My favourite sablés biscuits: 1 dough, many designs

I have this thing for sablés and I’m not the only Moroccan who does. In fact, I’ve been in contact with many people for all corners of the globe and everyone loves them.

Sablés are buttery biscuits (or cookies for some) which could be flavoured, enriched and finished in endless ways.
Apart from the round-whirl biscuits with cherry, all these sablés
were made using the same dough
Like many countries, sablés à la confiture (jam biscuits) are a nation’s favourite (especially children). In Morocco, the standard jam used to fill these biscuits are apricot or strawberry jam due to the abundance of these two fruits in Morocco (in their season).
Thin sandwiched sables with dulche de leche inside. Smear the edges with the
same filling and roll them into the little candy balls
In the last 25 years, we started using confiture de lait (literally milk jam) which you may know as dulche de leche. The shortcut to this caramelised spread is to buy a sweetened condensed milk can and cook it (unopened) for a couple of hours in a hot water. The result is so yummy!
Fill a pot with water to cover the can of sweet condensed milk, cover the pot and
let simmer for a couple of hours. Open it once cool and save it for months
Moroccan women and Moroccan bakeries are very creative when it comes to making sablés especially with the finishing touches.

Different finishing touches 
Have fun with your cookie-cutters but make sure you try my trusted sablés’ recipe. I’m posting it because wherever I lived and offered them, I was asked to share the recipe, especially when I use lime zest in the dough and sandwich the biscuits with a red berry jam (raspberry, strawberry).
If you ask me, the sablé’s biscuit dough is easy but tricky at the same time. It’s a delicate bake that needs attention and love (the hidden ingredients). You just need to learn a few tricks to get it always right.  
Make sure you dust the upper biscuit first with icing sugar before
sandwiching it with the bottom part
Makes 40 + (depending on the cutters used) 
Prep: 15 min- Resting time: 10 min to 1 hour – Baking: 10-12 min
The biscuit dough
  • 400g of flour
  • 250g of soft butter, at room temperature 
  • 250g of powdered sugar
  • 100g of corn starch 
  • 7 g of baking powder
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk 
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract or vanilla beans from 1 pod (if the filling will be dulche de leche)
  • Zest of 2 limes and/or 2 lemons (if the filling will be jam)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Filling (choose your options)

  • 100 g of dulche de leche
  • 100 g of good jam
  • 80 g of gianduja spread

Finishing (choose your options)

  • 1 egg yolk (for a finishing like the small Christmas trees)
  • 100g of blanched, fried or baked almond, coarsly crushed
  • 100 g of dark or milk chocolate (if making the hearts with half-dipped side)
  • 100g of lemon royal icing (1 tbsp of lemon juice mixed with 200 -250g of icing sugar) and small candy balls
  • 40g of icing sugar
To stick crushed blanched and fried almond, you just need to brush the surface with honey
or apricot marmalade that’s been warmed and sifted

This sablés’ recipe uses the creaming method rather than the crumbling one.
Using an egg beater or a food processor fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with sugar, salt vanilla or zests for a few minutes to reach a creamy texture. Add the eggs and beat to combine.

Fold in the other dry ingredients. Form a ball and place it in a big cut of cling film. Flatten it 1cm thick to form an “abaisse”.Cover with a the cling film and transfer to the freezer for 15 min or in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven at 170 C and line up the baking sheets with baking paper.

Roll the cold dough between 2 sheets of baking paper. You may use a tablespoon of flour to dust the work surface. Roll the dough as thin as 2 mm bearing in mind the dough has baking powder so it will rise slightly.
Cut shapes, lift them with an offset spatula (or a knife) onto the baking sheet as you go. It is important that the dough remains cold and that you lift the biscuits delicately so you do not damage their shape. If the biscuit cuts warm up, place the whole baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes (hopefully you have space). 
Make sure you count the biscuits in pairs as you will be sandwiching them later.
You could use some cookie-prints (many options available in Morocco)
It is also advisable that you make some extra units from each shape as some might break or burn.
For the top biscuits with a hole in the middle, If you are not so sure about how steady your hands might be, cut the hole and pinch the excess dough once the biscuit cut is already in the baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden from the edges.
The biscuits should NOT be fiddled with in the first couple of minutes as they tend to break, so be patient and then gently transfer them onto a grill to cool.
Assembling and decorating the biscuits

Use a knife or a spatula to smear your preferred filling. Follow these instructions to finish the sablés:
  • For biscuits with icing sugar on top, dust the top part before sandwiching it with the bottom part which you would have already smeared with the cold filling.
  • For biscuits with almond bits on top: warm a 3 tablespoons of apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of water and sift. Brush the side where you want to stick the nuts powder then roll it side in the it. Warm clear honey will also do.
  • For biscuits with half-almond powder and half-chocolate: start first with the almond side, clean the edges with your fingers to have a neat finish. Dip the other side into melted chocolate, get rid of any excess and then place each sablé on a baking paper. Let the chocolate set before moving them.

The sablés keep well for a week if you put them in an airtight container. I tend to fill them with jam in the day I want to serve them so they don’t get soaked and last longer. 

I also keep any excess dough in the freezer which I use for biscuits but also for tarts.


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