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Orange Blossom Sablés for Mother’s Day

Orange Blossom Sablés

Makes about 36 cookies

2 sticks (8 ounces, 1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4  cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and orange blossom water together at medium speed until it is smooth and creamy.  Add the sugars and the salt and beat until everything is well blended, about 1 minute.  Reduce the speed to low and add in the egg yolks and orange zest, beating until the mixture is again well blended.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and almond meal.  Add this mixture to the mixture in the mixer with the mixer turned off.  Drape a kitchen towel over the mixer to prevent flour from flying all over, and pulse the mixer at low speed 5 times for about 2 seconds each time.  If there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of more times.  On low speed, mix the dough for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour is incorporated. Don’t worry if the dough looks a bit crumbly—working the dough as little as possible once the flour is added will yield the best texture.

3. Using a rubber spatula, transfer half of the soft, sticky dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a log.  Don’t worry if the log isn’t perfect!  Wrap the log well in plastic wrap and then repeat with the other half of the dough.  Refrigerate the logs for at least 3 hours, preferably longer.  (The dough can be kep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)

4. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Remove one log from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and slice it into 1/2-inch-thick cookies.  Place the rounds on one of the baking sheets, leaving an inch of space between them.  Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half way through.  When done, the cookies will be light brown on the bottom, lightly golden brown around the edges, and pale on top.  Remove them from the oven and let the cookies rest for a couple of minutes before carefully lifting them onto a rack with a wide metal spatula to cool to room temperature. (You can also just carefully slide the parchment paper with the cookies on it onto the rack if the rack is wide enough.)  The cookies will finish setting as they cool, so do not worry if the tops still feel a bit tender when you remove them from the oven.  Repeat with the second log of dough and the remaining lined baking sheet.