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01/23/2005

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a question, really, and not about parathas. I had a spectacular failure trying to make chocolate sables last night, and then found your page when googling the subject this morning. I was inspired to try again, but am troubled by not knowing what these should look like. My impression was crumbly shortbread, but I'm getting something between a standard cookie and a lace-type wafer. I've been very careful with ingredients: dutch-process cocoa, fleur de sel, etc. Last night no egg, today the egg yolk you suggested. Can you help?

They look tasty! If you were to fill them, would you do it right before the pinching and flattening?

Shortbread is definitely how I would describe the texture of the sables I've made and seen. Your results sound like the result of too high a butter-to-solids ratio, but that seems strange to me. Does anyone else know what the story might be?

Are you in the US? Maybe there's some kind of conflict going on with standard measurements. I know US and UK teaspoons and tablespoons aren't quite the same, for example.

As for the filled parathas, I haven't made them myself yet, but I think the usual way is to skip the step of oiling and rolling, and replace that with putting the filling in the center and pulling the dough up around it. Then you roll that out as flat as you can (gently!) and cook it on a griddle in the same way, with the oil on the back of the spoon and so on.

back to the sables: I am in the US! I used Organic Valley unsalted butter, Droste cocoa, Pillsbury bleached flour, Scharffen Burger chocolate... I am just confounded. The first time I doubled the recipe. I used a silpat on a big rolled steel baking sheet, and ended of with a lake of bubbling caramelized cookie. I assumed either the recipe was wrong or I had made some kind of mathmatical mistake, but when I saw your piece I decided to try again, and just to make sure I used a commercial aluminum baking sheet with parchment paper. I did use two egg yolks because both went in when I tried to pour one from a bowl... this time the result was like a standard chocolate chip cookie, round and flat and lumpy ( and good, but...) And other ideas?

The parathoids look like a lot of fun -- I'll have to try them instead of vaguely-correct chapatis next time I do flatbread for indian food.

I wouldn't worry overly about authentic. A lot of the stuff I make is only close-enough because offical authentic is more complicated or impossible under the circumstances.

Re: sables. I am confounded also! (Though 2 egg yolks does genuinely seem like it could throw things off.) How long did you refrigerate the dough?

A small follow-up: here is a permanent link to a full version of the chocolate sable recipe, as written by Dorie Greenspan.

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