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