Le Grand Aïoli
Cooking for Hugo

Deb Perelman's Intensely Chocolate Sablés


This is just a little love note to the internet, which has been giving obsessives of all kinds an outlet for years and which has enabled the rest of us to shamelessly improve the quality of our lives by following the obsessives' lead whenever they say to. The obsessive I'm particularly grateful to today is Deb Perelman, who blogs at Smitten Kitchen, of course, and whose idea of a good time is tinkering with a recipe, like super-chocolately, not-too-sweet, elegant French sablés, over and over (for years, people!) until she gets it right. So right.

Thank goodness for people like Deb, because lord knows I am way too lazy for tinkering with recipes (and these days, far too tired) and yet I, too, often crave the perfect chocolate cookie, which, as serendipity would have it, Deb figured out last week, right in time for my own craving to strike.


This is the kind of cookie - deep, dark, smoldering and melting and perfect - that you don't even need to go grocery shopping for. If your idea of a good time is keeping a well-stocked pantry, you can probably make these cookies right now, or at least tonight after work. I think you should.

You can do as Deb did and roll out the dough and then cut out little cookies or you can go the lazy woman's route and simple pack the blackish-brown dough into a roll, wrap it in cling film and stick it in the fridge until it's firm. Then all you have to do is slice off as many rounds as you need and bake them to order.

HA! There goes your January diet.


As I munched on a few of these the other day, something was niggling at me about the flavor of the cookies. What I realized a few bites later was that they sort of tasted like Thin Mints but without the peppermint. Uh, in other words, they would be absolutely fantastic doctored up with a little splash of peppermint extract, if chocolate-peppermint is your thing (it is mine, but I know it's not everyone's jam). Luckily, as I am a pantry-stocking freak, I have a little bottle of peppermint extract and will be trying out this version soon soon soon.

A few notes on the recipe: My food processor gave up the ghost a few hours before I wanted to pulverize the chocolate, so I ended up having to chop the chocolate by hand. What this means is that my cookies were a little more chocolate-chocolate-chip-y than I was hoping for, but they were by no means less delicious. Just a little less refined. Also, I erred on the side of using less sugar rather than more and skipped the sugar sprinkle on top. If I had been making these for kids, though, I would have done the sprinkle. So pretty!

Deb Perelman's Intensely Chocolate Sables
Makes about 40 small cookies

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutched cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 to 2/3 cup (100 to 135 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, grated or finely chopped until almost powdery in a food processor

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda together onto a piece of waxed paper or into a bowl and set aside.

2. Cream butter, sugar and salt together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla, beating until combined, then scrape down sides. Add dry ingredients and grated chocolate together and mix until just combined.

3. Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a 2-inch wide log, wrap tightly and let chill in the frige until just firm, about 30 to 45 minutes, or up to a day.

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough log and slice off as many 1/4-inch cookies as you'd like to bake. Space them an inch apart on the sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove the sheet from oven. Leave cookies on baking sheets out of the oven for a couple minutes before gently transferring them to a cooling rack. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.