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!)
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.
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.
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)
- Preheat the oven to 355 F / 180 C. Sift the flours and cocoa powder together and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.