I'm a little late getting the rest of my holiday posts up, but maybe, better late than never? Let's hope so. As I said in my last holiday cookie post, I wanted to try out a few new recipes this year for the holidays. I love old favorites as much as the next guy, but to me, its really fun to bring something fresh to the table.
These may look like a regular butter cookie, but these punitions or sable cookies, are simply wonderful. They are seemingly lighter than traditional shortbread and even when turning them into cookie sandwiches, you can definitely eat more than 1 or 2 at a time :) These cookies are also so versatile - perfect for any holiday or for a party, gift or just as dessert. The french name "punition" translates to punishment in English, but these cookies are far from it!
The recipe is from one of my favorite blogs - Smitten Kitchen. I filled my cookie sandwiches with both raspberry jam and Nutella (so delicious!) and I also made them similar to a Linzer cookie by cutting a "window" in some of the cookies. The window let the jam/Nutella show through and made for a very festive look on my cookie platter. You can find some more info on these cookies and the best place to get them in Paris here.
Overall, you just can't go wrong with these cookies - they are so easy to make, the dough is just gorgeous and silky (I made the dough a few days ahead and then baked them the day before Christmas Eve) and they taste great! Plus, you can change the flavor to suit a variety of tastes. I think these would be great filled with lemon or lime curd too.
Punitions (Smitten Kitchen via Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan [which I now own!])
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
Slightly rounded 1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
Filling of your choice
Note: I doubled the recipe and it turned out great
1. Use a food processor to make the dough. Add butter to the processor fitted with the metal blade and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the butter is smooth. Add the sugar and process and scrape until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the egg and continue to process, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the flour all at once, then pulse 10-15 times, until the dough forms clumps and curds and looks like streusel.
2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Divide the ball in half, shape each half into a disk, and wrap the disks in plastic. If you have the time, chill the disks until they are firm, about 4 hours. I ended up leaving my dough in the refrigerator for a few days and the dough was still perfect.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is between 1/8 and ¼ inch (4 and 7 mm) thick. Using a 1 ½-inch (4-cm) round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can and place them on the lined sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) space between them. (You can gather the scraps into a disk and chill them, then roll, cut, and bake them later.)
5. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are set but pale. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature. Fill with your choice of jam/chocolate/nutella/curd/whatever if you choose. Store in airtight container.