When I first heard about Desserts for the Deserving, I immediately signed up. The movement was started by I Am Baker. People going through hard times are nominated by family or friends, and bakers volunteer to send them a package of goodies. We can't solve their problems, but we can bring some joy to their day and let them know we're thinking of them.
I wanted to do this because I wanted to "pay forward" the kindness that my friends and family showed me several years ago when I was very sick. I spent nearly two weeks in a hospital, 4 of those days in ICU. Despite my illness having a very negative effect on my moods, my friends and family stood by me and supported me.
I wanted to brighten this family's day, and in my mind, I immediately pictured some type of lemon-flavored cookie. Maybe because yellow symbolizes brightness and joy, maybe because of the "bright" flavor that lemon has. I wanted a sturdy cookie that would hold up to shipping. And landed on Meandering Eats, who baked some Meyer Lemon Sable cookies for the First Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap last December.
Sable cookies (which is pronounced "sa-blee" or "sa-blay" depending on who you ask) are French butter cookies. Sable means "sand" in French, referring to the cookie dough's sandy texture. These cookies are firmer and crisper than the butter cookies you're probably used to eating. I was unable to find Meyer lemons, which have a sweeter, orangey-lemon flavor, so I substituted regular lemons, and the cookies were delicious.
Lemon Sable Cookies
Slightly adapted from Meandering Eats
- 1 large egg
- 10 tablespoon (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ¾ ounces granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- c teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
- 4 teaspoon lemon zest from 2 large lemons
- 7 ¼ ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
- Place the egg in a medium saucepan and cover with an inch or two of cold water. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low, and simmer for a minute. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let sit for 12 minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of ice water until cool enough to handle.
- Peel the egg and separate the white from the yolk. Discard (or eat) the cooked egg whites. Press the cooked yolk through a fine-mesh sieve in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter, sugar and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt to the mixing bowl, and beat with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the vanilla, lemon extract and lemon zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Sift in the flour and mix just until combined.
- Scrape the dough out on a clean work surface and gently knead a few times to gather the dough together. Divide the dough in half and gently roll each half into a thick log. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Working with one log at a time, cut into ¼-inch slices. Place cookies an inch apart on the baking sheets, and bake for 12 minutes, until edges are just beginning to brown.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.