You know those little butter cookies found in tins around the holidays? This is them!
French Butter Cookies
Yield: about 40 cookies
For the dough:
1 large egg
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Place the egg in a small saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat, cover and let sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile fill a small bowl with ice water. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the egg to the ice water and let stand 5 minutes. Crack the egg and peel away the shell. Separate the yolk from the white; discard the white. Press the yolk through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar, salt and cooked egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and mix on low speed just until combine, about 30 seconds. Use a spatula to press the dough into a cohesive mass.
Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 6 inches long and 1¾ inches in diameter. Wrap each log in a piece of parchment or wax paper. Twist the ends to seal and firmly compact the dough into a tight cylinder. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour. (At this point, the dough can be stored in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 weeks.)
To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a chef's knife, slice the dough into ¼-inch thick rounds, rotating the dough log every few slices so that it does not become misshapen. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush lightly with the egg white mixture and sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.
Bake until the centers of the cookies are pale golden and the edges are slightly darker, about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.