Super Tasty, Toasted Almond Sable Cookies

Super Tasty, Toasted Almond Sable Cookies

When I go to flea markets or stop by a neighborhood garage sale, I always find myself rummaging through weathered cardboard boxes looking for cookie cutters. Vintage ones, distinctive ones. You might imagine I have drawers full of them, but that's not actually true. I have two small shoe-box sized containers of cookie cutters. That's it. It doesn't actually feel like a lot to some who loves to roll and stamp cookies as much as I do, but the good ones are hard to come by. Beyond shape, I have a fondness for metal cutters with sharp edges, and good structure. Shapes that can cut cleanly through a currant or dried cranberry if need be. Today, I thought I'd show you a few of my scores, and share a favorite cookie-cutter friendly recipe as well.

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

So, I love my Swedish heart cookie cutter. It's roughly the size of my palm and is perfectly symmetric. Here's the thing. Hearts are a popular shape for cookie cutters, yet each heart is an individual. Some plunge deep, some curve shallow and soft, some are wide and squat, some are tall and elongated...each one says something different with its shape. There are friendly hearts, serious hearts, sophisticated hearts. It's a personal preference, but I tend to like the hearts that are just about as wide as they are tall. Symmetrical, direct, with clean lines.

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

Then there are the wild card cookie cutters that I can't pass up. Like this farmhouse collection. The shapes get a bit mushy over the years, but the primitive lines are charming and the patina on the cutters beautiful. The pig has apparently escaped - note to self to find him.

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

I've been making tiny shortbread in the shapes of small hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs since I was a kid, and tend to prefer tiny cutters for butter-rich cookies. They're the type of cookies where a couple make the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon coffee or tea. Today's cookies qualify, and I picked the teardrop shape.

These toasted almond sable cookies are a take-off on Alice Medrich's charming Whole Wheat Sables, published in her book Pure Dessert a few years back. I love them, and make them a number of different ways depending on what I have on hand. This variation is hard to beat - toasty, nutty, peppered with dried currants. They're made with whole wheat and all-purpose flours, sliced almonds, and the best butter you can come by. That said, I made another variation with June Taylor's candied citrus peels for the Little Flower School class a couple weeks back - swapping finely chopped peel for the currants you'll see in the recipe below. The peel left lovely little slashes of color throughout the cookies, and bursts of citrus flavor. I really loved those too.

Super Tasty, Toasted Almond Sable Cookies

Toasted Almond Sable Recipe

For those of you who've made it this far. I made a note to myself for next time. I'm excited to try this recipe using Dorie's trick of using cultured butter - for a hint of tang. It might be the thing to put these right over the top.

 

Toasted Almond Sable Cookies

4.5 from 4 votes

A couple notes. I used Straus Creamery lightly salted butter here. I like a good amount of salty to counter sweet in cookies like these. And basically, butter cookies like these are all about good butter. That said, you can use good unsalted butter and, in a sense, season the dough to your tastes before baking. If I were using unsalted butter, I might start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and adjust from there. I also tend to bake these a bit longer than typical. I like the bottoms solidly golden, and tops lightly/mid golden.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup / 4.5 oz / 130 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Scant 1 cup / 4 oz / 115g whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup / 1 oz / 30 g lightly toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / currants
  • large grain sugar, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Set aside.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar, salt and vanilla, until smooth and creamy, about a minute. Stir in the almonds. Add the flour and mix until barely combined. Add the currants and stir until just incorporated. Scrape the dough into a ball, and if you feel like it needs to come together a bit more, knead it once or twice on the counter top, or until it is smooth. Shape into a round, flat patty shape wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for a couple hours, or overnight.
  3. About fifteen minutes before you're ready to stamp out your cookie shapes, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350F / 180C. And line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll the dough out 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured counter top, and stamp into desired shapes. You can collect and roll out dough scraps as well, after your first round of stamping. But if the dough gets too warm, pop if back in the refrigerator for a bit. Place cookies at least an inch apart on a prepared baking sheets, sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of large-grain sugar, and chill them one last time in the freezer for another ten minutes.
  5. Bake until the cookies are golden at the edges, 13 to 15 minutes, but watch them closely. It's more about coloring than time here. Rotate the sheets back to front about 9 minutes in. Remove from the oven and after a minute or two transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
  6. I store leftovers in big jars and they keep beautifully for days. The recipe makes dozens of tiny cookies. The yield really depends on the size of your cookie cutter.
Notes

Inspired and adapted from Alice Medrich's Whole Wheat Sables recipe in Pure Dessert. Love this book.

Serves
36
Prep Time
2 hrs
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
 
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • Love the cookie cutter collection. These cookies look and sound lovely- the perfect size for an afternoon cup of tea.

    Melissa
  • Wow. I love you cookie cutter collection. Makes me want to go out and hunt for more. I think hobbylobby is a good place to find a nice variety of good cookie cutters! :) Great post! Will try to try this out :) Im a clumsy baker :P xx G Look who's Wearing (LwW)

    Gayatri Kumar
  • these are so so cute heidi! i love that first picture!

    CharlotteAuChocolat
  • Growing up in a Swedish household, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about with those perfect heart shaped cookie cutters. I really think pepparkokkar tastes better in that shape. :)

    Joanna
  • I never have the patience to actually make roll out cookies, but these tear drop shapes are so elegant.

    Chihiro
  • I love almonds and sables. Like you said, if they are not too big, they are perfect with afternoon tea when all my sugar cravings hit. I have been reading your blog for a long time but never commented until now. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

    Deepika
  • What a great collection of cookie cutters! I'm inspired to get some of my own. Your sables sound great too!

    sally
  • these look so good, heidi. i have all of the cookie cutters from when i was a little girl. using them brings back so many memories. i don't have pure dessert but am having fun making my way through chewy gooey crispy crunchy also by medrich. recently made her graham crackers. xox

    shari
  • Hi Heidi! First-time commenter, long-time reader. These are beautiful, especially with the crystalline sugar. I have a thing for old cookie cutters, too--just old kitchen gear in general, really. I whip cream with a hand mixer from the '40s. Thanks for sharing your collection with us!

    Sarah
  • My daughter loves butter cookies and prefers them to the sweeter more traditional "kid" cookies. Although she's a stickler about not having chunks of anything in the cookies... I'm thinking about grinding the almonds into a texture like flour and using almond extract instead of vanilla. Might I have to pull back on the flour if the almonds are ground up that way?

    Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat)
  • My husband's Nana has the most extraordinary cookie cutter collection, which is wonderful as she has a recipe for the lightest, crispest sugar cookies I've ever had. I look forward to my baking lesson with her, and a shot to use her cookies cutters. I hope to share this sables recipe next time we have a visit. Thank you.

    Molly
  • I love collecting cookie cutters. I definitely need some more small ones! These look so elegant. Time to schedule another trip to Amish country; they have huge selections of cutters. I want some little animal shapes, too! Love the currants in these as well.

    Christina
  • My mouth is watering seeing these recipes. I hope i can prepare them at home too.

    Robbin Mann
  • Is it wrong that though I'm not really in to baking cookies I suddenly really want to collect cookie cutters? :)

    JL goes Vegan
  • Oh my! You have the cutest and most unique cookie cutter collection. I love it! These cookies sound so tasty. Great post!

    Katrina
  • I've never been able to get cultured butter, however I highly recommend goat's butter in shortbread type cookies. It goes great with cornmeal and lemon shortbread, but my favourite is to make Dorie's pecan powder puffs with it and almonds. Though you may need to cut the salt in the rest of the recipe. Or just to eat it spread on toast/muffins/banana bread. HS: Ooh. Great tip Shaney. I'm all over this.

    Shaney
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