All my culinary kudos are going to Alice Medrich these days. She does that thing none of us want to do: she makes the same darned thing over and over again, each time tweaking the recipe until it comes out just perfect. All that toil translates: Alice's chocolate pecan pie is to die for, her chocolate cheesecake in The Joy of Cooking is the best I've had, and her new-ish book Pure Dessert tops my wishlist.
The recipes in Pure Dessert tend toward the less-chocolatey, and use complex flavors like sesame and olive oil. Those I've tracked down and tried have been nothing short of perfect, and the whole wheat sables I made this weekend were no exception. Within a minute of leaving the oven, they were crispy but not hard to bite, and nicely sandy without being too crumbly. You can hardly tell that half the flour is whole wheat, but the wwflour gives these cookies a really wholesome flavor, rounded out by cocoa nibs and a bit of grated chocolate (my addition). Yes, these are the anti-chocolate chip cookie, so they probably won't please traditionalists in your house (they didn't make D's eyes light up, that's for sure) but they're truly wonderful cookies, best enjoyed under a blanket with a piping hot cup of tea. Many thanks to The Wednesday Chef, where I finally found this much-desired recipe!
Alice Medrich's Whole Wheat Sables (adapted slightly) makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces) flour
- Scant 1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs or chopped toasted hazelnuts
- 1 oz. grated chocolate, optional
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and whole wheat flour and set aside.
- In another medium bowl, using the back of a large spoon or with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the cacao nibs and grated chocolate and mix to incorporate. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Scrape the dough into a mass and, if necessary, knead with your hands a bit, just until smooth.
- Form the dough into a 12-by-2-inch log. Wrap the log tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Position the oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the cold dough log into one-fourth-inch slices. Place the cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown at the edges, 12 to 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Allow the cookies to rest on the sheets about 1 minute to firm up, then transfer them to a rack using a metal spatula. Let them cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container.