Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lemon Sables

In this post-graduate part of my life, there are many things I miss about school. While I wouldn't go back if given the opportunity, I never anticipated a lot of the stress and confusion that goes along with everything. My biggest worries are no longer "What will I wear to happy hour?" but instead, "What's my career plans? Where is my life going? Where's everything else going?" Some people might thrive on that kind of uncertainty, calling it excitement, but I'm not one of them. My job is moving in two years and I need to figure out if I'll be going with it; my friends will probably all move away, and boyfriend situation's up in the air (we've got very different future plans).

What I miss most is having roommates. I lived with my three best friends (and sometimes additional people) for 4 years, and it was like having built in fun 24/7 (well, most of the time). It was nice that no matter what I did I had friends there doing it with me, whether it was getting drunk for Mardi Gras or cooking a Thanksgiving dinner or just loafing around watching hours of wedding shows on the Style Network. So it was definitely nice to recreate all of this on a recent Saturday night, when my best friend (and former roommate) Jenn came by, and we sat around the entire night drinking wine and eating my new official favorite cookies.

Those would be Dorie's Lemon Sables. These were incredible! Between the two of us, we demolished about 20 of them. I also made a batch for a Superbowl party, and they got my guy friends' approval (they merely said, "Wow these are good," instead of busting my chops as usual). And my boyfriend, who is notorious for his extremely small appetite, ate an entire half batch alone. That, my friends, is no small wonder. And it's proof of the awesomeness of these cookies.

This is a very basic recipe, one which encourages customization and new versions. I personally can't wait to try the Smitten Kitchen Margarita Cookies version, but for now, I wanted to try out the base recipe and see where that went. And it was truly delicious: crumbly, simple, buttery cookies with a crackly coating of sanding sugar sprinkles around the edges.

Lemon Sables, from Dorie Greenspan, Baking From My Home to Yours
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 sticks butter, at room temp
2 large egg yolks
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp fleur de sel
To Decorate:
1 egg yolk, beaten
Sanding sugar
Pour the granulated sugar into a bowl. Add lemon zest and rub together with fingers until fragrant (this is the best smell in the world).
Beat the butter in a mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the sugars and mix until smooth, being careful not to beat in too much air. Reduce speed to low and beat in egg yolks.
Pour in all the flour. Cover mixer with a towel or guard and pulse until dough is uniformly moist. This is like a shortbread, so be careful not to overmix. The dough won't really come together, and that's fine.
Scrape dough onto a work surface and gather into a ball. Divide this in half, and roll each half into a log, working the dough as little as possible. I find it easiest to smush it into a messy rectangle on top of a piece of Press and Seal, then use the press and seal to cover it and then roll it into a neater log shape.
Refrigerate for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Dough can be frozen for 2 months at this point.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet (I use nonstick foil). Brush the outsides of each log with egg yolk, and sprinkle or roll in sanding sugar. Slice into 1/3 thick slices and bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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