Sables à la Poche Cookies

French Sables à la Poche Cookies

The thought of gently clasping a star-tipped pastry bag to make cookies was laughable until fairly recently. It may not seem obvious from posts that involve feats of manual dexterity and shameless whipping, but I am, in fact, a red-blooded male.

While I appreciate any passing mention from fellow bloggers that find my posts somewhat amusing, I can’t help but feel awkward when referred to as a “she” or “her.” Is it my writing style? Is it my amateurish attempts at styling my food photos? My recipe selection, perhaps? Should I start posting about steaks, buffalo wings, and chili?

In any case, these buttery cookies do not help my case at all. For one thing, they’re French. Things that require accented characters to spell or nasal inflection to pronounce are generally associated with sophistication and plucked eyebrows, neither of which apply to me. The recent spectacle of French emasculation in front of an audience of 1.3 billion can also only worsen things, so I’m in a bit of a pinch.

Oh yeah, the cookies. Translating to “sand in your pocket,” sables à la poche are crisp and crumbly. The sandy texture reminiscent of shortbread is achieved through the use of small amounts of liquid and sugar to minimize gluten development. The spread is also limited through the use of strong bread flour, allowing the piped cookies to hold the star tip pattern during baking.

recipe adapted from Michel Suas’ Advanced Bread and Pastry

Sables à la Poche
“Sand in your Pocket” Cookies

makes 2 pounds of cookie dough

Equipment:

pastry bag with a large star tip

For the wet ingredients:

12 ounces / 340 grams butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 ounces / 128 grams powdered sugar
1 3/4 ounces / 50 grams  egg whites

For the dry ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
13 3/8 ounces / 380 grams bread flour
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Cream the butter with a paddle or wooden spoon then mix in the powdered sugar. Add the egg whites slowly and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until thoroughly incorporated, taking care to prevent over-mixing.

Using a pastry bag with a large star tip, pipe into 1 1/2 inch wide mounds.

French Sables à la Poche Cookies - piped

To Bake:

Bake the piped cookies at 325ºF for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and well-browned on the edges.

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24 Responses to “Sables à la Poche Cookies”

  1. bakinghistory says:

    Wonderful cookies. Never tried a version with bread flour, so I am curious to try your recipe. Perhaps I might use a cookie press instead of the pastry bag.
    -manuela

    last blog post: Junket (Got Milk?)

  2. Joelen says:

    These look beautiful! With the holidays just around the corner, I’m definitely saving this!

    last blog post: Project Pastrami…

  3. Dee says:

    Great post, Jude! Erm, I knew you were a He. Despite the gorgeous sables and the star tipped nozzle :)

    By the way, I’ve baked a bread for you. However mumble iusedabreadmaker mumble, as an experiment of course. Is that allowed? No worries, if it’s not.

    So are you succumbing to the barbie next?

    last blog post: Web of intrigue

  4. rainbowbrown says:

    Ooh, very nice bread flour tip. They look neat all scrunchy and unbaked.

    last blog post: TWD Blueberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream

  5. kat says:

    those look like my kind of cookies! & hey I’ll take a man who can cook over any he-man any day!

    last blog post: Thai Mojito Cupcakes

  6. bakinghistory says:

    P.S.
    Actually, I knew you were a “he”.
    What I love of your blog (other than the recipes and wonderful photography)is your writing and your humor!

    last blog post: Junket (Got Milk?)

  7. Ben says:

    Maybe a manly picture of you on the sidebar will help your case more than pretty tasty cookies :-p Let’s face it. This part of the blog-o-sphere is dominated by women and they assume she and her are the best words to describe us all :-D

    last blog post: 13 dishes that made me fat…

  8. Boaz says:

    Jude, I guess you and I suffer from a similar problem. Too often visitors to my blog think I am female, too. However, I am just a male who enjoys baking. I don’t know why that is so surprising.
    Very nice looking cookies, by the way. Suas’s book is fantastic.

    last blog post: 20 boxes of books

  9. Becky says:

    aw jude. guys who bake are very manly! at least i think so. and i love sables…another great recipe!

  10. Clumbsy Cookie says:

    I so wanted to have sand in my pockets after seeing these!

    last blog post: Oreomisu

  11. Dragon says:

    I bet these are perfect with a hot cup of tea and a couple of good friends.

    last blog post: Bridal Shower Cake

  12. giz says:

    I didn’t know you were a “he” and doubt that it would have even remotely altered my opinion of the gorgeous things that come out of your kitchen. ….and hey…aren’t some of the finest chefs and pastry chefs men?

    last blog post: Chicken Satay

  13. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    These beautiful cookies aside, I’ve never doubted you were a “he.” It’s when some started referring to you as a “she” that some seeds — miniscule only! — may have been planted, but your writing style is definitely masculine. ;)

    last blog post: Richmond Country Farms Market

  14. Christie @ fig&cherry says:

    *embarrassed* – I thought you were a girl! But have never mentioned it anywhere, so I’m off the hook in that regard…

    You’re right, these biscuits aren’t doing you any favours in the ‘Manly’ contest, but they sure sound delicious!

    Men that cook (especially well) are an incredible asset to this world. So hurray for you!

    last blog post: A meal for your heart, not your hips

  15. Rosa says:

    Cute looking cookies! I bet they taste gorgeous too! Delicious with a good cup of coffee or tea!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    last blog post: HOLIDAYS – VACANCES

  16. daphne says:

    Grasp! A male who enjoys baking! That’s wonderful!!!!!

    And those cookies look delicious…with the star shapped nozzle-I hv to figure out how to use it.

    last blog post: Feta, Chicken and Spinach Pasta

  17. Deb in Hawaii says:

    I am one of the guilty ones! When I first started reading your blog I assumed you were a “he” because of the “Jack of all trades” thing. When I tagged you with that meme last month I had read something that refered to you as a “she” and thought I was wrong. I just changed that post in the off-chance someone reads it. My apologies!!!!

    PS. The cookies are beautiful!

    last blog post: Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad) for Barefoot Bloggers

  18. manuela – The bread flour keeps the dough from spreading. Hope it works for you! Glad you knew!
    joelen – thanks!
    dee – Just check out your post left you a message. Of course it’s allowed.
    rainbow – The pastry bag exploded when piping the first one but other than that…
    kat – he-man means meathead I assume? Yeah, not me.
    ben – That’s very true. Guys aren’t supposed to know how to turn on a stove anyway.
    boaz – Glad I’m not the only one… Suas’s book is really great. Learning from it at my own pace and it’s so educational.
    becky – Maybe I need ot get rid of my lacy pink apron.
    clumbsy – Hope you try it! Your oreomisu is fun stuff.
    dragon – definitely!
    giz – Maybe there’s some sort of, um, “tradition” in the professional world
    js – I’m just glad I’m being “referred to” at all. Glad to know…
    christie – That’s true I never did mention it anywhere. Haha.
    rosa – Also great with milk for those who don’t want to get wired
    daphne – Hope the nozzle doesn’t explode for you as it just did for me.
    deb – still haven’t forgotten about the tag – I guess I did mention somewhere that I’m a guy. Thanks!

  19. Madam Chow says:

    You are one funny fellow – I actually picture you as this massive body builder type with a secret kitchen obsession that you hide from the guys at the gym. ;)

    last blog post: Gruyère-Stuffed Crusty Loaves

  20. arundati says:

    yeah i second madam chow!! but these cookies are so getting made just as soon as i can recover from fatigue…..thanks for dropping in …. so i could find you…..you now go straight to my rss feeder….smiles………

    last blog post: The return of Recycle Rani – Rasam Soup

  21. Miri says:

    I haven’t even read so much of your blog yet (but am now sinking in!!) to make such a judgement about your gender from the way you cook, but I must confess when I saw the name Jude in my comments section, I assumed you were female! Sorry! thanks for stopping by, your baguettes look great and I know I am doomed to spend the next hour devouring the posts and goodies on this site, bookmark it and come back for more!

    Miri

  22. Madhuram says:

    Sorry Jude, I also thought that you were a female and it’s purely the name and I think most of us assume that food bloggers are only females.

    Even though I’m into eggless baking, I don’t mind eating eggs. The cookies look so soft and crumbly, with melt in your mouth texture.

    last blog post: Eggless Almond Biscottis

  23. rainsun says:

    Hey Jude :)
    I tried baking these cookies last night following your recipe to the T…. The taste is excellent, but the dough spread after baking. Where have I gone wrong? :)

    Your site is one of my favorite, thanks for all those wonderful recipes…

  24. M says:

    Great looking cookies! The name actually means “pastry bag butter cookies” so in this case poche is referring to the bag not pocket and sables to the cookie not sand…word for word translations can be very cute and to be honest I love how the name you came up with reminds me of my childhood; I used to sneak a couple of these cookies in my pocket to take to school and my mom would find out because I would always have leftover crumbs in my pockets “sand in your pocket” definitely seems fitting whether it’s correctly translated or not.

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