[Lemon and Fleur de Sel Butter Cookies]
Jackie recently talked about Fleur de Sel on her great Daily Bread blog. As I was adding a comment about my favorite uses of the wonderful substance, I remembered these butter cookies. I was taken up on my offer to share the recipe, so here it is!
This is a recipe I made a few months ago for a Sunday afternoon tea with parents and Maxence’s mother (and this was in my pre-blogging days, hence the lack of actual pic). I had clipped it from a magazine (Biba, if you must know – their cooking section is always great), and followed it pretty closely, apart from the glazing : the Biba recipe called for brushing the cookies with a beaten egg, and this struck me as somewhat drab, so I used my mother’s perfect, sweet and tart glazing recipe instead, which I adore.
The resulting cookie is crisp at the edges and a little crumbly in the center, with a nice lemon flavor made complex by the use of both juice and zest, and the hint of fleur de sel gives it a very nice tang.
Sablés au Citron à la Fleur de Sel
The dough :
– 200 g butter
– 175 g flour
– 75 g confectioner’s sugar
– 75 g powdered almonds (aka ground almonds, almond meal or almond powder)
– 5 to 7 pinches of fleur de sel
– 1 pinch cinnamon
– 1 egg white
– the zest of one lemon
– the juice of half a lemon
The glaze :
– the juice of a lemon
– confectioner’s sugar
(Makes about 40.)
In a food processor, mix together the sugar, flour, almonds, salt, cinnamon, zest. Add the butter, diced, and mix again. Add the lemon juice and egg white and give it a last whirl.
Put the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, and use a rolling pin to spread it out inside, until you get it to a thickness of about 5 mm (a bit under 1/6”). Put the dough in the fridge for about an hour. You may want to split the dough in two and work with only half at a time, thus using four sheets of parchment paper (I know, quite the splurge).
Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Take the dough out of the fridge and peel off the top sheet delicately. Use your cutest cookie shapes to cut out cookies, and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or, even better, a silicon baking mat, not too close to one another. You will need to make several batches (unless you have a truly gigantic oven, in which case I need to come over to your house and bake with you).
Put the cookie sheet in the oven to bake, keeping as close an eye on them as the mommy eagle watching the baby eagles in the nest. It will take 12 to 20 minutes for the cookies to be ready, depending on their size and thickness, and depending on how white/golden/brown you like them. Turn them out on a rack to cool.
Once they’ve cooled down, prepare the glaze. Pour about two tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Add some lemon juice, a little at a time, whisking with a spoon, until you reach the desired consistency : if it’s creamy, the glazing on the cookies will be thick. If it’s runny, you will get a thin layer of glazing. Don’t pour too much lemon juice, because then it takes an inordinate amount of confectioner’s sugar to mop it up. Using a small brush or the back of a spoon, spread a little glaze on the cookies. Leave out for a little while until the glaze has dried and hardened.
To be nibbled on with a nice cup of tea.