Sablés remind me in their texture of one of my favorite childhood treats, pecan sandies. It makes sense because sablé comes from the French word for sand. Like their name suggests, they’re crumbly and golden. I like them as a cookie for parties because a lot of times at parties you have a plate of savory and sweet treats that you’re eating all at once, so the perfect sweet is one that tastes good but isn’t so overpowering that it’s going to be weird following it with an olive.
Traditionally, they are flavored with lemon or orange. This recipe splits the difference and uses Meyer lemons, which is a hybrid of the two. Meyer lemons used to be hard to find, but nowadays you can find them at lots of grocery stores, especially fancy ones. And all grocery stores are becoming fancy now (even the one in our neighborhood where I used to be afraid to buy anything but canned goods has a surprisingly well-stocked cheese section and three varieties of avocado).
For parents looking for a fun family activity, this is a nice recipe to make with your kids as there are plenty of steps that are easy for a child to handle, fun to do, and don’t risk ruining the recipe, like rolling the dough into logs and coating them in sugar.
Meyer Lemon Sablés (adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s blog Orangette)
makes about 40 cookies
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons room temperature butter
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup large grain turbinado sugar
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Next, in the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or with regular beaters, beat the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat for another minute, and then add the granulated sugar and beat for another minute. Turn the speed to low and add the zest, salt and egg yolks, one at a time. With beater still on low, gradually add the flour, mixing just until it’s fully incorporated.
Separate the dough into two sections. Form each of the of the sections into a 1 1/2 inch log. Roll the log in parchment paper and seal both ends. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer while dough firms up.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut out a parchment paper rectangle to cover your baking sheets and set aside. When you are ready to make the cookies, bring one of the logs out of the refrigerator and unwrap. On the same sheet of parchment used to wrap the dough, sprinkle out a strip of turbinado sugar. Roll the log in the sugar so that the edges are fully coated. Slice the log into 1/4″ slices, place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet, and give each cookie round a gentle press with two fingers.
Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookies just begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and cookie sheet immediately. Cool the cookies and serve, or wrap tightly to keep at room temperature for a few days. You can also freeze the cookies in an air-tight container with wax paper, parchment, or paper towels between the layers.