Cookies Desserts

saffron sables and the new site!

Vous m’avez reconnue / Je suis la mȇme / Et Pourtant autre

You recognized me / I am the same / And yet different

Jean-Philippe Richard — from “Justine ou Isis”

Here it is: the new site! What better way to celebrate than with cookies?

I wasn’t sure when the new site would be ready so this recipe actually has been waiting a bit, cooling perhaps, for the first bite into the new website design. Time to celebrate!

Special thanks goes to Hope Foster-Reyes, my techie help, to get this site launched. Hope is from Amiable Interactive, a company that specializes in internet marketing for woman-owned businesses. We’ve worked together for a few months getting everything ready, she the brains behind the operation. I’m very pleased. I hope you enjoy the new look as much as I do. New features include social buttons (twitter me!), a recipe search, and a new tagging system to help find recipes more easily.

Let’s dive on into sables, just like my memory of sugar gliders. The gentle and almost soundless nocturnal swoop of the sugar gliders spooked me even after months of living in Brisbane, Australia for a semester abroad for college. They often seemed to accompany my walk down Hawkins Road from my dorm room to the cute area of shops we called “The Ville” to my favorite restaurant. The Cat’s Meow eatery had the odd fusion dish but extremely satisfying “Italian Nachos” and it cuddled up to a tea shop with to-die-for sugary sables. I am convinced that these little bites contributed to my weight gain during those six months in Australia, despite my vigorous walking schedule. Now years later, babies later, and a more defined love of running, I’ve attained my high school weight (though with a little more jiggle and shake), a better balance of sugary treats, and the wisdom to stay inside at night during bat season in California.

When I arrived back to the United States, I was on a crusade to find my beloved sables, but also ANZAC cookies, and perhaps a facsimile of the Italian nachos. Recipes for ANZAC cookies have appeared, though have yet to be tested. Italian nachos faded away into memories of The Cat’s Meow restaurant. But the recipes for sables: they litter my kitchen, stuffed in books, bookmarked in cooking magazines, and practically jump out of search engines on the web.

A wee bit of saffron. Compare to the monster peach.

It was recently that more than one sable recipe seemed to swoop over me, like those ominous sugar-gliders. I haven’t found the exact recipe of those lovely sweet biscuits, but this one comes close to the meltingly sweet cookie I remember. The recipes I’ve studied also vary: some have eggs, other don’t. Some have gooey chocolate, others are more uniform. And these: they use saffron, just like the golden cookies I remember in Australia.

I admit though, the saffron I used was a paltry amount, not even 1/4 teaspoon. A little saffron goes a long way but I wanted more in this recipe. I also wanted a thicker cookie, more for the memory of the Australian cookies than for any taste issue. These are fantastic cookies for a tea party or for gift-giving. They keep well in an air-tight container for a few days, but are best when freshly baked. The sugar gliders might just stop feeding on the sweet sap of eucalyptus if they have a taste of these.

saffron sables
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads (My amount was probably closer to a heaping ⅛ teaspoon.)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (11 tablespoons total)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
  2. In another bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour mixture. Pat the dough into a 6-inch disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until chilled.*
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a scant ⅜-inch thickness. using a floured 2-inch cookie cutter, stamp out as many cookies as possible. Carefully transfer cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between them. Reroll the scraps, chill, and stamp out more cookies.
  4. Bake the cookies 1 sheet at a time until lightly browned around the edges, about 16 minutes.** Let cool slightly, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.
* The recipe didn't give a chilling time, so I chilled my dough for a couple of hours. Rolling the dough out was a bit tenuous: it cracked on the edges, convincing me that I was going to have a hard time cutting and transferring cookies to the baking sheet without messing most of them up. I was pleasantly surprised that as the dough warmed, though didn't warm up completely, it was more workable and moving from work space to baking sheet was no trouble. ** I prefer to bake these less than "lightly browned" so they stay a little softer.


  • amy October 13, 2011 Reply

    LOVE the look of the new site. very cool and these cookies look awesome!!!

    • story October 13, 2011 Reply

      Thanks! These are great cookies for the holidays. Dip them in chocolate and nuts and you’re golden.

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