I recently bought a new Dorie Greenspan cookbook titled Baking Chez Moi. I know – just what I needed another cookbook. One of the recipes that immediately caught my eye was Viennese Sablés. Greenspan describes these cookies as “butter-rich, sweet but not too sweet, perfectly salted and beautifully scented with vanilla.” With a description like that, how could I not try these cookies?
I used the following ingredients for the Viennese Sablés: Unsalted butter, confectioners’ sugar, fine sea salt, egg white, vanilla extract, and all-purpose flour.
Making the Viennese Sablés
I started by beating the room temperature butter, sifted confectioners’ sugar, and salt on low speed just until the mixture was smooth. Per the recipe the mixture should be homogeneous, but not fluffy.
Then I beat in the egg white which initially caused the dough to separate.
After beating on low for about 1 minute, the mixture was “slick and slidey.” Next I added the vanilla extract, and again beat on low just until the vanilla was incorporated.
Finally, I added the flour, and beat on low only until it disappeared into the soft dough.
Now came the time to pipe the Viennese Sablés into a “W” shape with a star tip. The reason for the “W” is that the cookie was developed by Pierre Hermé at Wittamer, which is a famous pastry shop in Brussels. The other reason is that the original cookie was thought to have been invented in Wien which is German for Vienna. So much for history. I added the dough to a pastry bag with a large star tip using the technique that Susan taught me – adding the dough with an ice cream scoop. Also if you place the bag in a tall cup or glass it will stand up for easy filling.
I piped the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet in tight “W” shapes that were about 2-inches wide and 1 ½-inches high. I left about 2-inches between the cookies to accommodate the spread as they baked. Per the recipe, I should have ended up with 24 cookies. However, I only got 15 cookies out of the recipe. Maybe my “W’s” were larger than they should have been? Next time, I think that I’ll use my cookie press.
I popped the Viennese Sablés Into a preheated 350° F oven for about 17 minutes until the edges were golden brown. After allowing the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Oh my, are they good! As a comparison, the Viennese Sablésé taste like the Danish butter cookies that come in the blue tin, only better. In addition, they have the “sandy” texture that is characteristic of Sablés. Yum!
If you’d like to check out another variation of this cookie, check out my Meyer Lemon Sablés.
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- 9 Tablespoons (4 ½ ounces, 128 grams) unsalted butter, very soft
- ½ cup (2.1 ounces, 60 grams) confectioners' sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg white room temperature
- ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons 5.4 ounces, 153 grams all-purpose flour
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting optional
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Place butter in a bowl; sift confectioners' sugar over it; add the salt. On low speed, beat just until smooth, but not fluffy. You want a homogeneous dough, but you don't want to beat air into it. Beat in the egg white. This will make the dough separate and it will be slick and slidey. Keep mixing for about 1 minute. Don't be concerned if the mixture curdles; the flour will smooth it out. Beat in the vanilla and scrape down the bowl. Gradually add the flour, beating only until it disappears into the soft dough.
- Fit a pastry bag with an open-star tip, one that's a scant ½-inch in diameter. Trasnfer the dough into the piping bag.
- Pipe the dough onto the lined baking sheets in tight "W" shapes that are about 2-inches wide and 1½-inches high, leaving about 2-inches of space between them - the dough will puff and spread while baking. You can make the cookies larger or smaller or in different shapes, but whatever you do, leave enough space between them to spread out.
- Bake the cookies for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan at the midway point. The cookies should be golden brown at their edges and on their bottoms and paler at the center. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to racks to cool at room temperature.
- Dust with confectioners' sugar if you'd like, just before serving. Yield: 24 cookies.