About this recipe
Dorie Greenspan considers these at once tea biscuits, after-school treats, café cookies and midnight snacks.
Yield: 36 cookies
For the dough
1⁄3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour
For the edging
1 large egg yolk
Sanding sugar or granulated
Put the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until it’s fragrant. Add the thyme, and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl in which you can use a hand mixer.
Add the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl and beat on low speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy (you don’t want it to get light and fluffy), scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Drop in the egg yolk and beat for 1 minute. Add the flour all at once. Mix on low speed just until the flour has disappeared (or do this last little bit by hand with a flexible spatula).
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a log about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs in parchment or plastic film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
When you’re ready to bake: Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Add a splash of cold water to the yolk and mix with a fork to blend. Brush each log with this egg wash and roll it in the sanding (or granulated) sugar until it’s evenly coated. Using a sturdy knife, trim the ends of the logs if they’re ragged, then cut the dough into 1⁄2-inch-thick rounds. Place as many cookies as will fit on the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies for 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway. The cookies are baked when they are brown around the edges and golden on the bottom. Carefully transfer them to a cooling rack, and cool to room temperature. These really shouldn’t be eaten warm; they need time to cool so that their texture will set properly. Repeat the baking with the remaining dough.
Storing: You can wrap the logs of dough airtight and keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months; coat them with the egg wash and sugar just before baking. Once baked, the cookies will keep at room temperature in a closed container for about 1 week.