Pierre Herme’s Vienesse Chocolate Sables – Chocolate Cookies Simple & Sophisticated

I first started to read about Pierre Herme when I went  through my macaron obsession phase many years ago. That was the time when macarons were still not readily available in Singapore – before Bakerzinn and Canele Patisserie became the rave of the town. It was a time when very few would attempt to bake macarons at home and the secrets/techniques of baking macarons were more elusive. How a few short years have changed everything. Now, it seems like everyone I know can make a macaron – even my order fulfillment colleague who does not bake!

We undoubtedly have to thank Pierre Herme for the Macaron Revolution. Dubbed as ‘The Picasso of Pastry’ , PH leads the new trends in the pastry world. May it be unusual flavour combinations in macarons or brilliant flavour pairings such as the Rose/Lychee/Raspberry in the Ispahan, Pierre Herme never fails to awe and inspire.

I was flipping through his Chocolate Desserts (a collaboration with Dorie Greenspan) to find something to bake when this simple recipe caught my eyes. Contrary to what many think, a pastry guru’s recipes need not  necessarily be difficult and tedious. The Vienesse Chocolate Sable must be the most easy cookie recipe I have come across and till now, 24 hours after I have finished baking and tasting it, I still find it hard to believe that such a simple recipe could have yielded something so sophisticated and so good!

Light as air to the core, the cookie grazes the palate like delicate lace before spreading out like sand. The texture is sensational, the rich chocolatey airiness – addictive.

You most likely would have all the ingredients in the pantry. I urge you to whip this up and experience it for yourself.

Recipe : (From Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme, written by Dorie Greenpan)
260g           All purpose flour
30g             Dutch processed cocoa powder
250g           Butter
100g           Powder sugar, sifted
Pinch          Salt
3 tbsp         Egg white

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Whisk together, flour and cocoa powder and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk butter until creamy. To ensure that the recipe succeeds, the butter needs to be very soft. (not a difficult thing for us in Singapore)
4. Add in powder sugar and salt to butter and continue to whisk until light and creamy.
5. Whisk in egg white until it is well combined with butter cream.
6. Add in (2) and mix until well combined.
7. Spoon dough into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe dough into W shaped cookies. (mine are still not as pretty – needs practice!)
8. Bake cookies at 180C for 10-12 mins – no more. The cookies will be delicate – transfer carefully into cookie jar after cooled.