by Laura on November 18, 2010

I sometimes wonder how many incarnations of the simple butter cookie have been developed. I love them all, but this is my favorite of all the butter cookies I have baked. It’s a slice and bake, ridiculously simple, and it is rich, buttery, mellow, tender, and utterly delicious. You could make endless varieties—add cacao nibs or fruit zest, roll the log in coarse salt, add herbs or flower waters—but I love plain best, especially for Christmas. Rolled in sparkling white sugar, these little French shortbread rounds are festive and elegant.

This is one of Dorie Greenspan’s recipes from Baking. I love her—she manages to be simultaneously both hip and homey—and what I love most about her books is that her intention to truly teach shines through. Her instructions are so thorough it’s like having a teacher at your hip guiding your every step.

Music for baking sables for Christmas:
A mellow, classic crooner for a mellow, classic cookie: Bing Crosby’s The Voice of Christmas

A few suggestions for sable variations:
Add cacao nibs or shards of dark chocolate.
Add lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit zest and a little juice.
Add fresh rosemary, fennel seeds, crushed juniper berries.

A few ideas for flavor combinations:
Fresh rosemary and orange zest
Lime zest and coarse salt
Crushed juniper berries and finely grated granny smith apple
Cacao nibs and smoked Celtic salt
Crushed pink peppercorns and rosewater
Culinary lavender and lemon zest

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