CANDIED FENNEL SEEDS AND CHOCOLATE SABLES
I wanted to make a fun, confetti cookie, something that was festive for the holidays, but then I was thinking that it is way too common. Instead of confetti sprinkles, I decided to use candied fennel seeds for the same effect, in the cookies that I wanted to bake.
I had seen Sanjana Feasts, Paan cookies which were so cute. She uses mukhwas masalo, which is a blend of a few ingredients.
Sables’ are French butter cookies, or sable breton. It refers to the sandy texture of the cookie. The cookie has a delicate crumble, it is light, and sweet, and very addictive! They are perfect little Christmas cookies and are fun to make for the holidays.
The dough can take on different flavor profiles and I used candied fennel seeds and finely chopped chocolate in mine with a tinge of nutmeg in it.
The dough is made of simple ingredients:
- All purpose flour
- Freshly ground nutmeg – always use freshly ground nutmeg, because it truly elevates the taste of any baked good.
- Unsalted butter
- Egg yolks
- Granulated sugar
- Confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Candied fennel seeds – the best place to get this is from the Indian grocery store or you can purchase it from Amazon or any online Indian grocery store. It is cheapest to get it from a local Indian grocery store though. Linking it here.
- I use good quality dark chocolate, that is finely chopped so that I can bits and pieces in the dough.
- Red Sanding sugar: Linking it here.
For the sable dough recipe, I loosely adapted the iconic Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, linked here. Her cookies and her cookbooks are always such a joy to bake from. I was lucky enough to attend one of her classes, and bake alongside her to make this beautiful lemon blueberry loaf, which was superb!
USING THE BROWN ROLL FROM A PAPER TOWEL METHOD:
Now this is a Martha Stewart method, that I learnt from Jenn, from Deliciously Noted blog. Martha Stewart says to put the rolled cookie dough, wrapped in plastic, into a brown roll from a paper towel to secure the shape of the dough, so that it does not flatten out when resting in the fridge. It is a brilliant hack and I love it.
FOOD STYLIST TIP FOR COOKIES:
When I was making these cookies, I realized that if I wanted them to look pretty I would require some sort of hack to do so. So when they were freshly baked, what I did was to put some candied fennel seeds on the top, digging into the cookie while it is still soft, when out of the oven.
This process has to be done quickly, else the cookie will begin to harden and it will not be possible to put the candied fennel seed into the baked cookie. This is a tip that I thought of by myself as I was thinking how to beautify the cookie.
STORING AND SHIPPING THE COOKIES:
The cookies will keep in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks. If you want to ship these cookies, these could be one of the first few cookies that you make, since they stay for a bit longer, so they can wait to be packed as well.
You can even simply make the dough, and put it into the freezer. When you want to bake them off, simply apply the egg white, coat it with sanding sugar, and then bake it off as per usual instructions.
If you do make these cookies, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on this blog post.
Candied Fennel Seeds and Chocolate Chunk Sables
- 2 ¼ cups (270 g) all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (43 g) confectioner’s sugar
- 2 egg yolks (save the egg white)
- 1 tsp vanill extract
- ⅓ cup (75 g) candied fennel seeds
- 50 g finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate (good quality)
- Red sanding sugar - 2 to 3 oz
- Paper towel cardboard roll (inside of the paper towel) - 2
- In a medium bowl, whisk the all purpose flour, salt and nutmeg, until combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar. Start on low, and gradually increase the speed to high, for 1 to 2 minutes until light and fluffy and pale yellow in color.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, and mix until just combined.
- Add the candied fennel seeds and chocolate and mix to combine.
- Divide the mixture into half. On a plastic wrap, make a log, about 11 to 12 inches in length. Cover it tight with the plastic wrap, by wrapping it around the dough, and sealing the edges, and straightening the edge too. Roll it back and forth, across the length of the dough to smoothen out the edges into about 1 ½ inch diameter.
- Put it into the cardboard roll of a paper towel and roll it again to enhance the round shape of the log. Put it into the fridge to set.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the other half of the dough. Store the logs in the fridge for 4 hours atleast, to overnight.
- Set aside 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
- Pre-heat the oven the 325 degrees C.
- Remove one log from the fridge. In a small baking tray, sprinkle the red sanding sugar on the tray.
- Using a pastry brush, brush egg white over the dough. Then roll it gently into the sanding sugar such that the sugar sticks to the dough. If it does not sprinkle it onto the uncovered areas, until the entire log is covered.
- On a cutting board, cut the log horizontally with a serrated knife, into about ⅔ inch thickness cookies, to yield about 16 to 18 cookies. Place them on the tray.
- The sliced cookies may crumble slightly, you have to be gentle when using the serrated knife to cut the cookies. Adhere the pieces of the sliced cookie, back together, if they do crumble.
- Put them into the middle rack and bottom rack of the oven, for about 18 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown in color.
- Remove from the oven and let them cool on the tray for 15 minutes.
- Transfer them onto a wire rack, for them to cool completely.
- Repeat steps 11 to 16 for the second log. You can even bake off the second log within 2 days.
- They will keep in an air-tight container for upto 2 weeks.