Monday, December 12, 2011

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Meyer Lemon Sables

The package was coming together nicely, but as I almost finished putting them together, I realized that my lovely little chocolate macarons had started to split. Their cajeta middles were oozing everywhere. It was clear that these wouldn't survive shipping without refrigeration. Baking them was a moment of overambition borne out of our recent trip to Paris. I'd wanted to bake a cookie that was undeniably French. The cookies were baked and filled, but the cajeta filling was just a little too soft at room temperature.

It was the day the cookies were to be shipped. Out went couple of panicked emails to Lindsay and Julie notifying them of the delay and then I had to figure out my Plan B. I still wanted to do something French, but it had to be fast and delicious.

One of the most beautiful things about living in California is the produce. In Southern California, there's fresh citrus to be found year-round. Quantity and quality ebb and flow with the seasons, but there's always something. I was astonished to find a bag of gorgeous Meyer lemons at Little Italy Mercato and those lemons saved my butt when it came to formulating a backup cookie recipe for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.

My Plan B was Meyer Lemon Sables, which are crunchy French butter cookies. The awesome folks at Cooks Illustrated discovered that a hard-boiled egg yolk helped with the crumbly and buttery texture unique to these cookies.

Organized by Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen, food bloggers all over the world came together for the ultimate cookie exchange. Bake three dozen cookies and mail a dozen each to three assigned bloggers. In return, three bloggers were given my details and I received three different cookies.

It's the best idea ever, as I received shipment after yummy shipment. The coconutty caramel chocolate chip cookies from Cake FYI disappeared almost as soon as we opened the box. More coconut came with gorgeous blackberry-strawberry jam thumbprints from Azucar Means Sugar. Delicious Mexican wedding cookies came from Urban Sacred Garden.

Nom. Serious nom. I must do this next year. If you want to do it, too, sign up here for updates.

Meyer Lemon Sables
from (membership required to view original recipe)

1 large egg
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 3/4 ounces granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons lemon zest
7 1/2 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
White sparkling sugar sprinkles (can be found at craft stores like Michael's)

Hard-boil the large egg and remove the shell. Gently remove the egg white with your fingers and reserve the egg yolk. The egg white can be discarded. Push the egg yolk through a strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add butter, sugar, and salt. Beat with paddle attachment until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and vanilla. Stop the mixer, scrape it down, then add flour. Mix gently on low speed until just combined.

Use your hands to press the dough together, then turn it out into a clean board. Cut the dough in half, then gently roll each half into a log. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take logs one-at-a-time out of the refrigerator, then gently slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. The cookies will not spread much, so keep your slices thin.

Optional step: Beat 1 teaspoon of liquid egg white (not the hard-boiled one) with 1 teaspoon of water and use this egg wash to brush the cookies before sprinkling them with sugar crystals.

Sprinkle cookies with sugar crystals. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets 12-15 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to cooling racks.

14 bites:

Calantha @ piecurious said...

Those look absolutely darling.  I LOVE the packaging.  So simple but pretty.  

Julie said...

These are so beautiful! I'm sorry you had so much trouble but so glad it worked out in the end!

Sweetsugarbelle said...

Thank you thank you thank you! These were wonderful id never have even known they were plan B.

Magic of Spice said...

I like your Plan B :) These are wonderful!
Happy New Year!

Lori @ RecipeGirl said...

These are looking so awesome to me right now.  I'm completely mad about Meyer Lemons!  Gotta find some stat!!  Happy New Year!

Marie said...

I bought mine from Polito Family Farms at Little Italy Mercato. I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding them. Happy New Year to you, too!

Marie said...

Thanks! Happy 2012 to you, too!

Marie said...

Glad you liked them! I'm jealous of the recipients of those gorgeously decorated cookies of yours. ;)

Marie said...

Me, too! Thanks for organizing, Julie!

Marie said...

Thank you! Inspired by a post on Design Sponge.

kellypea said...

Oh, jeez.  I started to read this post and realized my first pang of a craving for sweets.  UGH.  But they're such beautiful little cookies and I have my first ever batch of meyer lemons just waiting to be plucked from the tree.  On the mailing mishap, I have had some doozies, so nice recovery, you!

Fullwoman said...

 I love your blog! I just nominated you for the Liebster Award, check it out!

Marie said...

Thank you so much!! I really appreciate it. It's so sweet of you to include me.

Marie said...

Hahahahaha, I think I've avoided mailing cookies just because I knew there would be mishaps. Murphy's Law and I know each other too well.

14 bites