For the holidays, I typically like to make chocolates but for the last few years the weather has been my foil. (When it’s too warm or the air too wet, the chocolate doesn’t set properly.)
In the midst of the rainy days we’ve been having in the Bay Area, I decided not to risk making chocolates and instead fired up the oven to do some Christmas cookie baking.
I’ve seen some interesting cookie recipes all over the blogosphere in recent weeks, but when I was ready to make cookies to hand out to friends, I zeroed in on two recipes: 1) lemon sables from the Washington Post (because I love lemon), and 2) salted caramel chocolate rounds I first spotted on Bakers Royale blog (but is actually a common recipe used by several people originally found on the Better Homes and Garden blog.
It was a long day of baking because I wasn’t as organized and forgot about two key things to prep for making cookies:
- I keep forgetting to bring out the butter to soften at room temperature.
- I forgot that most cookie dough needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour in order to handle them or cut them into that perfect uniformed shape.
But in the end, the cookies were a hit. I really enjoyed the lemon sables because they were simple butter cookies but the lemon glaze gave them a nice brightness. And the salted caramel chocolate rounds were really the show-stoppers with the twist of shoving a mini Snickers bar in the center.
You can find the recipe for the salted caramel chocolate rounds here (replace the mini caramel balls with mini Snickers or your favorite candy bar). And below is the recipe for the lemon sables as originally printed in the Washington Post.
Tested size: 50 cookies
FOR THE COOKIES
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE OPTIONAL GLAZE
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the cookies: Combine the flour and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
Combine the butter, both sugars and the lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed until smooth. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Add the whole egg; beat on medium speed until well incorporated, then add the yolk and beat until incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract; beat on low speed until blended, then add the flour mixture; beat on low speed just until incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and transfer each portion to a large piece of plastic wrap. Use the wrap to help you shape the dough into logs that are about 10 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 5 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Unwrap the dough log. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, being careful to roll the log as needed so the slices stay round. Arrange them on the baking sheets, spaced at least 1 inch apart. Bake one sheet at a time (middle rack) for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookie edges are just golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the optional glaze: Whisk together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl, until smooth. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the glaze and return them to the rack; let the glaze set before serving or storing.
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