French Baking For The American Football Crowd

19 10 2010

Come fall, many Americans living abroad miss the excitement, camaraderie, and all-around fun of watching NFL football.  Nick and I are no exception.  But this year we’ve joined forces with a group of friends to get a pass which allows us to watch all the games we want over the internet.  We’ve been getting together every Sunday night to watch the day games live.  People take turns hosting the gathering, and everyone brings beer and snacks to share.  It’s a convivial atmosphere and a fun group – I dare say I’d have fun even if I didn’t enjoy football.  (But since I do, go Niners!)

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sablés

Nick and I missed the first couple of weeks of the season, but we’ve been going for the last three weeks, and I’ve baked something every time.  The first week we went, I brought these rhubarb crumble bars – I didn’t have any quince jam, so I just doubled the amount of rhubarb filling.  They were devoured.  Then following week, I made the ever-popular bacon-onion dip, but I felt that a sweet of some sort was expected of me, too.  (That’s what happens when you make pastries for a living.)  So I took the opportunity to try one of the many, many recipes I have flagged in Pierre Hermé’s Larousse du Chocolat.

Ideal vs. actual

Looking at those squiggles and imagining the crisp butteriness that surely accompanies each bite, my thoughts somehow turned to peanut butter.  I figured I could swap out half the butter for peanut butter and the cookies would be that much more delicious (and more American football-watching appropriate).  Well, as you can see in the above picture, it didn’t exactly go according to plan.  It turns out that peanut butter is a lot drier than butter, and as a result my dough was way too stiff to be piped out into dainty swirls.  That’s what I get for trying to bake something fancy for a football party.  Still, the familiar rounds with the classic fork design let my friends know that these were indeed peanut butter cookies, despite their chocolatey appearance.  Rolling subsequent batches in sparkly sugar felt even more American.  The only thing that belies the French origin of these cookies is the crumbly texture typical of French sablé cookies – “sablé” being French for “sandy.”  And if you wanted to serve these at your next football get-together, I don’t think anyone would complain.

A French-American alliance

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sablés

The refined tea cookie gets a homespun twist with the classic flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

4.6 oz. / 130 g all-purpose flour
4.6 oz. / 130 g cake flour
1 oz. / 30 g cocoa powder
4.4 oz. / 125 g butter, softened
4.4 oz. / 125 g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy is up to you)
3.5 oz. / 100 g powdered sugar
A pinch of fine sea salt
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
granulated and/or turbinado sugar for rolling (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 355 F / 180 C. Sift the flours and cocoa powder together and set aside.
  2. Whisk the butter and peanut butter until soft and creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and add the salt. Continue whisking until evenly combined. Measure out 4 tablespoons of the egg whites and whisk them in.
  3. Add the sifted flours and cocoa powder to the bowl with the butters. Stir gently with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together. It may help to incorporate half the flour at a time.
  4. Form the dough into 1” / 2.5 cm balls. Roll in sugar, if desired, and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten the cookies by making a crosshatch pattern with the tines of a fork.
  5. Bake about 10 minutes, until cookies are firm with a slight give when poked with a finger. Repeat shaping and baking until all the dough is used up. Cookies will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container.

Makes about 60 cookies.

On this day in 2009: Le Cumin et Les Noix de Pecan

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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14 responses

20 10 2010
nererue

I’m glad the rhubarb bars were a hit, and I’m definitely trying these cookies!

20 10 2010
Hannah

Little bit fancier than my peanut butter + sugar + egg cookies! Though I might take my lame-o cookies and not watching football over yoru amazing cookies and having to watch pansy American football… ;)

20 10 2010
Ann

Beautiful! They look so tender, I can almost feel them crumbling in my mouth. The texture looks slightly like these cornstarch cookies I used to make in junior high school. Have you ever tried that?

20 10 2010
Michel

The cookies look totally yummy! I think you are going to have to root a little harder to get the niners to start winning some games.

20 10 2010
croquecamille

nererue – Glad to hear it!

Hannah – Oh, you Australians and your “rules.” :D

Ann – I haven’t. Are they all cornstarch or is there some flour in there, too?

Michel – Tell me about it! :)

20 10 2010
Sam

I love peanuts with chocolate (who doesn’t?) so I know these would be delicious. The texture looks really delicate and crumble, exactly how a good cookie should be…

21 10 2010
Tammy

Yep. Peanut butter and chocolate are hard to beat. These look great too. Love the sugar.

21 10 2010
Nanan

You can take the Americans out of America – but they still want their football!!! Last fall while I was in Bogota, – I would sit in my bedroom and have my laptop on foxnfl for the live updates for the Saints and e-mail my sister and husband back and forth on my blackberry to keep up with the scores for that comraderie! hahahaha Those cookies look lovely!

21 10 2010
croquecamille

Sam – That’s exactly what they were like! :)

Tammy – I couldn’t help myself, but I really think they look better with it than without.

Nanan – It’s amazing what lengths you have to go to in some places. :)

21 10 2010
hungry dog

These look and sound awesome. I love how the hash marks are the universal sign for “peanut butter.” If that’s not American, I don’t know what is. Glad you are getting in your football fix over there!

22 10 2010
Fiona at Life on Nanchang Lu

All the teachers at the kids’ school are American so there are a lot of bleary eyes come monday morning….
NFL is one of life’s great mysteries to me, although there’s a lot to be said for having a single football code, instead of three, like in Australia. We also have our own football prejudices:

If you follow Aussie Rules, you’re either from melbourne, or a wannabe
If you follow Rugby League, you’re a grunt
If you follow Rugby Union, you’re a posh private school snob, or married to one

Whichever you follow, you can’t win!

The cookies look great btw!

22 10 2010
Grapefruit

You never fail to surprise me – I love sables and have been meaning to make them for days. And then you go ahead and make them with chocolate and peanut butter. Who would have thought?
The cookies look great – thanks for the inspiration!

24 10 2010
croquecamille

hungry dog – Exactly!

Fiona – I had no idea about the complexities of rugby-watching!

Grapefruit – Thank YOU. :)

26 10 2010
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