Edd Kimber’s Salted Black Cocoa Sables

updated Jan 21, 2021
christmas
Salted Black Sables with Caramelized White Chocolate

This deep, dark chocolate cookies are studded with caramelized white chocolate chunks and sprinkled with flaky sea salt.

Makes30 to 35

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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

This recipe is part of our Quarantine Cookies package, featuring 16 of our favorite bakers and their best cookie for 2020. Check out all the amazing cookies here, and sign up here to receive one cookie recipe per day, for 20 days, straight to your inbox.

Slice-and-bake cookies, for me, make the best holiday gifting cookie. Why not give the gift of freshly baked cookies and the gift of cookie dough, so the recipient can extend the joy well into the holiday season? With this recipe you divide the cookie dough into two and form them both into logs. When gifting, I bake off one half and give the other log frozen for the recipient to stash away in the freezer for those days when nothing other than a freshly baked cookie will do (and there have been many of those this year).

This recipe is a personal favorite of mine, and one I’ve myself baked many times this year. It’s a hit list of everything I love: Easy? Check! Sweet and salty? Check! Chocolate? Check! Rye flour? Check! Caramelized white chocolate? Check! Once you’ve made (or bought) the caramelized white chocolate, the actual work of making the cookies is nothing. The flavor, however, belies this low effort and makes for a surprisingly sophisticated holiday cookie, if I do say so myself. The black cocoa gives a rich, roasted flavor akin to an Oreo (and the added dramatic color to match); the rye flavor, with its mild acidity, helps boost all the chocolate notes in the dough; the salt balances out the sweetness; and the caramelized white chocolate gives a rich, dulce de leche-like caramel note. If you can’t get ahold of black cocoa, you can happily use your favorite Dutch process cocoa instead. 

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Whilst this cookie is easy to make, there are a few things to note. The most important tip is in regards to the butter. When making the dough, make sure the butter is room-temperature and pliable. If it’s too cold, it can lead to a dough that crumbles easily and is hard to cut. When beating the butter and sugar together, it’s important to remember that you aren’t making a cake, so you’re not aiming for light and fluffy but rather light and creamy, which enables the dry ingredients to be properly incorporated but without making a dough that will spread too much when baking. When adding the dry ingredients, mix them into the butter mixture just until it disappears into the dough. These cookies can become tough when over-mixed, and because you’ll be forming them into logs by hand, it’s best to mix as briefly as possible.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Tester’s Note

Caramelizing white chocolate is pure kitchen wizardry. It transforms an ingredient that is cloyingly sweet and almost characterless into something deeply nutty and complex. I’ve always been intrigued by the technique, but never tried it at home until now. I was happily shocked by how easy it was. Do try to chill the logs of dough for the full 4 hours and reach for your sharpest knife (a serrated bread knife works well) when slicing these, as they do have a tendency to crumble. If they do, though, don’t sweat: Simply press the pieces back together into rounds. — Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Food Editor

Salted Black Sables with Caramelized White Chocolate

This deep, dark chocolate cookies are studded with caramelized white chocolate chunks and sprinkled with flaky sea salt.

Makes 30 to 35

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the caramelized white chocolate:

  • About 8 ounces white chocolate discs or bars (not chips, preferably with about 30% cocoa butter)

For the cookies:

  • 2 sticks

    (8 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/3 cups

    dark or white rye flour

  • 1/2 cup

    black Dutch-process cocoa powder (see Recipe Notes)

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    flaky salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 1/2 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the caramelized white chocolate:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 250ºF.

  2. Coarsely chop about 8 ounces white chocolate and place in a quarter (9x13-inch) rimmed baking sheet or metal baking dish of similar size.

  3. Bake for about 1 hour. Every 10 to 15 minutes, give the chocolate a thorough stir, scraping all the chocolate up from the bottom to prevent it from burning -- sometimes the chocolate will clump and seem grainy. Once the chocolate has turned to a dulce de leche-like caramel colour, give it a very vigorous stir until smooth and glossy. Scrape it into a wide, shallow plastic container, preferably something larger than 6 inches wide. Refrigerate uncovered until solid.

Make the cookies:

  1. Place 2 sticks unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using an electric hand mixer) and let sit at room temperature until softened. Take the caramelized white chocolate out of the container and chop into 1/4-inch pieces.

  2. Sift 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 1/3 cups rye flour, 1/2 cup black cocoa powder, and 3/4 teaspoon baking soda into a large bowl. Push any lumps of cocoa powder through the sifter. (If there are little flakes of bran left in the sifter from the rye flour, you can add to the flour mixture or leave them out.) Add 1/2 teaspoon flaky salt and whisk everything together.

  3. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar to the butter. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed just until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat briefly to combine.

  4. Turn the mixer off and pour in the flour mixture. We don’t want to make a huge mess and have a cloud of flour and cocoa powder cover every surface in your kitchen, so cover the bowl of the mixer with a kitchen towel and then gently pulse the mixer just to get the flour combined a little before turning the mixer to low to fully mix it in properly. We want to mix in the flour just until it disappears into the butter but before the mixture forms a ball of dough. It should still look a little crumbly.

  5. Add the caramelised white chocolate and mix briefly just to combine. Transfer the dough to a work surface and use your hands to form it into a uniform dough. Cut the dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a log that’s about 2 inches wide. Wrap each log in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 3 to 4 hours.

  6. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 325ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  7. Unwrap one of the logs of dough and use a sharp, thin knife to cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick. If the slices fall apart, just press them back together. Place on the baking sheets, evenly spacing them out. The cookies will spread but not significantly. Sprinkle with a little extra flaky salt.

  8. Bake until set around the edges and but still a little soft in the middle, about 14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will crisp up, leaving you with a wonderful sablé texture.

Recipe Notes

Black cocoa: Black cocoa is a form of Dutch process cocoa. You can use regular Dutch process cocoa like Guittard Cocoa Rouge, but the cookies will have a slightly different flavour and the color won’t be as dramatic.

Make ahead: The cookie logs can be frozen for up to 2 months in two ways:
1) Freeze the log whole, then thaw in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.
2) Chill the log until firm. Slice the dough, then form the slices back into a log. Wrap up again and freeze. You can then just bake off the desired number of slices straight from the freezer.

Storage: Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature 4 to 5 days.

Recipe orginally published on Edd Kimber's blog, The Boy Who Bakes.