Blog European Chocolate Butter Cookies
With Bastille Day coming up on July 14, this week's recipe is a tribute to two French classics: the Eiffel Tower and sablés.
Gustav Eiffel's tower is arguably the best-known landmark in Paris, if not in all of France. In 1889, the wrought-iron structure was the main attraction at an international exhibition held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Controversial for its imposing size (almost 1,000 feet tall) and daring shape, the Eiffel Tower was supposed to be torn down and sold for scrap after 20 years. Apparently, it grew on the Parisians, though. Still standing tall over a century later, the tower has drawn more than 243 million visitors.
Sablés (shortbread-like cookies with a buttery flavor and slightly sandy texture), while diminutive in size, are monumental as French culinary traditions go. One ingredient that makes them special is the butter they use. There are two main differences between European and American butter. Much European butter is made from cultured cream, which gives it a bit more buttery tang, and it also has a higher butterfat content (roughly 85 percent fat versus 80 percent for American butter). You can buy European-style butters at most good supermarkets in the States, and it's worth trying in a recipe like this. (Make sure the butter is unsalted, though, or it will change the flavor of the cookies.) Though these sablés are chocolate, they are a little lighter on cocoa than some of our other chocolate cookie recipes, so that the chocolate doesn't overwhelm the butter. As for the crumbly texture, this recipe produces cookies that are a little sturdier than the average sablé, or they would be too difficult to roll out, but they have a crispness reminiscent of the real thing.