Dark Chocolate Lavender Sables for a #BastilleDay #HolidayFoodParty

Happy Bastille Day, mes amis! Do you actually say “Happy Bastille Day” to people on Bastille Day? Is it weird that I really like to say “Bastille Day” because “Bastille” is a fun word? Pardon my ignorance, but I don’t know anything about this holiday other than what Wikipedia tells me: it’s the French National Day, which falls on July 14th and commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution. Viva la France!

Bastille Day Holiday Food Party

I’m getting together again with my favourite bloggers to celebrate this day with, what else, good food! A huge thanks to Anita of The Hungry Couple and Susan of The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen for getting us organized today.

Even though French is one of the two national languages of Canada, I can’t speak it.

Je suis Canadienne.

Je m’appelle Nancy.

Où sont les toilettes s’il vous plaît?

Excusez moi.

Zut alors!

That’s pretty much the extent of my ability to converse in French. Pathetic!

I took French in high school up to grade 11 but I put zero effort into ever learning the language. The teacher I had in both grades 10 and 11 was a terrifying woman. Without warning, she would slowly drag an old, rusty stool into the centre of the room at the front of the class and would pick us at random to sit on the stool and answer a series of rapid fire questions in French. It was scary and mortifying for those of us who sputtered our way incoherently through the exercise.

Now I wish I had learned a thing or two back then. My dream destination is Paris. Someday I’ll get there and when I do, I don’t want to be ridiculed by the locals. Everyone tells me that so long as you attempt to speak French, people will be nice to you, but if you don’t, watch out. Is this true? For those of you who have been there, was that your experience?

For now, I’ll have to live vicariously through my friends (I loved this post by Erika, The Pancake Princess, chronicling her recent trip to Paris and all the incredible food she ate there), through David Lebovitz and his awesome blog (if you haven’t read his book, The Sweet Life In Paris, I highly recommend it!) and of course, by eating any French food I can get my hands on.

My last attempt at making choux pastry was a bit of a nightmare so, despite my love of cream puffs, éclairs, etc, I wasn’t going to try making anything choux based. I figured I can handle a cookie so I scoured the internet until I landed on Smitten Kitchen’s dark chocolate sables. “Sable” is the French word for sand and it’s pretty apt for these cookies because of their crumbly texture. They’re similar to shortbread and absolutely delicious.
Dark chocolate lavender sables | www.gottagetbaked.com
Before I get to the recipe, here are the rest of today’s offerings to entice you. Make sure you click through them all for some delightful French food inspiration!

    1. Apple Tarte Tatin from Hungry Couple
    2. Chaussons aux Pêches from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
    3. Dark Chocolate Lavender Sables from gotta get baked
    4. Chocolate Cherry Brioche from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
    5. Gougères (Herbed Cheese Puffs) from Crumb
    6. Mendiant from Cravings of a Lunatic
    7. Lemon Raspberry Madeleines from Kelly Bakes
    8. Chocolate Orange Torte from What Smells So Good?
    9. Cherry Clafoutis from Pineapple and Coconut
    10. Meyer Lemon Fingerling Potato Salad from Magnolia Days

Dark chocolate lavender sables | www.gottagetbaked.com
Dark Chocolate Lavender Sables (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark Dutch cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp culinary lavender (coarsely ground in a mortar and pestle or crushed with your fingers)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped in a food processor

Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt together. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, beating until combined and scrape down the sides of the bowl. To the butter mixture, add dry ingredients, grated chocolate and lavender and mix until just combined.

Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a roll, approximately three inches wide. Wrap the roll up and chill it in the fridge until just firm, about one hour. The dough can be refrigerated until needed, up to two days, or frozen for about a month. Allow frozen dough to soften a bit before cutting.

Dark chocolate lavender sables | www.gottagetbaked.com

Failing at rolling the dough in pearl sugar & sea salt. Explanation below!

Dark chocolate lavender sables | www.gottagetbaked.com
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap. Slice into cookies approximately 1/2 inch thick. Place them at least an inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If your cookies are on the thinner side, bake between 8 to 10 minutes. If thicker, bake for 10 to 12 minutes. I baked mine for 11 minutes.

Remove from the oven and keep the cookies on the baking sheet for about five minutes before carefully removing them to a rack to completely cool.
Dark chocolate lavender sables | www.gottagetbaked.com
You’ll see that there are chunks of something white on the sides of my cookie. I tried rolling the roll of dough in a mixture of pearl sugar and sea salt for that decorative look but it was rather unsuccessful (the sugar/salt didn’t adhere evenly) and it was unnecessary because the cookies tasted fantastic on their own.
Dark chocolate lavender sables | www.gottagetbaked.com
The taste is dark, refined, elegant. There are teeny tiny chunks of chocolate threaded throughout each cookie that melt gloriously on the tongue. The lavender isn’t overwhelming – it provides a subtle yet ever present floral flavour that compliments the dark chocolate beautifully. And of course, these cookies are best eaten with French vanilla ice cream.
Dark chocolate lavender sables | www.gottagetbaked.com

73 thoughts on “Dark Chocolate Lavender Sables for a #BastilleDay #HolidayFoodParty

  1. Pingback: Mendiant | Cravings of a Lunatic

  2. Oh wow look at those awesome cookies! And I don’t know a thing about Bastille Day other than the fun I’m having with this holiday food party.

  3. Paris is my dream, too! Let’s go together and eat our way through. Can you say wine and cheese every single day? Nancy, these cookies look so dang rich and chocolatey. I love ’em and want to shove about a dozen right into my cookie hole. Pinned.

    • Sigh, that would be heaven, Jennie. We would have the best time. So what if we gain a billion pounds? It’d be worth every calorie! Thanks for the compliments, sweet friend!

  4. Hey Nancy! I took French in college and all as said all the time was “Zut alors!” haha love it! I also honeymooned in Paris so will head over to Erika’s blog after this. . dude, LOVE these dark chocolate lavender sables . . they look SO good! You guys are awesome for celebrating Bastille Day!

  5. Pingback: Chocolate Cherry Brioche - The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen | The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

  6. Ce sont très bons 😛
    I took french till year 12 though it is amazing how quickly it is forgotten! I love these delicious sables by the way, they look so dark and indulgent – beckoning me 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. LOL about the French, Nancy…I only took a year and my family kept turning to me to translate when we were in France. Yeah, right. My repertoire is even less than yours! Your sables look amazing…especially as those mini ice cream sandwiches!

    • Yikes, talk about pressure! I’d have bought them those little French phrase books and been like, “here, take this and use it!” Thanks so much, Liz. I’d have to say the ice cream was a pretty brilliant move on my part 😉

  8. Pingback: Meyer Lemon Fingerling Potato Salad | Magnolia Days

  9. Don’t beat yourself up too much regarding your linguistic ability. I took three years of Spanish in high school and the only three sentences I can remember translate to 1) Where’s the nude beach? 2) More beer, please and 3) Where’s the bathroom? figuring those were the only three sentences I’d need (in that order) if I was ever stuck in a Spanish speaking environment.

    You’ll find out in about a week that Mrs. Stuntman speaks fluent Tagalog. I keep telling myself I need to learn so I know what she’s up to when she speaks to her sister. LOL

    • Lmao – I think those three sentences are all anyone needs to know in any language! At least for a rockin’ debaucherous evening. The next time Mrs. Stuntman and her sister start gossiping in Tagalog, get Google translate ready on your phone 😉 Can’t wait to meet both of you!

  10. You read my mind with these sables! I just made sables for the first time last week and they have such a lovely texture, but now I want to try your dark chocolate version. And now I’m totally regretting not making ice cream sandwiches out of them!

  11. Love these cookies, Nancy! They look absolument magnifique. 🙂 I’m totally intrigued by the combo of dark chocolate and lavender… I’m usually so-so about lavender in desserts, because it can feel like I’m munching on a perfumed sachet, but I like to think the chocolate would balance that out enough to make the lavender actually enjoyable.

    • Merci beaucoup, Isabelle! I hear ya on the lavender. The last thing I want to be eating is the equivalent of potpourri so I was careful not to use too much of the lavender. Soap-flavoured dessert, not gonna happen!

  12. You know, Paris is my dream vacation too! I wish..one day soon. But I’ve never heard of sables. I’m clearly lacking in my French delicacies. I need to make these ASAP to make up for that. The dark chocolate looks so indulgent! This party has been fun 🙂

  13. Zut alors, indeed, Nancy! These are wonderful cookies and I love the addition of French vanilla ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better, n’est pas? My Paris experience is that if you are inside the loop (the Périphérique) that is to say, actually in Paris, it doesn’t matter whether you try to speak French. Nice people will be nice to you and haughty, horrible people will be just that, despite your best efforts. You will meet both sorts. In the suburbs, what the French call Banlieue, and farther afield to the countryside, trying to speak French will get you everywhere. Folks in those markets and restaurants seem much more appreciative of efforts to converse in their own tongue.

    Side story: Our younger daughter was born in Paris with a c-section scheduled for the 17th of July. I tried to talk the doctor into doing it on Le Quatorze Juillet so that she would have a Bastille Day birthday but he wasn’t having any of it. After all, it was a holiday. 🙂 Quel dommage!

    • AS IF the doctor wanted to work on Bastille Day! Stacy, you should’ve known better than to make such a silly request 😉 Thanks for the insight. Yeah, that’s pretty much what everyone else says. Hopefully I’ll run into more friendly people versus the rude. And I definitely want to venture out of Paris and visit the French countryside. I’ll get there someday!

  14. Hahaha Nancy, that is hilarious about the French teacher doing that to students on the stool! So mean! I took two years of French in high school too and it was SO hard and don’t really remember any of it. SUCH a hard language. Ok, so I have been to Paris and sorry to all the Paris lovers, it was a beautiful city, without a doubt…BUT the people were rude AS HELL. My hubby and I tried to speak French everywhere we went and honestly every restaurant, ESPECIALLY the people working at the hotel we were staying in were so insanely rude, it made the whole experience bad. I would never want to go back. People shoved and pushed and got rude and impatient when we ordered food. I guess you should never try to sub any ingredients on a recipe, that really seemed to piss them off. It was just soooo weird for us because we are from Texas and people are really nice here. I have heard the countryside is MUCh different, so we want to go there. I’m sure the experience is different for everybody. I have heard many great things from others, but maybe it was just a bad week for us, because the next week we went to Ireland and they were the NICEST people on the planet….a whole different world.
    These cookies look insanely delicious…I would have never thought to add lavender, but it sounds incredible!! Gorgeous!

    • Stacy is correct above…certain areas it just doesn’t matter, some people are just rude. Unfortunately for us, eveybody hated us, LOL! We got a lot of under the breath comments like “oh, those are Americans”….”look, she’s an American” and everybody stared at me like I was an alien. Very weird experience, but that was back in 2008, maybe it’d be different now, who knows.

      • What the hell?! How did you have such a horrible experience in Paris? You are the sweetest person ever. Those people were nuts to treat you that way. Next time, slap a Canadian flag onto your bag. I hear a lot of people do that to get better service but who knows if that works anymore?! You should definitely try the French countryside. I’ll meet you there!

  15. I loved reading this post 😀 You made me smile with the story about your struggles (sorry). I love Paris and actually France in general 😀
    And it is true, the French love it if tourists try to speak their language but they do expect you to :p I can’t blaim them…
    It’s okay if you can’t speak French that good, just try and they’ll be more than happy 🙂
    Your treats look so delicious!

    • No, I don’t blame them either. I’d hate it if my city/country were constantly overrun with tourists who didn’t even bother to learn my language or anything about my culture. I’m going to spend at least a year brushing up on some French before I go! Thanks for visiting and for all the lovely comments, Sarah!

  16. Oh it may happen that the French answer you back in English if they hear your French isn’t that good but if you keep speaking French, they’ll speak French to you as well. I have to say that this occurs more in touristic areas such as cities (Paris, …)
    You really don’t have that in non-touristic areas 🙂

  17. Zut alors, Nancy! Certainement votre sables sont très délicieux =) J’espère vous gets to go au voyager au Paris soon! Most of the time I felt like I was walking inside a picture postcard =) Your sables truly are delicious looking, Nancy. Bravo!

  18. Tres magnificent! My french is really poor, so that’s all you get from me! Although I will say that yes, the French were kind to us because we did make an effort to speak the language while we were there. Love these sables, especially with that extra touch of salt and ice cream on top!

    • Sigh, I hope it won’t be as mortifying as I imagine it will be when I attempt to speak my crappy French! You give me hope though, Susan, and for that I thank you!

    • They totally do it on purpose. They love to see us squirm! Thanks for the compliments on the photos – I’ve been trying new things with my photography and styling. Glad to see you like it as opposed to being disgusted with my non-manicured hands!

  19. Whoo, lookit you plowing through all your comment replies this week, Nance! I love love love this roundup so much–especially because Bastille IS such a fun word to say. I think you’re allowed to je m’appelle and je suis awesome your way out of anything with such awesome sables. My dad tried to speak TERRIBLE French once when I was young and we were in France, and they were actually totally kind–but I hear English is a-okay in the big cities for the most part now. I hope you get to report back soon!

    • Lol, thanks for noticing that, Ala. I’m TERRIBLE at replying to people’s comments on my blog, mainly because of how little spare time I have. But then I appreciate it so much when other bloggers reply to my comments so I figured I should put more effort in. I think it helps being Asian. The French might not expect as much from us in terms of knowing the language! I’m totally gonna milk it as much as I can whenever I go.

  20. Hooorrraaaay for Bastille Day! I was wondering if, after the 4th of July, there was any red/white/blue food left in the blog world to acknowledge Bastille Day, but you’d done it one better – with chocolate and lavender! My weakness!

    • Lol, thanks Nora! We chose Bastille Day to be a little bit cheeky since it’s not hugely known in North America. I’m so glad we did! This was my first time baking with and eating something chocolate & lavender flavoured. I’m pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is!

  21. Oh my gosh Nancy, this is awesome. I’ve been wanting to make a pistachio version forever and haven’t gotten around to it. This is so cool. I dig the idea of ice cream, sable ice cream sandwiches all around.

    Did I ever tell you I had the pleasure of meeting David in Miami? He was so incredibly sweet. He told me he loved my blog name. I was smitten. He’s the nicest man ever. So calm, and yet so intriguing. I could listen to him talk all day.

    • Kim, I remember reading on Facebook that you met David and that he loved your blog name. I fangirled a bit when I read that Facebook status. What an extremely cool experience! David was here in Vancouver for his book tour and I missed the opportunity to have dinner with him and get a signed copy of his book. I’m kicking myself in the arse for being too cheap to spring for the ticket. Oh well. Next time! A pistachio version of the sable sounds amazing! I hope you make it and blog about it! Have a meat-tastic weekend, my friend!

  22. Shortbread with a french accent………WOW! Do you use King Arthur double dark Dutch cocoa or something else to get that amazing dark chocolate color? I swear I can smell the chocolate-lavender through the computer screen, and i am swooning in delight! I love flower flavors. I haven’t tried lavender with chocolate, though. Yes, it is kind of like eating perfume, but in a good way. When I realized how much I enjoyed lavender in savory as well as sweet foods I had eaten out, I ordered some online so that I could try some recipes at home. I had no how little lavender is needed for a recipe and ordered a wee bit too much. Like a quart size ziplock bag full! I believe I have plenty left to give these cookies a try! I speak Spanish but only a handful of words and phrases in French. Our family had a wonderful time in Paris. I learned ahead of time that it was important to start any interaction with “Bonjour, madame/monsieur.” I followed that with, ” Je suis désolé. Je ne parle français.” (I am sorry. I don’t speak French.) I would then proceed to butcher the beautiful French language as I asked my question that I had pieced together from a dictionary. In a pinch, I tried Spanish with a french accent (Which was surprisingly close, much of the time !). The vast majority of people were helpful and patient.

    • Lol, that’s a LOT of lavender! Wendy, you’d better start baking so that you can make your way through the bag. I was using Hershey’s special dark cocoa for a long time, then I bought a bag of dark Dutch cocoa from a local baking goods store that does the trick. I don’t think I can ever go back to regular cocoa. I just love how dark ‘n decadent my baking looks with this stuff. Thanks for the great tips on speaking to the French! I’m re-reading my copy of David Lebovitz’s Sweet Life in Paris and he said it’s absolutely imperative that you say “bonjour” to everyone you encounter in Paris. I’ll definitely follow it up with the “I’m sorry I don’t speak French line”. I have a feeling I’m going to know that line very very well!

  23. Happy Bastille Day! Don’t worry, I took French for 3 years and I don’t remember a scratch of it. I honestly do want to relearn it though. These sables are gorgeous and I love that they are dark chocolate.

  24. These sables look absolutely fabulous!!! I love that you turned them into ice cream sandwiches!!!! I hope you get to Paris one day, or really, anywhere in France. It’s a beautiful country!

  25. It’s somehow oddly reassuring that you are Canadian but cannot speak French. I took it once as part of an enrichment program in middle school and meant to pick it back up, but never did! Maybe we should be French skype conversation buddies and learn together… while eating these decadent little sables, that is!

    • I probably shouldn’t speak for the rest of Canada but I think most of us don’t know French. We should definitely be French skype buddies…or maybe just Skype together while eating dessert!

  26. What a gorgeous and elegant cookie! They are absolutely beautiful and look so delicious! I love that you did a Bastille Day party – how fun! Also – your French teacher sounds awful!! I had an amazing French teacher and so I really loved French class. Unfortunately I stopped taking it in college so forgot lots of it – one of my biggest regrets!

    • Thanks Cate! I shouldn’t be too hard on my high school French teacher. I was a horrible student in general and it was probably more my laziness rather than her scariness that made me not learn the language. Glad to hear you had a good teacher who inspired you.

  27. Pingback: Puff Daddy: Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs) - Crumb: A Food Blog

  28. These look absolutely heavenly Nancy! They’re so beautiful, I could eat the whole log! Love that French foodie, David Leibovitz too, The Sweet Life is one of my favourite! Alas, I just missed out on a trip to Paris, (my parents & sister,) are going without me in two weeks. I’m going to need a pastry consolation prize or two 😉

  29. I think I took like six weeks of French in high school. We had an exploratory class that went through all the languages then we picked which one we wanted to learn. I chose Spanish but barely remember anything! Anyway, I love sables because of the melt-in-your-mouth texture. Not a big fan of lavender but love the lighting in these photos.

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