Vanilla Bean Sable

Makes Approximately 30 Cookies

What is a sable?

A sable is by far the most popular cookie in all of France.  Many variations may be found, but this is the basic cookie.   You can switch it up by adding orange or lemon zest, chopped roasted pistachios or hazelnuts, or throw in some chopped dried cherries or cranberries.  These gems can be dipped in luscius melted chocolate, or maybe a little drizzled on top.  Make them yours, but first, give these basic treats a try.  You’ll be glad you did!

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 vanilla bean pods, scraped (or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste)
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg, divided*
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sanding sugar (turbinado sugar works as well)  This is used to coat the dough logs.
  • *Egg yolk is used in the cookie dough and egg white is brushed on the dough log to help the sugar adhere to the dough.

Sable, in French, translates to “sandy”.  It is not only the name of the cookie, but also describes the “sandy”ish shortbread texture.

In order to achieve that, be sure to mix the dough at the lowest speed setting.  You want to prevent adding air to the dough.  With  this cookie, we’re not going for the typical light and fluffy creaming, and when you add the flour,  you may choose to do this with a wooden spoon.

Making the Sable Cookies:

Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl.  Cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape the seed pulp into the bowl.  Using your fingers, rub them together until blended.   If using vanilla bean paste, skip this step.

Add the butter, vanilla bean sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl (or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment).

Mix on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute (you don’t want it to get light and fluffy).

Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Add the egg yolk and mix for 1 minute.  With the mixer still on low speed (or by hand), stir in the flour just until blended.

Finish by kneading the dough with your hands, just until the dough comes together.  Divide the dough in half  (I like to use my scale for this).   Shape each half into 6″ log.  Wrap the logs in plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

Baking the Sables:

Position oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line baking sheet (s) with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Sprinkle about 1/2 cup sanding sugar onto a piece of parchment paper.  Combine the reserved egg white with a tablespoon of water in a small bowl and whisk with a fork.  Brush each log with the egg wash and roll it in the sanding sugar until evenly coated, adding more sugar if necessary.   Using a knife, cut the dough into ¼” thick rounds.  Place them on the baking sheet, leaving about 2″ between the rounds.

Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes (rotate pans halfway through), or until they are slightly golden brown around the edges and on the bottom.  Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before serving.  Sables aren’t eaten warm.  They should be cool so that their texture will set properly.

The pictures below show the cookies baked on a silicone mat verses parchment paper.  They were both baked for the same amount of time.  I didn’t see much of a difference between the two, and they were both delicious 😋!

Store cookies in an airtight container (I like to use cookie tins) for up to 1 week.


I hope you make these yummy treats, and if you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your photos!

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