Old-Fashioned Sablés

These lightly sweet and earthy cookies rely on a combination of cornmeal, rye flour, and mesquite flour for nuttiness and warmth.

Old-Fashioned Sablés
Photo:

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
About 2 dozen cookies

These sandy-textured sablé cookies from cookbook author Jerrelle Guy toe the line of sweet and savory. Each element of the classic old-fashioned cocktail is represented in this cookie riff on the drink — from the Angostura bitters egg wash for that unmistakable amber glow and salt-pickled cherry blossoms as a nod to the drink’s cherry garnish, down to the crystal rocks glass pattern imprinted on the cookie’s surface. The combination of cornmeal, rye flour, and mesquite flour add a sweet nuttiness and warm, earthy flavor to mimic the caramel notes of barrel-aged whiskey, and spices and orange zest that really tie it all together. Salt-pickled sakura (cherry blossoms) are available at Japanese grocery stores or at kokorocares.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dark rye flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)

  • 1/4 cup mesquite powder (about 1 ounce)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (such as Morton)

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces), at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2 large egg yolks, divided

  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from 1 orange)

  • 1 teaspoon bitters

  • 1/2 teaspoon kirsch (cherry brandy)

  • 24 salt-pickled sakura (cherry blossoms), rinsed and patted dry (optional)

Directions

  1. Whisk together rye flour, all-purpose flour, mesquite powder, cardamom, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in 1 egg yolk and orange zest until combined, about 30 seconds. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Gather dough into a ball, and shape it into a rough log on a clean work surface. Place dough log in middle of an 18-inch-long sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using plastic or parchment as a guide, shape and compress dough into a 9-inch-long x 1 3/4-inch-wide x 1 3/4-inch-tall rectangular log. Run your finger firmly along the log lengthwise to help create 4 flat sides. Transfer wrapped cookie dough log to refrigerator. Chill until hardened, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

  2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk together bitters, kirsch, and remaining 1 egg yolk in a small bowl. Remove dough log from refrigerator, and unwrap on a cutting board. Slice dough log into 1/3-inch-thick squares. Arrange about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Generously brush tops of cookies with bitters-kirsch mixture. Using a pastry blender (or the rim of a square old-fashioned glass), stamp crosshatches (about 1/8 inch deep) on tops of cookies. If desired, place 1 salt-pickled cherry blossom on top of each cookie. Chill cookies in refrigerator 15 minutes.

  3. Bake cookies in preheated oven until tops are golden brown and cookies are firm to the touch, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

To Make Ahead

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.

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