Sarah Bernhardt cookies - Sörur

Like several other great artists, most famously the ballerina Pavlova and opera singer Nellie Melba, actress Sarah Bernhardt had some sweet desserts named after her. There is a Sarah Bernhardt cake, and then there are these delicious confections called Sarah Bernhardt cookies, invented by a Danish pastry chef who wanted to honour the actress.
These cookies, which we usually just call "Sarahs", are a great favourite of mine, and I try to make some every year for Christmas.

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I have updated the recipe. The original has one thing wrong with it, which is that the buttercream icing has a tendency to separate when made like the recipe tells you to. I found more precise instructions on how to make this kind of icing in my trusty cooking encyclopedia, and have added them into the original recipe (in closed brackets) for those interested. The downside to the new version is that it does not yield enough icing for all the macaroons (at least if you like to use as much as I do). A little extra butter (50 g or so) and syrup (maybe increase it to a cup of sugar and and a cup of water) and one more egg yolk should take care of it.

400 g blanched almonds, finely ground
2 1/5 cup icing sugar/confectioner's sugar
5 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs baking cocoa
2/3 cup water
300 g butter, soft
250 g chocolate for coating - use dark
2 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)

Mix together ground almonds and icing sugar. Whip the egg whites until they are stiff and form peaks and fold into the almond/sugar mixture. With a teaspoon, put small dollops of dough on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, and bake at 180°C for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies begin to take on a golden colour. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet with a spatula while still hot and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Buttercream icing: Put the water and sugar into a saucepan and cook until the sugar is melted and a thin syrup has formed (for an icing that does not separate, cook the sugar to the soft ball stage, that is 115°C or 239°F of you prefer to use a candy thermometer). Remove from the heat and cool. Beat the egg yolks and slowly pour the cooled syrup into them, stirring constantly. Add the softened butter and mix well. Add cocoa and instant coffee powder (if using). Put in the refrigerator to cool. Spread the cooled icing on the underside of each cookie, forming a small mound in the center. Put in the refrigerator. The icing needs to be cold and stiff before proceeding on to the next step.

Coating: Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Cool to about 40°C (use a candy thermometer or finger test). Dip the icing-covered part of the cookies in melted chocolate to coat. Serve cool or frozen with hot cocoa or strong coffee.

-These cookies should be stored frozen if they are not meant to be eaten immediately.
-Try different flavours of buttercream fillings.


Anonymous said…
Takk kærlega! Er í USA þessi jól og sakna svo sörur um jólin. Reyni á þetta, get ekki beðið!
Gleðileg jól:)
whoeversheis said…
Thanks for the recipe!
I was looking for one to make Sarah Bernhardt cookies :)
Laura Lou said…
I am addicted to these cookies. I used to buy these weekly from a bakery in Newport, RI. I am now in San Diego and was craving them. This recipe is so good. Thank you!
Anonymous said…
I, too, bought these cookies from a bakery in Newport, RI..."Cappucino's"...and became addicted as well. Can't wait to try this recipe as we are now in FL!
Anonymous said…
I think I may be having problems converting cups to grams. The butter filling became way too sweet and gooey. Can someone help with the conversion?
Bibliophile said…
Anonymous, please tell me what conversion you used for the sugar. The filling is definitely not supposed to be icky sweet.

Also, by gooey, do you mean soft or was it sticky, or did it look like it was separating? If it was the last, then the sugar syrup didn't get to cook for long enough.

Also, did you refrigerate the buttercream before putting it on the macaroons?

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