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Best Sablé Cookie Recipe

For the best French Sablé Cookie recipe, also called Sablés pour le Thé, or French Tea Sablés, start with the very best ingredients. This is a basic recipe for French butter cookies that opens up a world of possibilities.


sable cookies with an egg wash
sablé cookies with an egg wash

BASIC RECIPE FOR FRENCH BUTTER COOKIES

The French butter cookie, called sablés pour le thé (sablés for the tea), is a very simple, basic recipe. The word sablé in French means sandy, possibly referring to the texture of the cookie, or maybe to the way it was originally made by mixing the butter and flour together before adding the eggs, which gave it a sandy texture.

This is one of our basic recipes for French butter cookies, because the main ingredients are proportionate by weight – 100 grams butter, 100 grams sugar, 50 grams eggs and 200 grams flour. This makes the recipe very easy to commit to memory, and other recipes can be remembered by whatever change is made to this basic recipe.

The recipe is very basic, with four main ingredients. Vary any of these and you get an entirely different cookie. Adding more flour makes a cookie that holds it’s shape. Using egg whites instead of whole eggs makes a crisper cookie. By adding flavors or spices, the variations become almost endless. This recipe is a sablé au citron, or sablé with lemon. This is also the dough for pâte sucrée, that is used for making tarts.

BAKER’S PERCENTAGE FOR THE BEST SABLÉ COOKIES

Bakers use a method of comparing recipes known as the baker’s percentage. This method makes it is easy to see how one recipe differs from another. The flour is represented as 100 percent and the other ingredient are a ration of the flour. This recipe has the following baker’s percentage:

butter 50%
sugar 50%
eggs 25%
flour 100%
Baker’s percentage for Sablé Cookies

BUTTER

HORIZON ORGANIC BUTTER – We use Horizon Organic butter because it tastes better than any other butter we have tried. This is probably because it is organic and from family farming partners. Just as important, Horizon is a certified B corporation that has committed to becoming carbon positive across their entire supply chain by 2025.

SUGAR

We use Wholesome organic sugar, because it is produced from sugar cane fields that are green cut and are not burned or treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. Burning sugar cane fields contributes to air pollution and climate change, and is a major cause of the destruction of the rain forest. Buying sugar from fields that are green cut helps prevent this destruction. The sugar also has a better taste because of how it is produced, but mostly we use it because it is a sustainable choice. It is more expensive than buying the standard brands, but the difference is only a few cents per recipe, so it’s worth it. We also save money by buying this in bulk direct from the company and storing it in jars in the pantry. Instead of buying superfine sugar, we grind the Wholesome organic sugar for a minute in the food processor.

FLOUR

Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour has a lower protein amount than some all purpose flours – 10.5 percent protein. This is a good flour for baking cookies, since it makes them more tender. In addition, the company ensures that the protein content is carefully calibrated, so you get consistent results. Also, it is important to use the unbleached flour.

SALT

We like the quality of Diamond Kosher salt and don’t want the iodine taste. The weight and structure of salt varies between brands so it is important to choose a salt and stick with it to be consistent.

No Affiliates Statement

We call this our “no affiliates” statement because we accept no advertising, have no affiliates and accept no payment. We are not paid to mention brands – we just love buying the best, sharing that information and saving the planet at the same time. The effort put into writing and photographing the blog is solely based on our dedication to the cause.


Since this recipe is written for making the cookies in a mixer, the butter and sugar are mixed together first, instead of the traditional method of mixing the butter and flour first. The dough is made using a method called creaming, where the sugar and butter are beaten together to incorporate air. This gives the dough structure before the eggs and flour are added. This recipe is a very simple cookie that does not include baking soda or baking powder, but just relies on the butter and sugar in the dough for the structure.

It is important not to over work the cookie dough once the flour is added. If the dough is overworked, gluten will form and the cookie will be tough. Refrigerating the dough also helps prevent the formation of gluten.

Best Sable Cookie Recipe
Butter and sugar provide the structure

Sablé cookies are rolled and then cookie cutters are used to cut them into shapes. We roll out the dough on parchment paper so it can be easily put back into the refrigerator if it gets too warm.

Cutting out cookies for the Best Sable Cookie Recipe
Cutting out sable cookies

They are traditionally cut into scalloped round cookies and have an egg wash over the top before baking, sometimes with fork marks on top. However, they can also be cut into other shapes and topped with sugar. We made some with an egg wash and some with sparkling sugar.

baking the best sable cookies
baking the best sablé cookies
Best Sable Cookie Recipe
Best Sablé Cookie Recipe

TIPS FOR MAKING GREAT COOKIES EVERY TIME

These basic tips for making cookies give us great cookies every time we bake. The sablé cookies are rolled and then cut out, but all of the other tips apply.


To make great cookies, it is important to understand a little of the science of making them. They are small, so there is less room for error, which is why measuring accurately is so necessary. And they have very few ingredients, so each ingredient has a key roll, and using the best of each ingredient will make a big difference.

METHOD FOR MAKING COOKIES

USE THE BEST INGREDIENTS – The brands we have listed will let you make great cookies every time. They not only taste better but production of each is controlled so the product is consistent. The size of the sugar crystal, the amount of protein in the flour, the shape of the salt – all these things will affect the way the cookies bake. Cookies are so small that little differences in the ingredients can lead to a big difference in the cookies.

START WITH INGREDIENTS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE – Bring all the ingredients to room temperature before starting. Gather them all on the counter and then leave them there for an hour. This way you ensure that you have everything you need, and everything is at the right temperature.

USE A SCALE AND MEASURE IN GRAMS – Use a scale to measure all the ingredients by weight. This is absolutely essential. The inaccuracies from using measuring cups can easily lead to failure when baking. Different brands of flour and sugar will be different when measured with measuring cups, and not all measuring cups are accurate either. But measuring by weight is the same every time. Measuring by weight is also much easier – just put the mixing bowl on the scale, zero the scale, add an ingredient, zero the scale again, add the next ingredient, and so on. Measuring in grams is more accurate because it is a smaller, more precise measurement than an ounce or pound. Also, grams are often easy numbers to remember, making it possible to make the cookies without looking at the written recipe and easy to compare recipes. Clean up is easier, since there will be fewer bowls and no measuring cups and to clean up. And cooking with children is easier because they quickly learn how to add ingredients until the scale reads the correct amount.

Best Dutch Oven Bread Recipe
Weigh the Ingredients

CREAM THE BUTTER AND SUGAR FOR SEVERAL MINUTES – Cream the butter and sugar for several minutes to make sure they are light and fluffy, but not so long that the butter starts melting. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes in a stand mixer. Do not let the mixture exceed 68 degrees F.

USE A SCALE AND A SCOOP TO MAKE DROP COOKIES – Use the scale to make sure the cookies are exactly the same size. Using a scoop makes forming the cookies fast and easy and will also help maintain the same shape.

chocolate chip cookies

Cookies made with a #24 scoop and then measured on a scale.

REFRIGERATE THE DOUGH OVERNIGHT – This allows the flour to absorb the liquid in the dough and hardens up the butter, making the cookies bake better. You can refrigerate the dough in the bowl covered with plastic wrap, but it is easier to measure out the dough as cookies for drop cookies or form it into a flat square for rolled cookies, and wrap in plastic before refrigerating it.

VACUUM PACK AND FREEZE EXTRA DOUGH -After refrigerating the dough overnight, freeze extra cookie dough as cookies in a vacuum packed container. Portioning out the dough and then vacuum sealing them keeps them fresher and makes it easy to take out just a few for baking.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie dough vacuum packed for freezer

vacuum packed container

USE AN OVEN THERMOMETER – Use an oven thermometer to check the oven temperature before putting the cookies in. The temperature of ovens vary, and may not be the temperature on the dial.

Oven Thermometer

ALLOW THE COOKIES TO COOL ON A RACK – Allow the cookies to cool for a minute on the pan, then transfer them to a rack to keep them from getting too dark on the bottom. The cookies will become more crisp as they cool on the rack, though we realize allowing them to cool before eating them is almost impossible.


Best Sable Cookie Recipe

Best Sablé Cookie Recipe

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Cuisine: French
Author: Lisa LeCoump
A basic recipe for French rolled butter cookies.

CHOOSING BRANDS:

For certain products, the choice of brand will make a big difference in the outcome of the recipe and in your carbon footprint. So, for those products, we have listed the brand. We are not paid to mention a brand and have no affiliates.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • MAKE SUPER FINE SUGAR
  • Using a food processor, grind the sugar to make it into superfine sugar. This will take about a minute.

GATHER THE INGREDIENTS

  • Gather all the ingredients on the counter and allow them to come to room temperature. This should take about an hour.

MEASURE THE INGREDIENTS

  • Use a scale to measure the ingredients – zeroing the scale between measurements. 
    Into the mixing bowl of the stand mixer, measure the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest.
    Into a small bowl, measure the egg.
    Into a small bowl, measure the flour.

MIX THE INGREDIENTS

  • Using a stand mixer with a paddle, cream the butter mixture by beating it on medium for about five minutes. Do not let the temperature of the butter exceed 68° F.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add the egg and continue mixing until it is incorporated (about a minute).
  • With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour. Mix just until the flour is incorporated, stopping occasionally and scraping down the sides. Do not overwork the dough.
  • Gather the dough together, shape into a flat square about an inch thick, dust with flour, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Roll out the dough on the parchment paper until it is about 1/8 inch thick. As the dough warms up and is difficult to handle, transfer the dough back to the refrigerator on the parchment paper using a cookie sheet. Cut shapes using cookie cutters. Sprinkle with sugar or use an egg wash made of a beaten egg and a Tablespoon of water. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place the cookies on the parchment paper with about an inch between them. Put the cookie sheet of cookies into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Bake the cookies until they look done but are not browning. Do not over bake. This should take about 8 minutes.
  • Slide the parchment paper with the cookies off the baking sheet to stop the cookies from baking. Allow them to cool for one minute and then transfer them to a cooling rack by removing the parchment paper.

WHY THIS RECIPE IS SUSTAINABLE:

Check out the chart on the blog post to see how food choices affect climate change. This recipe uses responsible brands and items that are lower on the chart and the production creates less greenhouse gas.

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