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

  • cookie cutters are hard to find... mostly at the store you can only find the crappy plastic ones.

    Pete
  • Those are so appealing! I love the little teardrop shapes and totally agree with you about vintage cookie cutters... new ones can't compare. I noticed the little limoncello cookies in the other jar (those are awesome!).

    Stephanie
  • These cookies look delicious! Love all your cookie cutters too especially the older ones. My mom definitely has some of those antique ones with the red handles.

    Happy When Not Hungry
  • I love finding unique cookie cutters especially vintage ones, which are so fun. Lovely post, Heidi. These cookies look beautiful!

    The Healthy Apple
  • I found some dog-related cookie cutters a few years ago that I adore. I have bones, fire hydrant, and all dog shapes. i make wheat-free dog biscuits for our allergic Basset Hound. I think these shortbreads would be great with lemon and lavender as well. Yum!

    Shannon Marie
  • What a lovely post. I hung on to your every word and laughed when you provided information "for those who've made it this far." I like your aesthetic and also prefer hearts of that shape. Love the recipe too thx!

    Nicole
  • I'm a bit jealous of your cookie cutter collection! Fantastic finds. They are one of my favorite things to look for at garage sales too. I like seeing a whole wheat recipe for butter cookies. Do you think it would be too much to sub in white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose? HS: Hi Jacqui & Pamela too - I think I'd go with whole wheat pastry flour if you wanted to swap in 100%. I think they'd be great - but there is something about this blend that is really perfect.

    Jacqui
  • These diminutive cookies look sublime! There's nothing like the smell of butter baking in your kitchen - it makes me salivate just thinking about it. Love the cookie cutters too. It reminds of my Mom's collection growing up.

    virtuallyhomemade.blogspot.com
  • These diminutive cookies look sublime! There's nothing like the smell of butter baking in your kitchen - it makes me salivate just thinking about it. Love the cookie cutters too. It reminds of my Mom's collection growing up.

    virtuallyhomemade.blogspot.com
  • Anxious to try your toasted almond sable cookies. I have lots of old cookie cutters as well (which I use). They look really nice displayed on a very old cutting board (or weathered wood/barn board looks nice, too) which hangs in my "country room." Love your recipes, books, and photographs, Heidi. Thanks so much!

    Bev
  • Lovely, lovely cookies! Question-any reason not to just sub whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour for all the flour (all-purpose and whole wheat)? Just curious.

    Pamela
  • I love your collection of cutters. I have a collection too! My Grandmother who was a wonderful baker and left me her collection along with 6 cutters that belonged to my Great Grandmother. I love making cookies with them and thinking about them doing the same. I have red handled ones and green handled ones and metal handled ones. I have collected some on my own to add to this collection. Hearts are my favorite shape and they really do come in lots of different "heart shapes". Happy Baking Ginny

    Ginny
  • Heidi- These look so sweet (love the size); there's something fitting about warm spring afternoons and super buttery cookies, too. Envious of your collection -- I have some of my grandmother's and am always on the look-out for me, but I tend to be one of those unlucky garage sale girls. Happy weekend (enjoy this weather!)

    Megan Gordon
  • These look so dreamy that I am looking forward to a steam cup of flavored coffee and handfuls of these gems on this wintry weeknd. This looks like a keeper that migh be a giveaway gift for an upcoming event. Thanks Heidi ... you never disappoint.

    hmsuzy
  • Isn;t it amazing how the shape can make such a difference in the whole cookie experience? It's like pasta - same basic process, but different shapes just ARE different. Your mouth knows it. So I say a large collection of cookie cutters is fantastic!

    Katie@Cozydelicious
  • Have you been to the vintage kitchen shop on Divisidero near Haight? They have EVERYTHING you could want for cooking/baking, and lots of amazing finds that bring you right back to grandma's kitchen...

    leah
  • Okay I'm back to loving 101 Cookbooks.
    I felt we needed some time apart, too much quinoa, farro and lentil face-time. So I'm shallow; I was just needing a tasty baked good recipe with things from my own pantry. It's hard to find hummingbird tear nectar in my neck of the woods.
    No, no, no, don't change for me, but remember some folks eat dessert first and have simple needs. (Seriously, a yummy and welcomed recipe, thank you.)

    Tom @ Tall Clover
  • Wow! These look lovely! I really like the teardrop shape. :-) Definitely another keeper cookie recipe from Heidi!

    Ruth
  • I am obsessed with cookie cutters! I have a huge collection and usually buy at least a set or two a year (usually around Christmas).... Lovely recipe!

    Rocky Mountain Woman
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