Friday, January 13, 2012

Lemon Butter Cookies with Citrus Marmalade Ganache Filling

We all know cooks who keep home-made cookie dough on hand. Sometimes there’s more than one variety of dough, nicely tucked in the freezer, legibly identified, just waiting to be called up for action.

I want to be like that, armed with dough for whatever occasion strikes.

Take my friend D. Upon hearing of a church member’s life-threatening illness, she commenced to mixing dough for cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies. It relieved her anxiety. She knew there would be something to nibble on —  either for a time of sorrow or for rejoicing. She told me this as we cleaned the kitchen after the memorial service.

These tender, lemony, not-too-sweet butter cookies would be good for any occasion, and because they’re of the slice and bake style, easy to store and prepare. The recipe is taken from Paris Sweets -- a recipe Dorie Greenspan adapted from Pâtisserie Lerch.

While I was at the stove, my kitchen assistant jumped in to help fold the linens.

One reason the cookies are tender is that confectioners sugar replaces the usual granulated variety. That one substitution alone created the softest dough I’ve ever seen — almost pillowy. To ensure this soft dough becomes a tender cookie, you should mix and roll softly. Rough handling yields a tough cookie. (That’s true for people, too.)

Sandwiching them with citrus marmalade is my touch: white chocolate and cream spiked with fresh zest and a homemade marmalade that I made last month to go with this cake.

Is there cookie dough in your freezer? If so, what kind?

Lemon Butter Cookies/Sablés au Citron
with Citrus Ganache
cookie recipe adapted from Pâtisserie Lerch
via Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
One large egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grated zest from 1 to 1 1/2 lemons
2 cups all-purpose flour
Citrus Ganache

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat again until smooth and silky. Beat in the egg yolk, then add salt, vanilla and lemon zest.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour being careful not to over-beat.

Put the dough onto a counter and form into a ball, then divide in half. Form each half into a log about 1 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Chill for 2 hours. (You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month.)

To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Slice cookies about 1/4 inch thick. Place on baking sheet leaving about 1/2 inch space between them.  Bake for 12 minutes until they are set but not browned. Remove from the oven and transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Citrus Ganache

2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 T half and half or heavy cream
1 T orange marmalade
Grated zest from one orange
1/4 teaspoon pure orange extract

Place chocolate, cream and marmalade in a small microwave-safe container. Zap for 30 seconds. Stir until everything is blended together, returning to the microwave for 10-second bursts if necessary. Add the zest and extract. Stir well. Place in refrigerator for half hour to thicken a little bit. Spread between cookies.
Citrus Ganache is made with white chocolate, cream and marmalade.

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