Sablé, or French Shortbread


I am a sucker for shortbread, but then who isn’t? Especially when it’s elegant French shortbread, buttery and crumbly with just a hint of sugar. A Sablé.

I’ve shared with you before many shortbread recipes, including one for the classic Scottish Shortbread, and one of the chief differences between the two versions is that the French recipe usually includes egg. I subbed with some vegan cream cheese, which really helped with the wonderful texture of the cookies. I think the French version is also easier to make, especially with a foolproof recipe like this one which I adapted heavily from one I watched on America’s Test Kitchen.Sable

It’s December and cookies are on everyone’s mind. To make your holiday cookie-making a little easier I’ve compiled a list of some of the cookie recipes that have featured here at Holy Cow! in years past. You can find them here, or by clicking on the page “Cookies for Christmas” just under the Holy Cow! masthead.

I have to run now, but hope everyone’s had a great start to their week. Also, I want to direct you all to the lovely blog Reduce Footprints that is running a guest post from me today on my Overstuffed Aloo Parathas.

Au revoir, all! And enjoy the cookies.


Sablé, or French Shortbread
(Makes 24 cookies)
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Serves: 24
  • 1 stick Earth Balance "butter", softened to room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vegetable shortening (really helps with the great, crumbly texture so important in shortbread. If you'd rather not, just add 2 more tbsp of the Earth Balance
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegan cream cheese, like Tofutti
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp salt (you can even skip this because the Earth Balance is already quite salty)
  • ½ cup very cold soymilk or almond milk
  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp sugar for sprinkling on the cookies
  1. With a handheld mixer or in a stand mixer with the paddle attached, cream together the "butter", shortening, sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy, around 2-3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides a few times in between to ensure everything is evenly mixed.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and mix in.
  3. Take the bowl off the stand mixer, and add the flour and 2 tbsp of soy or nondairy milk.
  4. Using a fork, mix, adding a tiny bit of soymilk as necessary, until you have a cohesive ball of dough. Don't overwork the dough -- stop mixing as soon as the dough comes together. I needed almost the entire ½ cup of soymilk because I was making these on a very cold, dry day, but how much soymilk you add will vary depending on your weather. In a very moist kitchen you might not need any soymilk at all.
  5. Divide the dough into two halves. Using the palms of your hands, roll each half into a smooth log, about six inches in length and 1¾ inches in diameter. Wrap a piece of parchment paper around each log and twist the ends tightly, like a piece of candy.
  6. Refrigerate both logs for at least an hour so they firm up. Mine never firmed up where I could cut them easily with a knife into rounds, so I'd advise even freezing them in the last 15 minutes of chilling so you can cut perfectly round cookies.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Take the chilled log of dough and using a very sharp knife slice into 12 round cookies. Repeat with the second log.
  9. Place the cookies about 1-inch apart on a baking sheet (you can spray lightly with some oil, if you like, but I found these cookies don't stick because of their high fat content). Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with some granulated sugar.
  10. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are lightly golden brown around the edges. It took me nearly 25 minutes in my oven, but because ovens are highly quirky gadgets with minds of their own, start checking 15 minutes after baking. If the cookies are turning color around the edges, take them out. You don't want highly colored cookies because they will be too tough which shortbread should never, ever be.
  11. Transfer the cookies to a rack with a spatula and cool thoroughly before eating.
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Get new recipes by email. Sign up below.


  1. says

    ooh! These look lovely, crumbly yet melt-in-the-mouth goodness. Reminded me of shrewsbury biscuits, pune! I am a total sucker for shortbreads.

  2. says

    Thanks, all!

    Manasi, oh yes, those shrewsbury biscuits. They were something, weren’t they? When I was at my first job in Bombay, my dad was working in Pune. Each time I planned to visit him, colleagues would inundate me with requests for Shrewsbury biscuits and I’d have to plead with my dad to give me a ride out to Kayani’s to buy them. Good times.:)


Leave a comment!