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Chocolate pistachio sable cookies

4 February 2018

My grandparents' is the kind of house where the front door is never locked. I know, I know - but they do live on a little farm in the middle of nowhere. Whenever we go and stay, we walk straight through the porch - full of mismatched wellies, farming odds and ends and dog baskets - and into Granny's kitchen. Whether she's standing at the stove or not, there's always something cooking. Pans bubbling away, bread rising and a dog jumping up to lick your face. The most comforting and familial welcome.

It's no secret that baking is in the blood, and I can only hope that I still share my Granny's zest for culinary invention in my eighties. That being said, she - like all good cooks - has a select arsenal of favourite recipes which have stood the test of time. Granny's ginger and lemon ice creams, spiced mango chutney and poached quince are brought to the table year after year, and delight and please as much as they ever did. Proof - if ever it was needed - not to fix things that aren't broken.

One of the many things I adore about my grandparents' house is that the biscuit tin is never empty. Homemade oatcakes and crackers for cheese, digestives or shortbread for tea time. This is a philosophy which I've tried to extend to my own little kitchen in London. 2018 has been a bit of a mixed year so far, and never have I been gladder to have a tin of biscuits on hand to accompany tea and comfort.

Before I start to sound a little too wholesome, let me caveat that these little sables are crazy easy to throw together. The dough can be made up, wrapped and frozen, then sliced and baked in 10 minutes. Perfect to have in the back pocket (read: freezer) for any last-minute visitors.
75g dark chocolate (70% cocoa content)
75g unsalted butter, softened
60g light brown sugar
25g caster sugar
85g plain flour
15g cocoa powder
50g pistachios
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt

Grate or finely chop the chocolate, and place in a mixing bowl. Add the softened butter, brown sugar and caster sugar and cream until fluffy and combined. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, and mix until just combined, and the mixture is crumbly but starting to come together. Stir in the pistachios.

Turn the mixture onto a work surface, and shape into two long pieces. Roll up, then wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge to rest for two hours, or freeze if you plan to bake at a later date.

Heat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with parchment. Unwrap the cookie dough, and slice into 1cm thick rounds. Arrange on the baking tray, leaving enough space for the cookies to spread an extra 1/2 inch. Sprinkle with a little flakey sea salt. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies have spread and the surface has just firmed up. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

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