Thursday, March 15, 2012

Buckwheat Sablés with Garrotxa Cheese, Thyme and Lemon Zest for #Baketogether

Buckwheat sablés with Garrotxa cheese, thyme, and lemon zest.
If it’s possible for a single blog to have a meme, mine would be sablé. In the 11 months since I started this cooking journal, I’ve baked four versions of buttery shortbread cookies.

It wasn’t intentional. It just happened. Memes are like that. You think they come out of nowhere until there’s a pattern in the rear view mirror.

All my sablés, until now, have been on the sweet side. All have used standard unbleached wheat flour. So, when Abby Dodge posted her Spicy Parmesan version for March’s Twitter #baketogether, I got to thinking about variations.

Wanting to change the base, I selected buckwheat. I had some in the pantry, owing to a recent craving for pancakes as a special Friday night supper. Buckwheat is gluten free and this recipe would be a thoughtful way to accommodate friends allergic to gluten.

Garrotxa, an aged goat cheese from Spain.
The Garrotxa cheese came about while browsing the diverse selection at New Pioneer Food Co-op. It is a flavorful aged goat’s milk variety from Spain’s Catalonia region. Creamy white inside, it has a soft and bloomy rind. Garrotxa is rich and tangy enough to pair with earthy buckwheat.

To fill in the flavor gap, I kept the fresh thyme that Abby used. There is a great local herb company, Mariposa, that supplies area supermarkets. I enjoy having fresh thyme, rosemary and basil in the dead of winter.

The cookie needed only one thing more: lemon zest to echo the goat cheese tang and complement the fresh thyme. Lemon and thyme are one of my very favorite combinations. I love to grow golden thyme because it carries a strong lemony flavor. My plant died last year so I have to start over with a new one soon.

I’m pleased with these savory little things. They are perfect for nibbling with a sip of sherry or port wine, and would even go nicely with tea. Although they need no accompaniment, they might take to a drizzle of honey or fig jam.

So here’s a fifth sablé for my collection. If you’d like to see the others, they are Lemon Butter Cookies with Marmalade Ganache, Punitions, Croque-Telé, and the intensely chocolate Sablés Korova.

Buckwheat Sablés with Garrotxa Cheese, Lemon Zest, and Thyme
adapted from Abby Dodge

1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) buckwheat flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Garrotxa cheese
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon (or more to taste) ground black pepper
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 7 slices, well chilled
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons very cold water
Fleur de sel or kosher salt for sprinkling (optional)

Combine flour, cheese, salt, thyme, lemon zest, and pepper in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter pieces are slightly larger than pea size, about 10 to 12 pulses depending on your machine. Drizzle the water evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form moist crumbs that are just beginning to clump together, about 8 or 9 more pulses depending on your machine.

Dump the moist crumbs onto an unfloured counter and gather into a pile. With the heel of your hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees and give it one or two more smears. Now shape the dough into a rectangle or round log. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/4-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time,  until nutty brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes. If you like, sprinkle the crackers with a little salt just as the baking sheets come out of the oven. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

The dough can be shaped and frozen for up to a month and then thawed for about an hour on the counter or in the refrigerator overnight. You can also put baked and cooled sablés in a heavy duty zip top bag and stash them in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature and warm them for a few minutes at 325°F to refresh the flavors.


  1. Love the buckwheat flour and goat cheese. Wonderful!

  2. Jody @fieldstonefarmMarch 15, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Beautiful, and I'm sure taste as good as they look! And the gluten free element is really a bonus, my friends will love this, thanks!


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