air while I was mixing. These came out so light and airy with a subtle vanilla flavor. I also really loved the extra crunch and added sweetness from the sugared edges. I’m getting ready to make another batch to keep wrapped up in the freezer.
So nice to hear this, Becky 🙂 🙂 🙂 This is truly one of my favorite cookies. So glad you approve as well. Thanks for writing!
These cookies are awesomely great – not too sweet and lovely texture. Next time I will sprinkle sugar on top of the cookies after placing them on the baking sheet. I like the crunch from coarse sugar. You definitely should try to wait until the cookies are set and cool before eating. Worth waiting for. I also liked how easy it was to make the dough log and that you can freeze them and bake later. Thank you!
So great to hear all of this, Lulu 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing.
Ali, thanks for the great recipe! I have a glut of high quality vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. May either of these be used as a substitute for the vanilla bean pulp in the recipe? Have you tried making the recipe with either of these options when you are out of vanilla beans and the craving hits?
Yes, absolutely! I think your vanilla bean paste will work beautifully here. I would use 1 teaspoon. They’ll be delicious!
These sable cookies are absolutely delicious. I’m making tins of them for family and friends at Christmas time.
They are one of my favorite Christmas cookies! So nice to hear this 🙂 🙂 🙂
Help! I am making these for a party on Saturday and my dough was too crumbly and wouldn’t stay together! I followed your directions exactly and weighed the ingredients with a digital scale but I did use Kerry gold butter- could that be it? Any ideas! These cookies look amazing when you make them!
Hi! Is the dough still in the mixer? Or did you get it into a log? It’s possible you just need to mix it a little bit longer. I don’t think the butter is causing the issue.
I got it into a log but when I sliced it, it mostly fell apart. Mix it after the flour is added or before that? And thanks so much for the reply!
Hi! I think it likely needed a little more mixing after the flour was added. I’m sorry for the trouble with this one!
I am making these for the third time. I follow he recipe exactly and they have come out so delicious each time! I love the crusty crunch that the sugar on the outside gives the cookie! This is a keeper.
Great to hear, Stacey! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂