Friday, March 13, 2015

Pierre Herme Viennese Chocolate Sables

It's Christmas season again ..... Time to bake some cookies as gifts for friends. Let's go for one of the recipes in Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme's book - Viennese Chocolate Sables. Everyone (or I would say majority)  loves chocolate. Furthermore, I have leftover egg whites in the fridge. Don't waste them. And this recipe uses egg whites only. What a good timing .....

The texture is soft, crumbly, buttery and chocolaty all in one. Have them with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea. Or kids can have them with a glass of cold milk. It's simple and satisfying. These cookies are easy to make too and you will have fun piping them out. Go ahead and try. 

Viennese Chocolate Sables
(Makes about 65 cookies)

260g all purpose flour
30g dutch-processed cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g confectioners' sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp lightly beaten egg whites (lightly beat 2 large egg whites, then measure out 3 tbsp)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degree fahrenheit (180 degree celsius).
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Fit a pastry bag with a medium-sized star tip and keep it close at hand.

1. Whisk together the flour and cocoa and keep close at hand. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a whisk until it is light and creamy - for the recipe to be successful, the butter must be very soft.
2. Whisk in the sugar and salt, then stir in the egg whites. Don't be concerned when the mixture separates, it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.
3. Gradually add the flour-cocoa mixture and blend only until it is incorporated - you don't want to work the mixture too much once the flour is added, a light touch is what will gives these cookies their characteristic crumbliness.
4. Because the dough is thick and somewhat heavy, it's best to work with it in batches. Spoon about a third of the dough into the pastry bag. Pipe the dough into W-shaped cookies, each about 2 inches (5 cm) long and 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) wide, 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets. (In reality, the W is closer to the letter's name than its look - it's best to pipe two attached Us, so that you have a kind of wave. But don't worry too much about this - the cookies will taste fine no matter the shape.)
5. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes - no more - or until they are set but neither browned nor hard. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining dough making sure that you don't put the to-be baked cookies on hot baking sheets. Before serving, you can dust the cookies with confectioners' sugar.

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