Sunday, February 7, 2010

lemons and confessions

Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I'm a madeleine/granola-holic. In the 2ish weeks since I've posted about these overly addictive substances, I seem to have based my food intake around them, leaving everything else in the dust. Whoops. Given that baking and rebaking them have become my primary interests, secondary activities include:
  • grousing that the honey takes so long to come out of the bottle (for granola)
  • trying to figure out ways to use up all the egg yolks that are an unfortunate by-product of the madeleines (the aforementioned egg custard tarts did the trick once, and I've also managed to foist egg yolk-sucking tiramisu on at least 4 friends)
I've noticed that I fall into this rhythmic pattern about once a month. November was the month of pumpkin (bread, muffins, cookies), December a time for Meyer lemons (as cake, poppy seed muffins, in buttermilk cookies, and a less-than-stellar Christmas Day pudding cake). January, apparently, lent itself well to madeleines and granola.

But now it is February. All hell is breaking loose, supposedly, because I am finding myself going back to the Meyer lemons. Enter Joy.

Slice-and-bake cookies? Awesome. Involving citrus zest? Double awesome. Opportunity to use up yet more egg yolks?

Sold, to the googly-eyed girl drooling in the corner.

(who may or may not have a predilection for nibbling on her baked things along the way)

Citrus Sables
(adapted from Joy the Baker, who in turn got them from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan--incidentally, this very book came in the mail the other day for me...get excited!)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
citrus zest (you can adjust based on your preferences; I used 2 smallish Meyer lemons and 1 lime)
1/2 tsp salt (I like using Maldon)
2 egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups flour

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add both sugars, citrus zest, and salt and beat until well blended, 1 minute. (Dorie then says that the mixture should be "smooth and velvety, not fluffy and airy". Take notes.) Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in the egg yolks. Turn mixer off, dump in all the flour, and drape a kitchen towel over the mixer. (This is for flour probably flying everywhere purposes, although it didn't happen to me...) Pulse the mixer at low speed around 5 times, each pulse lasting 1-2 seconds. Take a peek under the towel; if the flour is mostly mixed in, keep mixer on low and mix in the flour until just a teensy bit is left. Use a spatula to manually stir in the rest; you want to work the dough as little as possible. (Dorie now says that desired dough consistency is "soft, moist, clumpy" instead of smooth. Should feel like Play-Doh. Yummm)

Have two big pieces of plastic wrap ready along your countertop. On one of them, dump out the dough, gather into a ball, and divide in two. Shape each into a log about 9 inches long and wrap in the plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to 3 days (or if you're impatient, in the freezer for less time).

Center a rack in the oven and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350.

Unwrap log of dough and slice cookies 1/3 inch thick. (If you want, you can brush a whisked egg yolk on the logs and roll in coarse sugar before slicing.) Place cookies on the sheets (not too far apart; they don't spread much) and bake one at a time, 17-20 minutes (my oven tended toward the latter). Done cookies should have light brown bottoms, light golden edges, and pale centers. Eat eat eat eat eat.

PS: just to show you how rogue of a month February is shaping out to be...

chocolate cupcakes (with melted chocolate frosting!) for a friend's surprise birthday party last night.

What's your theme for February?


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