Once upon a time her name was only whispered among the food world illuminati, always accompanied by reverent, hushed tones.“It’s a Dorie recipe!” Now her fame and effortless Parisian charm have spread to all of us, and thank goodness. Dorie Greenspan, the James Beard Award-winning columnist for The New York Times Magazine, is nothing short of a cookie master. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share the baking wizard’s recipe (below) and let her help you make tastier treats in this exclusive online baking class:
She’s exactly as charming as she looks. (And as talented. If you haven’t tried her rum-soaked, fluted cannelés, do remedy that as soon as possible!) In our virtual Baking School, you’ll make sablés and madeleines. The Paris-based cook is famous for her sablés; the word “sablé” means “sandy” in French, and it’s short for a shortbread-like cookie. They’re as much a dream with a mug of hot tea or coffee as they are with a flute of champagne. Madeleines are tiny cakes with delicate edges you’ll spy all over Paris.
Dorie is the sort of person who started a tiny bakery in New York City (she spends a lot of time stateside, too) with her son, Joshua. They specialized in iconic, minimalist “cookies for grown- ups” with straight sides and delicate flavors. To this day, Dorie is cornered at parties by people sighing wistfully about her sablés, “Jammers” and “Chunkers.” She writes: “There was no question that our cookies seemed better suited to tea trays than to lunch boxes.”
We’re thrilled to feature the recipe for Dorie’s chocolate crème sandwich cookies below. They’re so “well-behaved” that you can cut them into any shape, and so versatile that you’ll likely be inspired to vary the range of potential fillings. See you on February 15!
Chocolate Crème Sandwiches
A word on cocoa: The darker the cocoa you use for these, the darker and more like Oreos your cookies will be. I use cocoa powder made by Valrhona; it’s very dark brown with hints of red. If you want an even darker color, you can use a combination of black cocoa (available online from King Arthur Flour) and Dutch-processed cocoa powder. As with all cookies, it’s the taste that counts. Because cocoa has no fat, it will never have the richness of your favorite chocolate, but it will give rich flavor to what- ever you’re baking, so choose your cocoa as carefully as you choose your chocolate.
For the Cookies:
2 1⁄2 cups (340 grams) all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup (42 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick plus 5 tablespoons (13 tablespoons; 6 1⁄2 ounces; 183 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
2⁄3 cup (134 grams) sugar
3⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg white, at room temperature 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Crème Filling:
3⁄4 stick (6 tablespoons; 3 ounces; 85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1 1⁄4 cups (250 grams) confectioners’ sugar 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
To Make the Cookies:
1. Whisk the flour and cocoa together.
2. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt together on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg white and mix for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed, until the white, which will curdle the mixture at first, is fully incorporated and the mixture is once again smooth. Mix in the vanilla. Turn off the machine, add the flour and cocoa all at once and pulse until the risk of flying flour has passed. Turn the mixer to medium and mix until you have a dough that forms clumps that hold together when pinched — it shouldn’t come together in a ball.
3. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and knead it until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and flatten into disks.
4. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of 1⁄8 inch. Slide the dough, still between paper, onto a baking sheet — you can stack the slabs — and freeze for at least 1 hour.
5. When you’re ready to bake, position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Have a 2-inch cookie cutter (or the cutter of your choice) at hand.
6. Working with one sheet of dough at a time, peel away both sheets of paper and put the dough back on one sheet. Cut the dough and place the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. Gather the scraps together, re-roll them and freeze until firm.
7. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back after 7 minutes, or until the cookies feel firm to the touch. Transfer the sheets to racks and allow the cookies to rest for at least 5 minutes before lifting them onto the racks to cool to room temperature.
8. Cut and bake the remaining dough, using cool baking sheets.
To Make the Filling:
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients together on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes. The filling will look like cream cheese.
To Finish the Cookies:
1. Put a spoonful of filling on the bottom of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, bottom side down, and jiggle the cookies, twisting them in opposite directions, to spread the filling evenly. The cookies can be eaten immediately, although the filling will be soft and squish out at first bite.
2. If you’d like neater cookies (with filling that will still squish, but less so), give the filling a couple of hours to set and firm a little, or chill the cookies for 1 hour. Makes about 22 sandwiches.
Storing: (The rolled-out dough can be frozen, wrapped airtight, for up to 2 months.) The dough can also be cut into rounds, wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; no need to defrost before baking. The filling can be made ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Once baked and filled, the cookies are best served that day, but they can wrapped well and refrigerated for up to 2 days. The cookies are good cold or at room temperature.