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Spicy Parmesan Sables ~ Your Way #Baketogether

Before I get to this month’s  recipe, I thought that as we’ve been baking together for a few months,  it was a good time for some reflection on the #baketogether process and protocols.

At the core, we are a laid back group who share a common love of baking, an interest in stretching our creativity, a desire to push our culinary limits, and, at the end of the day, offering up a tale or two while sharing a good recipe.  My hope is that through #baketogether, bakers of all levels of ability will gather together monthly around one of my recipes to explore, create, improvise, share and learn in the process.

Whether you come to the recipe with little baking experience, in search of a killer recipe or if you are an experienced baker looking for a challenge or a change of pace, please join in and spread the #baketogether love.

A few #Baketogether reminders:

  • Use my recipe as your starting point and personal (not professional) use. Twist and turn it anyway you’d like.
  • Post your version & pix on your personal blog (no posting the recipe on community websites, please) by March 31st. In your post, link back to my original recipe/site. You can also link the recipe and/or directions and simply list your changes in your post. The link love is much appreciated.
  • Invite your readers to join our #baketogether . There’s always room in this virtual kitchen – the more the merrier!
  • Leave me a comment on my original post & don’t forget to use the linky thingy at the bottom of the post to add your entry to the round up so everyone can see what you’ve made.
  • Spread the word about your post via Twitter,  Facebook page (yours and mine) using the tagline #baketogether and we will all join in to share your wonderfulness with our readers, friends and followers.
  • And, as always, if you have questions or need advice, please reach out to me – I’m here to help.

Ok.. back to our regularly scheduled recipe..

This month, I thought it would be fun to explore a savory recipe that packs big-time flavor, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture and, for added fun, employees a classic technique that we’ll be using in future #baketogethers (hint hint). Spicy Parmesan Sables is the recipe and spicy and sassy these crackers are. Made with butter, cheese, flour and cayenne for a kick, they make for a lovely hors d’oeuvre to serve with wine or cocktails and the possible twists are endless. Oh, and the technique is called “fraisage” . This simple method of smearing the just-mixed dough with the palm of your hand creates layers of butter and dough (think laminating) from the crumbly mixture which makes for a tender, flaky texture.  It’s easy to do but I’ve taken a few snaps (with my left hand) to give you some visual clues – check ’em out before you dive into the recipe.

One last comment. Make sure you bake these crackers until the edges are nice and nutty brown around the edges, otherwise the flavors will be muted and the texture will be soft and sad.

How about a few suggestions for switching things up:

  • Change the shape: I’ve made three-bite rectangles but any size  rounds, squares or even cut- outs would work.
  • Change the cheese: Swap out another cheese for the parm. You could go with a smoked cheese, a sharp cheese or a zest cheese like goat or blue. I recommend beginning with the same weight and then adjust up or down as you like.
  • Add more or different flavors: Adding citrus zest or sesame oil or other herbs to the dough will change the character of the cracker to suit your tastes.
  • Add texture: Chopped nuts, cornmeal or seeds like toasted sesame or poppy can add complexity as well as texture to the sables. I’d suggest you mix them into the dough during the fraisage process.

Here at #baketogether, we love all shapes and flavors equally so put on your thinking caps and start planing Spicy Parmesan Sables ~Your Way right now. Let me know when you pop the cork and I’ll be right over.  As always, if you need further guidance or inspiration, give me a holler!



I thought a few photos of the “fraisage” might be helpful.

Dump the dough on the (un-floured) counter. The crumbles will be small and moist.

IMG_0527Using the heel of your hand, push and gently smear the dough away from you.

IMG_0533Give it one more smear…


Using a bench scraper, fold the dough together (it will be rough and crumbly) and turn it about 90 degrees and give it one or..

IMG_0534…two more smears with the heal of your hand.

IMG_0536Shape the dough into a 7 1/4-inch long and 2 1/4 -inch wide rectangle using the bench scraper to make the sides nice and straight. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours …

IMG_0523..before slicing and baking until the edges of the sables are nutty brown.



Spicy Parmesan Sables
Makes 29 sables.

1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 teaspoon table salt

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/8 teaspoon (or more to taste) ground cayenne pepper

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 7 slices, well chilled

2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons very cold water

Kosher salt for sprinkling (optional)

To make the dough:
1. Put the flour, cheese, salt and cayenne 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.

2. Dump the moist crumbs onto the unfloured counter and gather into a pile. With the heel of you hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. Two or three ‘smears’ should do the trick. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees and give it one or two more smears.  Gather the dough together and shape the dough into a 7 1/4-inch long and 2 1/4 -inch wide rectangle using the bench scraper to make the sides nice and straight. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days.

3. 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 (they don’t spread much at all) 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 kosher salt just as the baking sheets come out of the oven. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.
4. 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. Likewise, tuck the baked and cooled sables 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.


And from Barbara (DrBarb):  My mother makes these little crackers she calls cheese crispettes that she adapted from the Temple Sinai (New Orleans)1960’s cookbook.  I decided to use the same flavor profile–cheddar, cayenne; I used smoked paprika and panko instead of rice krispies.  (Yes, rice krispies.)


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  • Laura @MotherWouldKnow
    March 1, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Can’t wait to make this #Baketogether. Such a nice change of pace. Besides, how can a grown-up resist the chance to schmear dough?! That’s not a typo – it’s either a “regional variation” or the correct pronunciation, depending on your perspective:)

  • Spicy Parmesan Sables ~ Your Way #Baketogether | Fieldstone Farm
    March 1, 2012 at 9:36 am

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  • Renee - Kudos Kitchen
    March 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Yay Hoo! I love baking savory items! I’m very excited to be trying these. I just printed the recipe and will be baking them as soon as time allows. I can hardly wait!

    • Abby Dodge
      March 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm


  • cherie
    March 1, 2012 at 10:08 am

    These look absolutely marvelous – can’t wait to try them!

    • Abby Dodge
      March 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Can’t wait to see what you do with the recipe!

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary
    March 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

    These are a few of my favorite things; no kidding. The sables I normally make have Parmesan and thyme but no cayenne so maybe, for once I can do the recipe at hand and that in itself will be ‘switching it up.’ I would have these now with coffee if you would please please just come over. 🙂

    • Abby Dodge
      March 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      I had to put my remainders in the freezer — just as good with morning tea as they are with a glass o wine

  • Dana B
    March 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

    These look great. The funny thing is I knew the term fraisage (but it’s great to see pics!), but have never heard of sables 🙂 A quick google search didn’t yield a good def. I saw defs ranging from shortbread cookie to sandwich! So is it a savory shortbread cookie? Guess I need to make it and find out, huh? 🙂

    • Abby Dodge
      March 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Savory Shortbread (ish) Cookies: These little gems are exactly that!

  • Deb @ knitstamatic
    March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Well I’ve been a slacker these past few months and I’ve really missed joining in the #baketogether fun, so I’m back and excited!

  • Lisa | Dust with Flour
    March 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    This should be fun. I like how you shaped them into rectangles instead of circles.

  • Scott_D
    March 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I came up with a recipe I’ll surely make again. This recipe seems easy to modify in about a million ways…


  • Susan
    March 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    These look great, Abby! I’ve only ever had sweet sables, so will definitely have to try these – thanks for the inspiration!

    • Abby Dodge
      March 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      I’ve just baked off a tray to have with a rose tonight..Feels like summer.. well.. spring-ish.. here in CT!

  • Georgie
    March 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I made a savory flavor that I’m fond of… a post soon to follow. I’m always excited to be a part of #baketogether – Thanks Abby!

  • Pesto Orange Sables #baketogether « GeorgieCakes
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    • Abby Dodge
      March 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

      What a delicious looking svaory cookie – Nice work Georgie! And thx for the kind words of support.. much appreciated! Enjoy your weekend & say “hey” to Jeff

  • Becca from It's Yummilicious
    March 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I’m SO excited to be able to #baketogether and use a new technique to do so!
    I just placed my dough into the fridge and I can hardly wait until it’s time to bake them!
    Thanks for allowing us to share in your good eats, Abby! 🙂

    • Abby Dodge
      March 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Can’t wait to see what you’ve baked!

  • Spicy Blue Cheese and Apricot Sables | The Wimpy Vegetarian
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  • The Wimpy Vegetarian
    March 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I just posted mine! Really enjoyed making this, and love seeing everyone’s results! What a nice contrast to a sweet sable most of us are more familiar with. Thanks, Abby.

    • Abby Dodge
      March 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Holy Cow.. Not only do we get a wonderful, rich recipe but all that Apricot knowledge puts it over the top!

  • Michelle Jaffee
    March 17, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Definitely looking forward to this month’s #baketogether. #delicious

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  • Deeba Rajpal (@vindee)
    March 22, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Loved it! I enjoyed the month #baketogether Abby – Savoury Dill Cheddar Buckwheat Sables … a spicy #baketogether {http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/2012/03/baking-savoury-dill-cheddar-buckwheat-sables-baketogether.html}
    Thank you for the wonderful recipe and the inspiration. Am happy to be back!!

  • Kate @ Food Babbles
    March 22, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Loved this recipe Abby!! So easy and absolutely delicious. Thanks for another scrumptious #baketogether project.

  • Karen Harris
    March 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    These look amazing. I can’t wait to get to work on these. My husband is going to love the taste testing.

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    March 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I went Spanish. Plus I blabber on and on about how Abby Dodge and #baketogether rocks it. 🙂


  • Deeba Rajpal (@vindee)
    March 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Added to the linky Abby. Sorry missed reading that bit! TY!!

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  • Deb @ knitstamatic
    March 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Whew, I got my post up. I really enjoyed this recipe, I think I may continue to play with the flavors some more. I made Rosemary-Asiago Sables. http://knitstamatic.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/rosemary-asiago-savory-sables-baketogether/

  • Mindy Trotta
    March 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Really enjoyed being part of #bakingtogether this month. Tried to “Passoverize” the recipe
    by using kosher for Passover products.


    • Abby Dodge
      March 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Love your version Mindy – “K for P” is awesome! Are you on Twitter? What’s your handle? And. do you know @Michelle_Jaffee of Sweet & SImple?

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  • Hannah
    March 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing another terrific recipe, Abby! It was a fun one to adapt. I can’t wait to check out all the delicious variations that have been posted.

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  • Karen Harris
    March 30, 2012 at 10:53 am

    What a great recipe that will now be a regular on my countertop. My husband once again sends his thanks to you for another great snack. He had the last two for breakfast this morning.

  • angie
    March 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    love this idea, for the recipe and the bake together recipe change up! 🙂 keep up the great work!

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  • Nicole
    April 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Hi Abby-
    Nice meeting you today at the iacp culinary expo! I’m glad to learn about #baketogether what a fun project. These spicy sables are right up my alley and I love the technique involved!

    • Abby Dodge
      April 3, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Lovely to meet you too! And I’d love for you to join in Baketogether when you have time.

  • Princess Polkadot
    April 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Sorry I missed out on the linky party, but thanks again for another great recipe.

    (Confession – the husband made herb butter and took the whole mess downstairs to watch TV with. I have to say, that was LITTLE over the top for my taste, but he enjoyed it)

    • Abby Dodge
      April 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

      Thank YOU for participating! We have a few more Gluten-free-ers joining in this month – should be fun!

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  • Cakewoman
    May 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I’m finally getting around to trying these. What a wonderful idea for a savory cookie.

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