It’s hot. It’s humid. I’m on another lemon kick.
You know that feeling when you walk into the bathroom not long after someone else in the house took a super hot shower? That’s how Missouri feels in the summertime. Hot. Steamy. Ooph. If you’re a hot-and-sticky summertime fan, then you’re probably gearing up for three to four long months of swimsuit-filled contentment. Although I’ve always loved summer for the sunshine, ice cream and vacations, I’d prefer to spend June through August surrounded by snow, or at the very least in the middle of a crisp 60-degree breeze. Hence my need to find solace where I can. I find my solace in lemons.
These lemon sablés are particularly perfect for a hot summer day for a few reasons. First, they’re the perfect blend of tart and sweet: just enough sugar to feel like a treat and just enough lemon to make you feel refreshed and satisfied. And second, by brushing the dough’s edges with egg yolk and course sugar, each and every cookie proudly sports a whole lotta sparkle. And everyone could use some extra sparkle now and then, don’t you think? Come to think of it, these sablés would look mighty magical at Christmastime, with all their glittery goodness. Perhaps I’ll think of the shimmer as snow. Woot!
Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Sablés
From The Essential New York Times Cookbook (Amanda Hesser, p. 703)
• ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ¼ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
• grated zest of 1 to 1 ½ lemons
• ½ teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt
• 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 egg yolk
• coarse crystal or dazzle sugar
Pour the granulated and confectioners’ sugars in a bowl, and add the grated lemon zest. Using your fingertips or a spoon, work the zest and sugar together until the mixture is moist and aromatic.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and very creamy. Add the sugar-lemon zest mixture and salt, and beat until smooth and velvety, not fluffy and airy, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer to low speed, and beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
Turn off the mixer, and pour in the flour. Cover the mixer with a kitchen towel, and pulse the mixer about 5 times at low speed (for 1 to 2 seconds each time). Peek at the mixture; if there’s still a bit of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse it a few more times; if not, remove the towel and continue mixing at a low speed for about 30 seconds, just until the flour disappears and dough appears uniformly moist. You’re aiming for a soft, moist, clumpy dough. Work the dough as little as possible.
Scrape the dough onto a work surface, gather it into a ball, and divide it in half. Shape each piece into a smooth log about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap, and chill them for at least 2 hours (dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months).
Heat oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. To decorate the edges of the cookies, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Place 1 log of chilled dough on a piece of wax paper, and brush it with the yolk, then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with coarse sugar. Trim the ends of the roll if they are ragged, and slice the log into 1/3-inch-thick cookies.
Place the rounds on a baking sheet, and leave an inch of space between them. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway point. When finished, the cookies should be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on the top. Let the cookies rest for 1 to 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then lift them onto a rack with a wide metal spatula. Repeat with the remaining dough.
You’ve got to love a cookie that gives you the old razzle dazzle. Lemon sablés are officially my new favorite.
Has the summer weather put you in the mood for certain ingredients? What are your favorite warm-weather treats? Is anyone else up their ears in lemons?