Mrs. Lenkh’s Cheese Sables


Cheese Sables

I’ve had this recipe printed for about ever and in my cracker binder – yes, I have binder for cheese crackers – mock me if you dare. But I have never made this recipe until now. It uses way more butter than normal for a cheese cracker recipe, but it is super flaky.  It comes together easily and then I let it sit in the fridge for several days. About a week, if I’m going to be honest, though the recipe said two days – I know from experience with cheese crackers, you can just let that slide a bit. Thankfully. I like the idea of making something one day and then bake them a bit later – that works for me. I do the same thing when pickling.

Okay for a definition of a sable – I have my handy-dandy The New Food Lover’s Companion.   A book I relied on as an event planner – it’s small and pretty much tells you everything you need to know about food. My mentor had one and when I went off on my own way, it was one of the first things I bought. So the definition of a sable is – “The French word sable means sand (knew that) and the cookies are so named because of their delicate, crumbly texture.”*

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. table salt **
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne (used about 1/4 tsp because I am me)
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3-1/2 oz. (1-1/2 cups) finely grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, nope – not optional – walnuts)
  • 1 large egg yolk mixed with a pinch of paprika and 1/2 tsp. water, as a glaze (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling (didn’t use this at all) **
Put the flour, salt, cayenne, and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Add the cheeses, pulse, and finally, add the egg and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.

Dump the dough on an unfloured surface. If you’re using nuts ( yes, you are), sprinkle them on the pile of dough. Knead by lightly smearing the ingredients together as you push them away from you with the heel of your hand until the dough is cohesive. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour or two to let the butter firm.

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out shapes or cut shapes with a knife. Arrange 1-inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets. Reroll scraps once and stamp again.

Brush with the glaze and sprinkle lightly with kosher or sea salt. Bake until golden brown and thoroughly cooked inside, about 14 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back and top to bottom about halfway through. To test, break one in half and look to see if the center still looks doughy. If so, cook for a few more minutes, but be careful not to overbake. Let cool on a rack and store only when completely cool.

Source: Fine Cooking

*The New Food Lover’s Companion, 2001. p. 531.

** My printed version of the recipe says 1 Tbs table salt, which I thought was total over load, especially with Parmesan,  so I kind of used not that much. And then I tasted the first batch with no extra salt and loved them. So that’s how I did it. And the sables are pretty much amazing. And they hold up pretty well over a week or so. Humidity didn’t seem to get to them. Nice.

Not sure who Mrs. Lenkh is, but I am thankful for this recipe. Another win in the cheese cracker department.

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