The flavor combination is inspired by the Poppy Seed Lemon Chiffon Cake I posted back in 2010. While my diet growing up was predominantly Indian based, this classic cake was a part of our Israeli repertoire. Poppy seeds and anything citrus are part of Israeli culinary identity among other foods. Jaffa citrus does not need an introduction and poppy seeds are traditionally used in March, during the Jewish holiday, Purim, when making Hamantaschens.
This is basically the long and the short of the inspiration for these cookies. I will elaborate more about Purim when we get closer to Springtime, 2014. For now I am happy to add another successful sable cookie to my steady but growing collection. Both these Lemon Poppy Seed Sable Cookies and the Polenta Citrus Sable Cookie Snaps are no ordinary shortbread, but delicately sophisticated year-round cookies to go along with my afternoon tea.
Lemon Poppy Seed Sable (Sand) Cookies
2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Sugar in the Raw
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 generous pinches of salt (I used Himalayan salt)
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1.6oz poppy seeds (1/2 of 30gr spice jar)
Add the butter into a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl and beat on medium speed with a paddle attachment until smooth. Turn to low speed and add the sugars, lemon zest and salt and continue beating for about a minute longer. Throughout the process, scrape the edges of the mixer bowl once in a while. Add the egg yolks and mix until blended.
Add the flour and poppy seeds and keep beating on low for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the dough is barely incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to mix further if flour is not entirely incorporated. Process the dough as little as possible.
On a smooth surface halve the dough and shape into a 1 1/2 inch in diameter logs. Wrap with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or ideally overnight.
Parchment paper two cookie sheets. Preheat oven to 350F.
With a sharp knife, slice the cookies, one log at a time, into less than 1/2 inch thick discs. Lay cookies on cookie sheets and bake for 17-20 minutes or until the cookie snaps slightly golden around the edges at the bottom.
Let cool down to room temperature so cookies will settle. The cookies will be super soft coming out of the oven.
Once cookies are cooled down at room temperature, store in an airtight container for at least five days. These cookies keep really well.
When I make a few batches at once, I freeze the cookies in a plastic tupperware with a lid with parchment paper, repurposed from the baking process, to divide the cookie layers. Thaw on the counter for a minute or two.