Cheese Sablés with Pine Nuts

Cheese Sablés with Pine Nuts-3


What’s your favorite part of the week?  When I was a child I lived for Saturday mornings.  It meant sleeping in past 6:30 am and watching at least an hour (or two) of cartoons and old movies before my parents called my sisters and me to the kitchen for breakfast.  We each had our own bedroom but we always found each other on those early Saturday mornings.  Together, in my room or one of theirs, we would watch the Smurfs, Transformers, Scooby Doo and whatever old musical happened to be playing on the TNT network.

During my teens I loved Friday afternoons.  I often stayed up late for homework during most of the week but I took breaks on Fridays.  I would linger at school to socialize with my friends or I would meet my best friend who lived a block away and we’d walk to the neighborhood park after stopping at the corner store for a snack.  Most of the time our younger sisters tagged along with us so we were always a crew of 5.  Then my parents gave me a car when I got my driver’s license so that widened the borders beyond walking distance and allowed me and the crew to visit other friends or drive to the mall.

These days the weekends are just as special as ever.  The days may not be as free from responsibility as those from my youth but I still fill the hours with activities I enjoy:  I get to spend more time with my husband, I am able to catch up on exercise and of course, I get to cook.  A stark contrast to Mondays when the days seem too short to get anything done and dinner is usually what was leftover from Sunday or something that can be put together in minutes, the end-of-the-week meals are more carefully prepared and might involve a pre- and/or after-dinner course.

You might have noticed my obsession with crackers lately–they really are so fun to make at home.  This time, however, I made something a little different.  Unlike the simpler seeded crackers I shared with you recently, these sables are a bit more indulgent (but no more difficult to prepare).  There’s no shortage of butter, Irish cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano and pine nuts in these refined little shortbread biscuits but trust me, you won’t mind at all.  They’re crumbly, flaky and were meant to be paired with a glass of wine.  Save the regular crackers for another day–these sables call for a special occasion…like the weekend.


Cheese Sablés with Pine Nuts-2

Cheese Sablés with Pine Nuts


5.0 from 7 reviews
Cheese Sablés with Pine Nuts
Is it a cookie or a biscuit? Whatever they're called, you won't be able to resist these cheesy, nutty sablés.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 40 biscuits
  • 9 ounces (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (I didn't taste this at all, would add more next time)
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
  • 7 ounces (14 tbsp) cold unsalted butter; cut in cubes
  • 3½ ounces (1½ cups) finely grated sharp cheddar (I used Dubliner Irish cheddar)
  • 1½ ounces (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup pine nuts, lightly dry toasted in a small pan (2-3 minutes over med-low heat)
  • 1 large egg yolk mixed with pinch of paprika and ½ teaspoon of water to make a glaze.
  • Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling (I used very very little Himalayan pink salt)
  1. Pulse the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, cayenne and baking powder in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small pieces, about 8-10 pulses. Add the cheeses and pulse again to combine then add the egg and pulse again until the mixture just starts to come together. (This took several pulses for me and I stopped just when the mixture started looking like dough and large and small clumps started forming.)
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured surface. Sprinkle the nuts on top of the dough and start kneading everything together. The nuts will stray and fall back on the work surface but just keep pressing them into the dough. Knead with the heel of your hand for a couple of minutes until you have a cohesive dough. Shape it into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until the butter is firm. I divided my dough in two and froze half the batch for later use. It's also easier to work with the smaller piece of dough.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400℉, positioning the top and bottom thirds of the oven (I used only one sheet so I baked only on the lower rack). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, stamp out the rounds and lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps and stamp out more rounds until you've used up all of the dough. Brush the tops of the rounds with the glaze and sprinkle lightly with kosher or sea salt.
  4. Bake until the sablés are golden brown and thoroughly cooked inside, about 12-14 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the cooking time. Test for doneness by breaking one of the biscuits in half to see if the center looks doughy. If so, continue to bake them for another 1-2 minutes but be careful not to over bake them. Mine were ready at 12-13 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely before serving or storing. I think these were best the day they were made but they were still very nice the next day after they were lightly toasted in a toaster oven.
* Recipe adapted from The Best of Fine Cooking Soups and Stews 2013 issue. ** The original recipe called for pecans and sharp cheddar cheese. *** The dough will keep for two days in the refrigerator and may be frozen for a few months in the freezer. Just thaw in the refrigerator before using.


Cheese Sablés with Pine Nuts-5

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  1. I wish I had a few of these for my afternoon snack! Perfect flavors, and I love that finish of Himalayan salt!

  2. I loved The Smurfs (and Loony Tunes!).

    I’m also loving this cracker obsession of yours – such a fabulous alternative to greasy chips. Pine nuts have a wonderful earthy taste, I would probably eat all 40 sablés in one sitting. 😉

  3. Jean – love your cracker kick! Keep them coming. These are a must try. When I was little I loved Friday nights since it had the Brady Bunch on. Smile. Today, I love a Friday since that is the kick off to the weekend!!!

  4. I love making crackers at home, these sound so great with lots of flavor. I even have a few pine nuts that need to get used!

  5. Yum! What a fun and delicious combination of ingredients! They definitely sound very “special occasion”!

  6. Beautiful shots! I can tell these lovely sables are little biscuits of savory goodness! Love the pine nuts and sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt. Bring on the wine 🙂

  7. Sounds fantastic! These sables and some appetizers along with wine… that’s our dinner. 🙂 Our Saturdays are just like your childhood Saturdays. I finally taught my son how to use a remote control so they can watch the recorded TV their favorite shows. That 1-2 extra hour of sleep is necessary! Now I need some time to make these sables!

  8. So what’s that rosé you have in the background? Rosé is all the rage right now, but I find it hard to find a good one.

    Sablés are so much fun because they’re so easy to play with, sweet or savory. Love this combination! I may give it a try soon!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Hi, Holly. My husband and I have been on a rosé kick since last year and you’re right, it seems to be coming back and hard to find good ones. This bottle is an inexpensive one from my local wine guy: 2011 Chateau Ollieux Romanis, Corbiéres; it’s okay. Not like the ones we tasted in France last year. It cost only $15 here so I’m sure it would be much cheaper in your neck of the woods. It’s slim pickins’ for rosés here right now but occasionally we find a good one. The ones we find and try to get a case of are usually sold out. We keep looking, and tasting, though! 🙂

      These sablés were so easy and so good with the wine. I have a half batch in the freezer waiting to be used. So handy to have for when guests come. Hope you try it. 🙂

  9. I have been meaning to make sables for so long now. Love this cheesy version! Gorgeous pictures!

  10. Your Parmesan and pine nut substitution to the original sharp Cheddar and pecan is a fine choice! I rather enjoy nibbling on cheese sables and I just know that I won’t be able to resist these little crackers / biscuits. Very French and tres chic, Jean!

  11. I like the idea of a chilled glass of rose with a few nibbles of your cheese sable crackers- such a wonderful appetizer to offer friends 😉 I like this cracker kick you’ve been on…so many wonderful variations;-)

  12. Hi Jean,
    I’ve always lived for the weekends. Crackers or biscuits, or sables, I love them all. So much that I can’t keep them in the house too often. Yours biscuits look and sound amazing! I love that you added cayenne, I do that too. Thanks for sharing and hope you’re having a great weekend!

  13. These sound delicious and seriously addicting!

  14. These look seriously killer! I’m in charge of apps for my book club next week, and I think these will be coming with!

  15. Delicious!

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