I've always loved those butter cookies in the blue tin that you find around Christmas. I haven't, however, had much luck with shortbread in my hot kitchen. So when I read this recipe, I decided to go for it but wasn't expecting much. That said, I was so WOWED by these cookies! They were quick, easy, Christmas-y, delicious, buttery... pretty much everything you want in a holiday cookie. I made the original version but can't wait to try the orange and lemon flavors. And then the pecan version for my mom. Use a light hand and don't over think these- Dorie's directions are clear and simple and will get you a great result from a few simple, delicious ingredients. I love that.
This is one that will be on regular repeat in my kitchen (and since I know you'll love it and NYT already printed it, I'm including the recipe). This is the best slice and bake cookie I've ever made and I'm making them again soon. Thanks to Bungalow Barbara for an amazing choice- just in time for Christmas cookies. I probably never would have made this if not for TWD and I'm glad I did. My only regret is that I gave the rest away and now I will be looking at pictures of these all day without any to try!
Don't forget to enter my special Lemon Tart Giveaway!
Dorie Greenspan's Master Recipe for Sables
(use a Silpat for these cookies! And if you don't have one... Christmas is coming and they are cheap on ebay! Mine were cheaper when I bought two, which you'll want!)
from the NYT
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened 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
For the decoration:
1 egg yolk
Working in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and very creamy. Add the sugars and salt and continue to beat until smooth and velvety, not fluffy and airy, about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in 2 egg yolks, again beating until well blended.
Turn off the mixer, pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the mixer and pulse the mixer about 5 times at low speed for 1 or 2 seconds each time. Take a peek; if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of more times; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, stir for about 30 seconds more, 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. When pinched, it should feel a little like Play-Doh.)
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.
When ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and keep it at the ready.
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.
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.)
Lemon Sables- Before mixing the butter and sugar together, pour the sugar in a bowl with the grated zest of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons. Work the zest and sugar together with your fingertips until the mixture is moist and aromatic, then cream it with the butter in the mixer.
Parmesan Sables- Replace sugars with 3/4 cup very finely grated Parmesan added to the beaten butter. A few grains of fleur de sel may be gently pressed into the top of each sable before the baking sheet is slipped into the oven.