French Friday’s with Dorie
I say with a degree of certainty that the ‘cocktail cookie’ movement is never going to be one I will join and champion across the blogosphere much less turn my party guests onto by serving them at home. Oh, they’re good. Very good in fact. Some are even great. So great you could easily be tempted to eat enough to ruin your dinner. What is the point of that?
I will never trust the whole appetizer thing anyways. They are one sneaky, tricky beast of a food category for me to figure out. Appetizers, well, they just mess with my head. Just considering them during the menu planning phase psychs me out to a certain degree.
Should I make fabulous appetizers and risk my guests having no appetite left for the main course when it rolls out? Or do I forgo a show stopping appetizer tray and lead my cherished guests to the incorrect conclusion that I am a thoughtless host. What to do, what to do?
Usually I just stalemate to a few salted nuts and some olives. Yawn.I can tell you that I won’t be making cocktail cookies for a Certain Someone ever again. Turns out that Certain Someone doesn’t have much self-control so downed just about the entire plate. Then, like a fool, I reflexively re-staged the appetizer tray. Big mistake. Huge mistake. Some people just can’t resist salt and sweet in the same bite. Certain Someone, this is you.
Oh, and Certain Someone, if you are reading this? That dinner you barely touched was better than just about anything I had cooked in recent memory. Everyone said so. Well everyone who stopeed at just one or two cocktail cookies! You pushed your food around the plate pretending to eat but I knew what had happened. And when plates were cleared it was painful to see yours sitting on the counter with my culinary triumph sitting on it. Pummeled with your fork.
Like just about anything I suppose some cocktail cookie iterations are better than others and many are better than these. In truth, I preferred David’s Seaweed Sables from last June. These Olive Sablés, however, do all they are supposed to do: delay hunger for an hour or two (if you only have a couple!) while priming the palate nicely for a sip of wine. It doesn’t hurt that they look good sitting on an appetizer tray and are interesting enough to spark conversation if you have nothing worthwhile to talk about. What more do you want from an appetizer?
Olive Sablés – Pierre Hermé
The dough should chill for at least several hours as it is a bit loose and probably much better to let it sit overnight in the fridge. You should use an oil-cured, meaty and chewy olive and not the tinned olives I used. Regular canned won’t contribute enough olive flavor. My olives were not briney enough so based on the Dorista comments floating around I not only added a heavy 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the dough, I dusted the prebaked rounds with fleur de sel which is what probably inviting the over-consumption by a Certain Someone. That whole sugar and salt thing. Sigh.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspans's " Around My French Table "
This is what you will need:
- 1 large hard-boiled egg, white discarded
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 6 Tbsp Potato Starch
- 15 Tbsp unsalted butter – room temperature
- 1/3 cup olive oil (a fragrant olive oil is best – the olivey the better!)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 5 oz tin of pitted black olives, chopped – my tin said ‘cured’ but did not have much brine taste, hence the next ingredient:
- 1/2 teasp salt but fleur de sel for sprinkling on cookies pre-baking
This is how you make it:
- Grate the hard-boiled yolk onto a piece of wax-paper.
- Put the flour and potato starch in a strainer set over a large bowl and sift into the bowl, whisk to thoroughly blend.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium until creamy.
- Add the olivie oil, the grated yolk and then the confectioners' sugar in that order and reduce speed to low.
- Spoon in the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough just comes together.
- Add the chopped olives and mix until distributed evenly.
- The dough is very soft but if its too soft to work with you can chill it for a few minutes in the refrigerator.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it into thirds, and shape each piece into a log about 1 1/2 inches (3,5 cm) in diameter.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least several hours.
- If you're in a hurry, you can freeze the logs for an hour or so. I like to open up paper towel rolls and keep them wrapped in those so they hold a nice round shape.
- When you're ready to bake the sables, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and working with 1 log at a time, slice the cookies 1/4 inch thick and arrange them on the baking sheet.
- Bake these one sheet at a time and always use a cool cookie sheet.
- Bake the sables for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the midway mark, or until the cookies are firm but not colored.
- They may turn golden around the edges, but you don't want them to brown.
- Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool, and repeat with the remaining logs of dough, making sure to use a cook baking sheet each time.
This dish was an assignments for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “ Around My French Table” . We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or hundreds of other bloggers I will either include it here (only when adapted) or provide a direct link. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe