Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Sablés chocolat à la fleur de sel

Sablés chocolat à la fleur de sel

I've already confessed my addiction to chocolate, which also explains why most of the sweet recipes I make (and of course share on the blog) have chocolate in it. And today's recipe is no exception.
But these cookies are so good and I have baked them so many times that the recipe has to be published on my blog. Even if, to be honest, these cookies are already renowned all over the world (and the world wide web too). Their story begins in France, where they were created by the famous pastry-chef Pierre Hermé (the recipe is featured in his book "PH10"); the American cookbook author Dorie Greenspan, who worked in France with Hermé, included the recipe in her book "Baking From My Home to Yours" and let them know also on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean; then the web made the rest of the story and these cookies have become iconic, and not just for chocolate lovers. If you google you will find that they are also known as World Peace Cookies, and if you are curious to know why they have been so named you can read the whole story on Dorie Greenspan blog (follow this link). What I can say is that, even if they probably cannot bring peace in the world, for sure they are able to make happy anyone who eats them. Because they are absolutely amazing and (I am afraid) addictive, due to a mix of factors: first of all they have a peculiar, unique texture - like sablés, they are sandy and melt-in-the-mouth but lightly chewy thanks to the presence of brown sugar - then they have a strong chocolate flavor - the dough contains cocoa plus is packed with chunks of hand chopped dark chocolate - and finally they are salty, since there is a relatively high amount of salt, and in particular fleur de sel, which is a white, moist and coarse French sea salt, typically used to garnish and finish dishes just before serving. And the salt enhances the already profound chocolate taste, making these cookies particularly attractive.
The first time I made them, several years ago, I chose them among many other inspiring cookies just because so full of chocolate... and salted; at that time I didn't know anything about their origin and popularity and, as I still was an apprentice baker, I didn't even imagine how they would have come out just looking at the ingredients. But it was a success, I loved them immediately and since then they are one of my favorite cookies; it's very likely to find in my freezer a log of dough ready to be sliced and baked. Compared to the original recipe I use a little less sugar because I like an intense flavor of chocolate (but I don't reduce the quantity too much to maintain the original sandy-chewy texture).
Sablés chocolat à la fleur de sel

Sablés chocolat à la fleur de sel aka World peace cookies
adapted from Ph10 by Pierre Hermé
makes 36-40 cookies
175 g all purpose flour
30 g unsweetened cocoa powder                                                         
5 g baking soda
150 g unsalted butter, room temperature                         
120 g light brown sugar (100 gr for me)
50 g confectionery sugar (40 for me)
3 g fleur del sel                
1 tsp vanilla extract                                                                                        
150 g dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solid          
Finely chop the chocolate into chip sized chunks. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together for two to three times until powders are well mixed. 
Working with a hand mixer (or with a stand mixer), beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat again. Pour in the sifted powders and mix slowly until the mixture is roughly amalgamated ; then stir in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.
Work the dough as little as possible after the flour is added.
Then turn the dough out onto a work surface, and shape it into logs that are 3 to 4 cm in diameter (I prefer to make thinner logs since the cookies tend to spread while baking). Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 175°C (325 °F). Line one or more baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1,5 cm thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you're cutting them;  don't worry about that, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie; they will turn well after baking) Arrange the rounds, evenly spaced, on the baking sheets.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes; when you remove them from the oven they shall look uncooked and not firm. As soon as they firm a bit, with the help of a spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack (or more simply transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack) and let them rest.
You can serve them still warm (yum) or let them cool completely.
·         The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you've frozen the dough, remove from the freezer 15 minutes before baking.

·         Be careful not to over-bake the cookies if you want to obtain the sandy and slightly chewy texture they should have. If you bake them too long you will have crispy cookies (always with a wonderful chocolate flavor).  
Sablés chocolat à la fleur de sel

1 comment:

  1. I love dark chocolate as well. It's the one sweet thing I always make an exception for. These chocolate sables look delicious!