Don’t Take My Word: Sable Cookies

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Oh dear, Shia Labeouf, thank you for giving me something to think about.

The Transformers actor and complete goofus spent the holidays doing damage control for a series of plagiarism accusations: once for an apology he lifted from an Esquire feature, another for completely ripping off a graphic novel to make a film short, and then again for stealing words from Yahoo Answers to justify his use of the graphic novel.

What was he thinking when he pilfered those words? Was his Yahoo question “What is plagiarism?” Admittedly, I wouldn’t cite Yahoo Answers as my source in an apology, and I’m sure this opinion on plagiarism is shared by many, but using the copy-paste function is just dumb, unless you put quotes around the words and give credit to the author. So I feel bad for the guy. He doesn’t have an original idea inside his head because he’s not that smart and that he hasn’t learned from public shaming and repeats the mistake two more times (that we know of) makes him look even more vacant.

So what does this have to do with sable cookies? Ahh… well. I made sable cookies and I stole the recipe from Martha. I tweaked it. To suit me. And I’m going to post it right here.

Sable Cookies

  • 6 TB unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar, salt, and butter. When it is creamy, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. When the egg is combined, add the flour, a little bit at a time until it’s all well-incorporated and you have a nice, smooth cookie dough. Gently roll it out, cover it with plastic and refrigerate it until it’s chilled — about 20 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 325F.

Roll out the dough until it’s about ⅛ thick (I did this on my silpat so I wouldn’t have to dirty up my counter). With a 2.5” round, fluted cookie cutter to carve out cookies. Using a fork, you can hash out lines which, I think, makes them authentic sables, but they’re not necessary. What is necessary is adding a little bit of water to the remaining egg white to make an egg wash to brush on to the formed cookies just before baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are the color of sunshine.

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So I cite Martha’s recipe, but she was not the first person to publish this French confection on the internet or in a book, yet, she cites no one as her inspiration. I have a number cookbooks by authors who don’t credit anyone for their recipes; I think it’s nearly impossible to have a completely original recipe, particularly when it’s something like a basic cookie, brownie, or cake.

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They’re good little cookies — they’re not super exciting, but they go well with coffee or tea. Makes about 25 cookies.

I don’t know where we draw the line on plagiarism in the world wide web of cooking, and if Shia Labeouf doesn’t learn from his mistakes, at least I will take the fallout as a suggestion. I’m citing my sources. Thanks for the reminder, Shia, and for being a total Twinkie.

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