Mondays are never good days for many as it marks another long work week with memories of the great weekend becoming a more distant memory, however yesterday was truly a more sorrowful day here in America. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the people in Boston and all those who were participating or spectating when the Marathon bombing occurred. It is very hard to move on after such tragedy but it is little things that will make it easier to cope with. For me, indulging in sweets is a way to soothe a sad heart and I’m sure it is for many others and so it is only fitting I post this simple but indulgent cookie formula on a day like today.
On a lighter note, this past weekend my parents had to go to a function at one of Florida’s state parks and I was asked to help provide something for them to pass at the potluck. Being a little scrapped for cash lately I decided to pick something that would be unique and stand out enough but utilize ingredients I already had in the pantry. That is when I came across a French gem, the Sable cookie. Sable is French for “sandy” and certainly fits the crispy crumble texture of this butter cookie. The typical American butter cookie is found around the holidays cut into shapes and covered in a sugary frosting, which I knew would not hold up well to the hot Florida elements and is not to mention a bit generic. So choosing the French base dough and giving it a tropical twist felt more befitting for the outdoor occasion.
The preparation is a bit unorthodox. Instead of using a raw egg, the dough is actually made with a hard-boiled egg yolk but it is crucial not to skip this step as it promotes the sandy tender texture. If you were to use a raw egg or egg yolk, the dough would have too much moisture and not be true to it’s name. Besides the step of boiling an egg, this formula has simple ingredients and simple preparation, yet provides a striking European-style delicate confection.
Toasted Coconut Sables
- 1 Egg
- 10 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened (1 ¼ sticks)
- 2 ¾ oz. Sugar ( about 1/3 cup)
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 7 ½ oz. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1/3 cup Sweetened Coconut, finely chopped, toasted
- 1 Egg White, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup Sweetened Coconut, finely chopped, untoasted
- Place egg in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast 1/3 cup of coconut in a small fry pan over low heat, stirring constantly. After the 10 minutes, transfer the egg with a slotted spoon into a bowl of ice water and let cool for 5 minutes. Roll the egg gently across a hard surface, such as the kitchen counter, pressing down gently to crack the shell. Peel away the shell and separate the cooked yolk from the white. Discard the white and press the yolk through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, salt, and cooked egg yolk on medium speed until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula as needed. Turn the mixer speed down to low, add vanilla, and mix until just incorporated. Stop the mixer. Add the flour and toasted coconut. Mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, press dough into a cohesive mass.
- Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 6 inches long and 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Wrap each log tightly in parchment paper. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice dough into ¼ in. thick rounds. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Using pastry brush, gently brush cookies with egg whites and sprinkle evenly with untoasted sweetened coconut.
- Bake cookies until the centers are a pale golden brown with edges slightly darker than the center and the coconut toasted, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Formula yields about 40 cookies. Store the cooled cookies between sheets of parchment in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM YVONNE RUPERTI