Here’s the ultimate sandwich cookie for chocolate lovers: tender, dark chocolate cookies filled with a coffee-infused white chocolate ganache. A good amount of cocoa powder gives these classic French cookies their intensity – just make sure to use an alkalized (a.k.a. “Dutch-processed”) cocoa, as opposed to a non-alkalized or “natural” one. The alkalized cocoa, which has been washed in a potassium solution that neutralizes its acidity, has a more mellow and rounded flavor (which is why it’s used for hot cocoa). If you’re not a fan of white chocolate, these sablés are also delicious filled with caramel or dark chocolate ganache, or au natural, as the French say.
Makes about sixteen 2 1/4-inch sandwich cookies
Sablés au Chocolat:
- 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (80 grams) alkalized cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 16 tablespoons (226 grams) unsalted butter (preferably 85% butterfat)
- ½ cup (108 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
White Chocolate Espresso Ganache:
- 9 ounces (255 grams) top quality white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (116 grams) heavy cream
- 1/3 cup (25 grams) whole espresso or dark roast coffee beans
Make the sablés:
- In a medium bowl, gently whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda and salt until well blended. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the butter at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the brown and white sugars and the vanilla and continue to beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.
- While mixing at low speed, add the dry ingredients one-third at a time, mixing just until it comes together as a dough. Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape it into two 4 x 3-inch rectangles. Wrap each dough rectangle in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm enough to roll.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap one of the dough rectangles and place it in the center of a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Place another piece of paper over it and, using a rolling pin, roll it out so that it is about 1/8 inch thick (you may have to gently pound the dough a few times at the start to flatten it a little to make it easier to roll). As you roll, rotate the parchment paper and dough 90 degrees every so often, and flip it over to make sure you are rolling it out evenly. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, just slide it, along with the paper, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate it for about 15 minutes, or until it has firmed up a bit.
- Peel the top piece of parchment paper off and then place it back on, loosely. Flip the whole package over, then peel off the other piece of parchment to expose the dough. Using a 2 1/4-inch round cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible from the dough. Gather up the scraps into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate before re-rolling. Using a small metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about an inch apart, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are no longer shiny and the centers have puffed up slightly. Cool the cookies on the sheets completely (fair warning: these cookies are very delicate, so don’t attempt to move them while they’re warm).
Make the ganache filling:
- Place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream and the espresso beans to a gentle boil. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to infuse for 20 minutes.
- Bring the cream back to a boil, then strain it over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate, then whisk until emulsified and completely smooth. Refrigerate the ganache, loosely covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring it after 15 minutes, until the ganache thickens enough to spread on the cookies.
Fill the cookies:
- Pipe or spread about 1 tablespoon of the ganache on half of the cookies, then top with remaining halves. Serve the cookies at room temperature, but store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator (for up to 5 days).