Sables and Soda (French Butter Cookies)

bite of sable

Change is coming. I can feel it in the air.
I know there are a lot of you out there who can’t wait for autumn.
old window
I do love autumn walks and autumn baking. This week I packed up my home-baked cookies, went for a stroll and landed at an abandoned house. It was quiet and peaceful. Pretty in it’s own way. A perfect spot for an afternoon snack.
sables on plate
Sables (French butter cookies) are one of my favorites. They’re the kind of cookies you take out of the freezer and defrost when friends drops by for a visit. When you’re curled up on the sofa reading a good book, sipping your tea coffee or hot chocolate, sables are a delicious treat. Or, when it’s still warm but fall is in the air they travel well.
soda on stepbottle topglass on steps
Sitting on the steps of this old home, I couldn’t help but wonder what’s in store for this house. Homes are like people, really. So many have such enormous and unrealized potential.
sables and soda 8
vintage bike
By the way, last weekend, I attended a talk by the co-founder of Nantucket Nectars. He said, “I regularly meet people with fantastic ideas. They rarely act on them.”
What do you think? What keeps people from acting on their ideas? Why do others go for it?
Heavy for cookies and soda, I know, but I always enjoy your comments.
sables from above
300 g. butter, softened
250 g sugar
75 g. milk
2 eggs
3 tsp. almond extract
500 g flour
50 g cornstarch
10 g baking powder
Cream butter and sugar. Add milk and extract and blend. Add eggs and mix.
Sift dry ingredients and stir in. Taste and add more extract if necessary. Do not over mix.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pipe dough into strips using an extra large star attachment. The dough is stiff and they will be hard to pipe. Bake about 12-16 minutes until lightly golden. When cool, dip ends in tempered chocolate.
Bon Appetit!


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  1. Lovely, lovely sablés.

    I think what keeps people from acting on their ideas is fear of ridicule and failure. I wish people would dare more. I wish I would be more daring.

  2. El, I always adore your posts. So simple and beautiful. Those cookies look divine, and I love the way you photographed them.

    As far as people acting on their ideas, I can speak for myself when I say I’m afraid of failure. I bet that’s a pretty common reason for others too. This is one of my biggest hurdles in life… I am too much of a perfectionist!

    Thanks again for a beautiful post!

  3. gosh that reminds me about some photos i took of an old abandoned home literally steps away from my old rental in the village. the house had so much potential as it was sitting right on the lake. taxes are unreal in this town too, so whoever owns it is letting it waste away….you know?
    i’m just not ready for fall; just want some more summer, real summer not the unreal humidity we had.

  4. I love this post. It’s so clean and crisp. It really captures the transition into autumn. Needless to say, the cookies look divine. Just so I know, why is the recipe in grams? It looks easy enough but I’m not sure how I’d measure using them. I can’t speak for anyone else but I’m genuinely terrified of failure. It drives me crazy too because I’m stuck. I don’t want to be. I just am. Did the Nantucket guy give any idea of how to get over the fear?

  5. I second what everyone has said: beautiful post and photos. I look forward to trying this recipe and am especially excited to hear they can be frozen and enjoyed again later. I will miss the warmer weather too, but there’s something about that just-turning-cooler gentle autumn breeze that makes for great walks.

  6. 1. I agree with your feelings on the approaching cooler weather. Much as I crib about summer heat, the 4pm darkness is even more depressing! 🙁

    2. El, God what photos!!! Love them!

    3. Abandoned house looks full of props!!!! :)))

    4. Tea and cookies is the perfect time to muse.. hmm.. i wonder too, the world is filled with more ideas than executed.. perhaps it’s a personality thing.. Smartness and entrepreneurship aren’t always doled out together?

  7. The restfulness and artistic genius captured within your photos, El, is so spiritually edifying. Truly. Photos 3 and 9 here are brilliant. Where did you find such a nook as in 9 (the bench tucked into the corner) and the leaves and colours in photo three breath that change that you introduced in your first sentence.

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone. Keep them coming. I love your insights.

    Sue- grams are easier and more accurate. For example, say you want to add between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of flour and the measurement needs to be precise. Grams allow you to do that. They are also easier because you just pour everything into a bowl while it’s sitting on a scale. Set the scale to zero and add the flour until it reads the number of grams you need. Reset and add the sugar. It’s remarkably simple and accurate. I’ve had good experience with Soehnle scales.

  9. I am with you El! If we could loop from autumn back into summer, I’d be a happy girl! And of course, the should always stay up until 8 p.m. Love your photos here!

  10. Dear El, I adore this post and your wonderful, dreamy photos. Abandoned houses grip me every time I see them. I want to know their stories, their people, why they were abandoned. I’m so glad you had your little picnic there. I think people don’t act on their ideas because of fear mostly, but also false thinking and beliefs about themselves and their worth. At least that’s what has held me back at times. 🙂

  11. Hey..Thanks for visiting my blog!
    I love this post and the pictures. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful! I love sables and chocolate- dipped ones sound right up my alley 🙂

  12. I’m absolutely smitten by your photos. Beautiful.

    As for people, every once in a while we get caught up in our “But’s”.

    Happy weekend!

  13. I’m with you! I am enjoying the cooler temperatures since our summer was extremely hot and humid but I shudder to think of what comes after. Five months of c-c-c-old and I hate feeling like it’s bedtime at 8:00 pm!

    Beautiful cookies and photography! I love sables and the dipped-in-chocolate ends are the way to go!

  14. I have a feeling that even though people often come up with great ideas, they are too quick to discredit themselves. It’s sad, all of this wasted potential floating around in the atmosphere.

    I for one am excited for fall food but not for fall itself. The cookies look fantastic. the perfect thing to enjoy on one of those transition days.

  15. Once again, gorgeous photos, and a good idea to keep something in the freezer for when people drop by and let’s face it, to keep from getting as big as a house by eating them oneself.

    Agree–I’m a cold weather wimp and hate, hate, hate the dark afternoons. But as you mentioned, on the plus side, I don’t mind turning on the oven to bake.

    The big question: there are so many reasons why we don’t act on our good ideas. Taking risks is scary and as many have already noted it’s the fear factor. I for one am trying to do one thing a month (well. I’m not that organized) but trying to step out of my comfort zone in some small way as often as possible. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. At least that’s the theory.

  16. I adore the nostalgic style of the photos, capturing wispy images that appear have to have a compelling story and history behind them.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but fear of failure has always been the primary hurdle for my venturing to new projects. On the other hand, these days I feel grateful that I’ve been more cautious. I think everyone has different ideas of what is an acceptable risk, or what may be worthwhile to pursue given their situation. If I were honest with myself, I can say that I am better at encouraging others to pursue their dreams and recognizing others’ talents, than I am for myself in both categories. This has given me more to think about…

    El, I wish we lived closer, it would be a dream to get one baking lesson from you. These buttery cookies are among my favorite.

  17. Oh – another thought on this subject, when I had less at stake, I was more willing to take risks, when I knew less, I was willing to take more risks, because all I could see was the potential, and this is especially true when I was younger: I was much more oblivious to most all that could go wrong.

  18. So pretty!! I agree with you about preferring sun to nightfall at 4pm, and a comfortable warmth over chilly frost any time.

    I like that quote and it’s so true…I think what holds people back from realizing their ideas is a fear of the unknown and of failure, comfort in the status quo, a lack of confidence in their abilities…so many possibilities. I always believe that if one dares to dream, those dreams will come true. Sounds idealistic perhaps, but I’ve seen it happen in my experience, which is all the proof I need.

    Phew, sorry for rambling, but your question really resonated 😉

  19. Such a good post!! Everything about fall is just wondrous. It’s just got the right amount of summer and winter mixed up.
    I’m one of those people who rarely acts on ideas and like most people it’s fear, or sometimes not enough resources or know how to get any where with it. Where to start?

    Those cookies look so amazing!! These will be next on my list!!

  20. Another beautiful and thought provoking post. Delicious cookies too.
    As has been said fear of failure seems to hold us back, but as I get older I realize that failure is not always a negative.

  21. I’m with you on the weather! As far as I can tell the only good thing about the cold is hot chocolate. I’d like to dip one of those sables in one right now.

  22. Unfortunately, fear of failure is what keeps most people from realizing their ideas and dreams. If we only knew how powerful will can be, and how resilient we are…
    Love your sables. That first photograph is beyond words.

  23. Lovely post. I would love to walk through that old home, your photos are stunning.

    One of my favorite cookies is sables – I cannot wait to try your recipe!

  24. I adore the Fall! However, I agree that shivering is a big downer and the darkness (especially here in Seattle) is a total bummer too.

    I should also tell you that your post makes me never want to make cookies again. I would never get them this right. These cookies are just about the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen! Lovely and perfect for a crisp Fall day and afternoon drink! xoxoxo

  25. Red Menace, these cookies are incredibly simple to make. The dough takes about 10 minutes to make and then you simply fill a pastry bag and pipe. The dough is thick so you might want to have someone with a lot of muscle pipe them. Alternatively, you could make thumbprint cookies out of the batter and fill them with delicious jam. Either way, please do not hesitate to try them! I know you can make them!

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