Sunday, January 20, 2008
I found a recipe on Smitten Kitchen the other day that I absolutely had to try -- Margarita Cookies -- but I didn't have all the ingredients to make them (don't worry, that post is next). However, Smitten Kitchen mentioned that she modified the Dorie Greenspan Lemon Sable recipe to get her recipe, and I had all the stuff to make the Lemon Sables -- so I decided to make a batch of them so that when I made the Margarita Cookies after the grocery shopping, we could do side-by-side taste tests.
I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of shortbread/sable style cookies. It's not that I dislike them, but they just don't do that much for me. Chris assures me these are very good cookies, rich and buttery as sables should be and they taste fine... just not that exciting. Dorie says that you can zest one lemon, or a lemon and a half for these cookies. I only did one lemon, but I think I should have done two since the lemon flavor is very, very subtle.
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
zest of one or two lemons
1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp salt, preferably fine sea salt
2 large egg yolks at room temp
2 cups all-purpose flour
Decorating (coarse) sugar
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and very creamy. Add the sugars and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. The mixture should be smooth and velvety, not fluffy and airy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the egg yolks and zest, again beating until the mixture is homogeneous.
Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour and pulse the mixer on low a few times, finally mixing on low just until the flour disappears. Be careful not to overmix the dough, working it as little as possible. The dough will not come together to form a ball, and you don't want it to. Pinch it and it should feel like Play-Doh.
Scrape the dough out onto a smooth work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each piece into a smooth log about 9 inches long; it's easiest to work on a piece of plastic wrap and use the plastic to help form the log. Wrap the logs well and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours, preferably longer. (The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)
To Bake: Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Remove a log of dough from the fridge, unwrap it and place it on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Whisk an egg yolk until it is smooth and brush some of the yolk over the the sides of the dough -- this is the glue -- then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with decorating sugar.
Trim the ends of the roll if they're ragged, and slice the log into 1/3-inch thick cookies (you can make them as thick as 1/2-inch thick, or as then, but no thinner than -- 1/4 inch.) Place the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving an inch of space between them.
Bake one sheet at time for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the midway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden brown around the edges and pale on top; they may feel tender when you touch the top gently, and that's fine. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest a minute or two before gently lifting them onto a rack with a wide metal spatula to cool to room temp.