Meyer Lemon Sablés, with their characteristic “sandy” texture, are buttery rich with a delicate hint of lemon from lemon zest.
Similar to shortbread, Sablés, meaning sand in French, are a simple cookie as popular in France as the chocolate chip cookie is in the US. They not only look amazing but also taste amazing, making them the perfect holiday cookie.
This year, our Meyer Lemon tree has an abundance of fruit. I thought that these delicious Lemon Sablés would be a perfect prelude to our upcoming bountiful harvest!
Typically, Sablé dough is shaped into logs, refrigerated, rolled in sanding sugar, and cut into rounds. However, I actually prefer to use the same technique as I use when making shortbread, which I’ll describe in a minute.
I used the following ingredients for these delicious cookies: Granulated sugar, vanilla beans or vanilla extract, lemon zest, unsalted butter, confectioners’ sugar, fine sea salt, egg yolk, and all purpose flour. I used vanilla beans since I had some on hand.
Making Lemon Sables:
To start, I put the granulated sugar into a large bowl and added the pulp from the vanilla beans and lemon zest. Using my fingertips, I rubbed the vanilla pulp and zest into the sugar until it was fragrant. Then, I added the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt to the bowl. I beat the mixture on low just until the mixture was smooth and creamy. Next, I added the egg yolk. If I had used vanilla extract instead of the vanilla beans, I would have added it here. I beat the mixture on medium speed for about a minute. Finally, I added the flour and beat the mixture on low just until the flour was incorporated.
I transferred the dough to a gallon-size Ziploc bag. With the Ziploc bag on a flat surface, I rolled the dough into a ¼-inch thick rectangle that completely filled the bag. At first, I left the top open, but as the dough approached the top, I sealed the bag. I refrigerated the dough for several hours.
When it came time to bake the Lemon Sablés, I carefully cut the Ziploc bag away from the dough. Using a ruler as a guide, I cut the dough into 1-½ inch squares and transferred them to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Into a 325°F oven the Lemon Sablés went for about 20 minutes until they were lightly browned around the edges and golden on the bottom. I removed them from the oven and transferred them to a wire rack to cool.
I ended up with about 4-dozen buttery rich Lemon Sablés that had the characteristic “sandy” texture and a delicate hint of lemon. Yum!
Meyer Lemon Sablés
- ⅓ cup (2.35 ounces, 67 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 moist fragrant vanilla beans or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 1-½ lemons
- 2 sticks 8 ounces, 226 grams unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup (1.4 ounces, 40 grams) confectioners' sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups (9.6 ounces, 272 grams) all-purpose flour
- Put granulated sugar into large bowl. If using vanilla beans, cut in half lengthwise and scoop the pulp over the sugar. Add the lemon zest. Using your fingertips, rub the vanilla pulp and lemon zest into the sugar until it's fragrant. (If using vanilla extract, you'll add it later.)
- Add the butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt to the bowl, and beat on low speed just until the mixture is smooth and creamy. You don't want it to become light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolk, and vanilla extract if using. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed.
- Add the flour; mix on low speed just until the flour is incorporated.
- Transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size ziploc bag. Put the bag on a flat surface. Leaving the top open, roll the dough into a ¼-inch thick rectangle that completely fills the bag. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so that it doesn’t cause creases. Seal the bag, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
- Put the ziploc bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough onto a parchment lined board or counter; discard the bag. Using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the dough into 1½-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Bake at 325° F for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from the top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges, and golden on the bottom. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.
- Store in airtight container for up to a week. Yield: 4-dozen.