Friday, March 20, 2009

Salted Lemon Butter cookies

I've found another sweet-salty dessert that I love! This is what the French call a sablé, a light, crisp butter cookie - just the right size to pop in your mouth. Not too sweet, tanged with lemon juice and zest, with little salt surprises throughout (trust me, you don't want to skip the salt in this recipe). And you get to rub the butter into the dough with your fingers! You need to freeze the dough before baking them, and the glaze takes a little time to set on the cooled cookies, so plan ahead. It's recipes like this that motivate me to keep lemon zest and juice in the freezer at all glad I know people with Meyer lemon trees!

Salted Lemon Butter Cookies
Sablés au Citron, from the Chocolate and Zucchini Cookbook

1 lemon
1 C 2 T flour
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp fleur de sel or kosher salt (Coarse Sea Salt from Trader Joe's is great)
7 T (3 1/2 oz.) chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg yolk
1/2 C powdered sugar

1. Grate the lemon to yield 1 T of finely chopped lemon zest. Reserve half of the lemon for the glaze.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers or use a wire pastry blender. Add the egg yolk, stir with a fork until blended, and knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball. If the dough is too dry, add a little ice-cold water, a teaspoon at a time, and knead again. If it is too sticky, add 1 T flour.

3. Divide the dough in two and roll each half into a log, about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove one log of dough from the freezer, unwrap, and slice in 1/4 inch rounds with a sharp serrated knife, rotating the log by a quarter of a turn after each slice so it keeps a rounded shape. Transfer onto the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch margin between them. Repeat with the second log.

5. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely before glazing, about an hour.

6. Squeeze the half lemon to get 1 1/2 T lemon juice. Put the powdered sugar in a bowl, add the lemon juice, and whisk until smooth and syrupy. Use a pastry brush or the back of a teaspoon to glaze the cookies. Let stand until the glaze is set, about an hour. The cookies will keep for up to a week at room temperature in an airtight container. The dough can also be frozen for up to a month.


  1. We're having a french-american family over for dinner tomorrow, and I've been puzzling over what to make for dessert. This may be it!

  2. Let me know how it works out! This makes about 25 little cookies, so you may want to double it. Enjoy -

  3. Wow! They were amazing! Somehow my batch made about 42 cookies. Perhaps I made the logs a bit small. I let the kids try them before the guests arrived, and Evan kept trying to sneak into the kitchen to steal more! They were a hit.

    We actually had them with strawberries and the TJ's nonfat plain frozen yogurt you recommended. Mmmmmm. Thanks for sharing your good taste.

  4. so glad they turned out well! I must cut them thick. I am addicted to that frozen yogurt...