Cookies are one of my favorite things about the holiday season, and the sheer variety of cookies available at this time of year is mind boggling.  Some are intricately decorated or filled with delicious things.  As much as I enjoy all of those kinds, I adore the simple elegance of sables.  A buttery, crisp cookie dotted with flecks of vanilla bean and crunchy sugar adorning the edges.   Lovely for gifting to others, or for a personal indulgence.  The other great thing about them is that you freeze the dough and then slice and bake, so you can store the dough and then bake them any time you like.  The ingredient list is short and sweet, so it’s a good idea to whip up a batch or two now and then have the dough ready for any last minute people you may have forgotten on your gifting list.

Last year I tried a few different recipes but none turned out quite the way I was hoping so this year I started from scratch and experimented a little more.  Thankfully this time around I was able to achieve the sable bliss I was looking for.  Now my only problem is keeping away from them so there are some left over for sharing.  I guess they need to go up on the top top shelf with the caramel corn.

Note: This recipe was developed as part of my ongoing contribution to the Go Bold with Butter blog.  Head over to see my posts as well as more great recipes from the other awesome bloggers involved with the project!

Thanks for all of your enthusiasm about the charity donation “giveaway” – it means so much to know that my readers appreciate the true spirit of the season.  I’ll be contacting those winners today and can’t wait to hear which charities they select.  Don’t forget, today is the last day of holiday giveaways here on the blog.  Today’s giveaway is a fantastic prize courtesy of Nespresso.  Head on over to the giveaway page to learn more and enter!  

  • Yield about 3 dozen cookies


For the cookie dough: 

  • 1 cup (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise*
  • 2/3 cup vanilla sugar**
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt

To finish:

  • Turbinado sugar for coating (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 large egg white mixed with 1 tbsp. water


  • 01

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean pods, and vanilla sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the egg yolks one at a time, and vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the flour and salt until incorporated and a thick dough forms.

  • 02

    Gather the dough together and transfer to a piece of parchment paper.  Form into a log about 1¾-inches in diameter.  Roll the dough tightly up in the parchment paper, and twist the ends to seal.  Transfer the dough to the freezer and chill until very firm, at least 2-3 hours.

  • 03

    When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  On a piece of wax or parchment paper, pour a line of turbinado sugar for coating the dough log.  Remove the dough from the freezer, brush lightly with the egg wash, and roll in the turbinado sugar pressing gently to adhere.  Transfer the dough to a cutting board and slice with a sharp knife into rounds just less than ½-inch thick.  Place the dough rounds on the prepared baking sheets.

  • 04

    Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the edges are light golden and the cookies are just set, 14-15 minutes total.  Let cool on the baking sheets briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 05

    *Buying a vanilla bean or two in the grocery store is ridiculously expensive!  I buy mine in bulk online, a much cheaper option.  Plus then you always have vanilla beans on hand – a very good thing indeed! 
    ** To make vanilla sugar, split a couple of vanilla beans and store in an airtight container with sugar for a while – at least a few days.  That’s it!  If you don’t have time to wait for vanilla sugar, no worries.  These are just as delicious made with regular sugar.