Buckwheat Sablés

I mention on the “About” page of this blog, that I would be researching and experimenting with recipes that would adapt well to baking in a wood-fired oven and that a number of regions of France had something to offer to this tradition.


See http://www.thecookingapprentice.com

Here is the first such recipe, Sablés. Sablés are a simple, buttery shortbread type cookie famous in Brittany, the most northwestern region of France.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 2.59.28 PM


This sablé recipe, found on the Epicurious website, is not the gold standard. For that, a standard all-purpose flour would be needed. This recipe calls for buckwheat, a dark, almost black, flour that is well-known in Brittany. The flour is most often called “blé sarasin” in reference to the Moors of Spain. The flour is commonly used in Brittany in savory crêpe recipes called “galettes.” In an authentic “crêperie”, the menu would present a selection of savory main-course galettes, and then a selection of desert crêpes made with lighter flours.

THREE-FLOUR RECIPE (with small modifications)

(for fun and flavor)

1. Whole grain Buckwheat, 2. Whole grain Oat Flour (Bob’s Red Mill), and 3. Brown Rice Flour

The recipe called for Buckwheat, Oat Flour, and White Rice Flour.

DETOUR 1: I didn’t have any white rice flour, so I substituted brown rice flour.

DETOUR 2: I added 1 tbsp of gluten protein – afraid my cookies might fall apart and having no gluten issues

DETOUR 3: The recipe called for light brown sugar. I used half light and half dark brown sugar.


Got to use my food processor.
Which I always find fun.

Made roll-up logs of the cookie dough and put them in the freezer, which I hadn’t done before.


Great for making uniform, round cookies.


What a wonderful cookie to this guy’s taste buds. The cookie is much more delicate than a standard sablé, but such a delightful flavor. I will do it again and would recommend you give it a try — if you think you might like Buckwheat.


Almond Crescent Cookies, #90

“Jennifer sampled this simple and scrumptious cookie at a Christmas party. She was so delighted by it that the hostess gave her the recipe, which came from her grandmother.”

Excerpt From: Jennifer Appel. “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/idq2G.l


I baked these cookies a few weeks ago. These are one of a number of recipes in the Magnolia Cookbook that are most commonly baked at Christmas time. I couldn’t wait for Christmas and am glad I didn’t. The cookies are easy to make and loved by everyone.


Look at these ingredients! It’s one of the shortest ingredient lists of any recipe in the cookbook.

“1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup finely ground almonds
21/4 cups all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling”

Excerpt From: Jennifer Appel. “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/idq2G.l

The batter comes together quickly and easily in a stand mixer. It probably would not be a bad idea to let the dough stiffen a little in the fridge before shaping, but Magnolia doesn’t call for that. As you can see below, my crescent moon cookies are not all uniform and lovely. It’s done by rolling a small ball of dough between your two hands, then laying it down in a crescent shape. It takes some practice, but it’s really quite fun.

Ready for the oven.


I was afraid of overcooking these little lunar gems, so I undercooked them a bit. My son did a taste test and said they tasted like uncooked cookie dough. OK. I was wounded a bit, but, instead of taking it personally, I did what you’re supposed to do with honest feedback – I acted on it. I put the cookies back in the oven for a few more minutes. (Some for a few too many more minutes.) This, of course, made true “biscuits” (French for cookie) of them, or as the Italians and Starbucks clients would say, “biscotti.”

Ouchy! These were too twice baked. Had to roll them in sugar twice to right that wrong. 😉
That’s more like it. Just starting to brown.

Anyhooo, after baking once or twice, you let them cool completely (!!) then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Yes, roll them, DON’T sprinkle them.

Complete cooling is necessary for two reasons: 1) the delicate cookie solidifies, 2) the cool cookie will not melt the sugar.

The perfect pick-me-up if you’re low on energy. Two small “hits”.


Hit me!