I have a dear friend who is crazy for shortbread cookies. He particularly likes the shortbread cookies I make. This is lovely, except for the fact that I usually bake my walnut rosemary shortbread and cranberry pistachio shortbread around Christmas. Now it is spring and shortbread with wintery flavors just won't do to help celebrate the very big birthday that he recently celebrated.
So -- I went in search of a new recipe with spring flavors. I ended up with the Lemon Sable recipe from Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser. I have longed to make these cookies for some time but never had a reason. Springtime, Easter, birthdays... finally I had an excuse.
The sables (French for sand) are light and crumbly and a glorious yellow from all that lemon zest and the four egg yolks. They also have a very nice balance between sweet, tart, and just a little salty. You will be tempted to eat more than one.
I baked the sables the other evening and they have gotten better and better each and every day. This means they should be just about perfect by the time they arrive on my friend's doorstep in New York. And for those I am spending the weekend with, get ready, these cookies are flying your direction.
(P.S. Sorry no photo, they are all packed up. Trust me, they are pretty, tasty little bites.)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest from 2 to 3 lemons
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
4 egg yolks
1. Combine flour and baking powder in small bowl. Mix butter until creamy, add powdered sugar and beat for a minute, add regular sugar and beat for a minute more. Add lemon zest and salt and mix briefly. Drop in the egg yolks one at a time and mix just to combine. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mix and blend just until the dough is combined. Use a spatula if needed to for final mixing.
2. Divide the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. The dough will be quite soft, but shape it as best you can into two logs. I made my logs long and skinny because I wanted bite size sables. Wrap plastic around the dough and store in fridge or freezer for at least 2 hours, up to a couple of days.
3. When you are ready to bake the cookies pre-heat the oven to 350 and set a rack in the middle of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice logs into 1/4 inch slices and place on baking sheet. If you want, sprinkle a little sanding sugar on the top of each cookie for a bit of extra sparkle.
4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, turning the sheets 180 halfway through, till the cookies are golden around the edges. Cool on baking racks. Store in tins -- these cookies get better with time, wait to eat them, if you dare!