We’d been talking about throwing a party since our NYE bash, and we finally decided: it was time. We didn’t have any of the usual excuses: no new place, no new job, it wasn’t either of our birthdays. But, it had been some time since we’d gathered together our circles of wonderful friends, and there’s no better reason than friends to throw a party.
So, we had a “getting to know you” party. Of a sort.
Getting to know you. Yes, we’ve had The King and I stuck stuck stuck in our heads since the idea struck. We’ll share it with you, in case you want it stuck in yours:
But — lucky for our friends, at the cup of tea line we realized we needed something sweet on our snacky party menu. We also realized that said menu – of pickles, pâté, herbed almonds, fried chickpeas, white bean & rosemary dip, and bread from the best spot ever – featured quite a bit of citrus. It’s still March, after all.
In our hunt for something sweet and citrusy, we came across a recent post on lemon butter slice-and-bake cookies from a new-found friend in the foodie blogosphere that we’ve, yes, been getting to know: Wonderland Kitchen. Plus we had some leftover Meyer lemons from our pi day pie, and white dazzle sugar just begging to be used. Synchronicity!
These cookies are exactly what you’d expect from lemon butter cookies: dense and delicious and not too sweet, with a fabulous extra sparkly crunch thanks to the sugar. A wonderful cap to an evening with friends.
adapted from Joy the Baker via Wonderland Kitchen
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter (high-fat, euro-style’s best), at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted before measuring
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt
2 large egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour.
zest of 1 lemon and zest of 1 small orange
For the decoration (optional):
1 egg yolk
Crystal or dazzle sugar
1. Beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and very creamy. Rub the lemon & orange zest into the granulated sugar with your fingertips, creating a fragrant sugar. Add the sugars and salt to the butter and continue to beat until smooth and velvety, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in 2 egg yolks, again beating until well blended.
2. Add the flour, and mix on low just until the flour disappears into the dough and the dough looks uniformly moist. If you still have some flour on the bottom of the bowl, stop mixing and use a rubber spatula to work the rest of it into the dough. (The dough will not come together in a ball — and it shouldn’t. You want to work the dough as little as possible. What you’re aiming for is a soft, moist, clumpy dough.)
3. 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 (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 chill them for at least 2 hours. The dough may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
4. When ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. To decorate the edges of the sables, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Place one log of chilled dough on a piece of waxed paper and brush it with yolk (the glue), and then sprinkle the entire surface of the log with sugar. Trim the ends of the roll if they are ragged and slice the log into 1/3-inch-thick cookies. (Alternatively, you can brush the log with yolk, slice, and then roll the slices in sugar. Whatever seems to work better.)
6. Place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between each cookie, and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway point. When properly baked, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden around the edges and pale on top. Let the cookies rest 1 or 2 minutes before carefully lifting them onto a cooling rack with a wide metal spatula. Repeat with the remaining log of dough. (Make sure the sheet is cool before baking each batch.)