I love my cookie scoop. Love, love, love my cookie scoop. The way it swiftly forms a mess of dough into beautifully uniform orbs and deposits them onto baking sheets in neat rows--breathtaking. And the fact that I never once have to dirty my hands or wrestle with two spoons or weigh portions to ensure even baking, oh, I could just pass out from the sheer joy that my cookie scoop brings me. And I miss it so, because if a recipe calls for a dough to be portioned en masse onto baking sheets, well, that bit is usually just way too time-consuming for an ordinary day now. So one might assume that there would be a frightening lack of cookies around here since my beloved cookie scoop has been laying cold in its drawer for several weeks now. And one would be sorely mistaken, because who needs a fussy drop cookie when there are buttery slice-and-bake Meyer lemon sablés to be had?
Sablés are yet another fantastic French invention, crisp and buttery rounds with one of the shortest ingredient lists in all of baking and a perfect canvas for adding any number of flavors (like a smattering of fragrant Meyer lemon zest). They are so unassuming in their rustic shape and simple recipe, you never see it coming when you sample one and then suddenly have an instant craving for a second and third; you know the feeling--like a warm, snug rope wrapping around you and pulling you back towards the cookie plate. You are powerless against the sablé. It's okay, it happens to everyone.
Meyer Lemon Sablés
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Makes four dozen
This dough freezes beautifully. I love to slice and bake one log of dough the day I put it together, and keep the other log in the freezer for any situation that calls for cookies, of which there are plenty. Serve with tea or coffee or for a last-minute elegant dessert, add a couple to a dish of premium ice cream and fresh berries.
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest of two Meyer lemons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
Sanding sugar or other coarse decorative sugar
Pour the sugars into a small bowl and add the lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant with lemon with the bits of zest evenly distributed throughout the sugar. Set aside.
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until it is soft and creamy-looking. Beat in the lemon sugar just until the mixture looks smooth again, being careful not to let it get fluffy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat in just two of the egg yolks, mixing until well-blended. Turn the mixer to low and stir in the flour until it is fully incorporated. The dough will be very soft and not quite clear the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it in half.
Shape each dough half into a even log about nine inches long and wrap each log in a sheet of plastic wrap (the plastic wrap can also help the dough-shaping process along if your dough is especially soft and sticky). Refrigerate for at least three hours.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Coat each log of dough with the remaining egg yolk, and coat liberally in decorative sugar. Slice each log into 24 discs (most easily achieved by slicing the log in half, then each half in half, etc.) and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown and the cookies are mostly firm to the touch. Cool on the baking sheets for one minute then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.