This is a simple, tasty sugar or butter cookie.
- My favorite baker to read about: Lionel Poilane
- The bakery: Poilane now managed by Lionel's daughter Apollonia.
- The wheel-shaped Poilane loaf of wheaty bread tastes excellent. In 2011, my wife brought back bread, cookies, and a large version of the bakery's proofing basket from Paris, which was a return-flight stopover from her business trip in Istanbul. Fortunately, her hotel was located near the original Poilane bakery. I "encouraged" her to visit the bakery and to take a photo from inside the bakery. I would have been satisfied with a photo and knowing that she visited this place. I didn't expect her to bring back the other items. The bread was great. Huge wheels of bread like that will last for a week or more.
- Other related links:
- punition sandwiches - (where I found the recipe)
- CBS Sunday Morning, Lionel Poilane + Punishment Cookies
- July 2013 - NY Times - Apollonia Poilane
YouTube video of Lionel, which shows him making the sugar or butter cookies. Punition means "punishment."
I've been making these cookies for a few years. It's a small, thin, crunchy cookie. I leave them plain, no toppings. It's another example of how simple ingredients combined well can produce a delicious treat.
A couple keys: use the metal cookie sheets and not the baking stone, so that the cookies crisp well. And the browner the cookie, the better it tastes. At least allow the sides and some of the top of the cookie to obtain a light brown color. View images at the Poilane bakery Facebook page to see how much they brown their cookies. And I use my hands to mix the ingredients on the counter, as Poilane did in the above video. I make bread and pizza dough too, and I like to feel the ingredients and work the contents with my hands.
Punition-style sugar or butter cookies:
- Unsalted butter - 140 grams
- Sugar - 125 grams
- 1 large egg
- All-purpose flour - 280 grams
--(view the above video to see how Lionel incorporated the ingredients by hand.)--
- Let butter warm for a bit at room temp.
- Let egg warm for a bit at room temp.
- On the counter, pour the sugar into small circle with space to hold the cracked egg.
- Create a bigger circle by pouring the flour around the sugar circle.
- Crack open egg within the sugar circle.
- Break up the yolk within the sugar circle by hand and stir yolk a little to smooth it, by hand.
- Then slowly incorporate the sugar circle wall into the yolk, stirring with hand.
- After sugar mixed well with the egg (a gritty, runny texture), add the butter by smashing the butter by hand into the egg-sugar mix.
- Continue to hand mix the egg, sugar, and butter within the flour wall.
- After egg, sugar, and butter are sufficiently mixed (now a much thicker texture), incorporate the flour circle wall into the mixture. Sweep flour toward the center and stir with hand.
- Gently incorporate the flour, rolling palm of hand onto mixture in a circular motion.
- As blob forms, continue to roll the blob around with hand.
- Place dough into a covered container or wrap in plastic and let dough setup in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, so that the dough gets firmer, especially if working in a warm kitchen. It's hard to work with a butter-based dough if warm.
- Remove from refrigerator and divide dough ball in half.
- Shape each half into a disk.
- Preheat oven to 350 F with rack in the middle of the oven or one level above middle.
- Lightly flour the counter top.
- Working with one disk at a time, use rolling pin to roll dough out dough.
- Rolled dough should be between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (4 to 7 mm).
- I use a 1.5 inch (4 cm) round cookie cutter. Actually, I think it's a fluted biscuit cutter, but obviously, the cookies can be cut to any shape and size. But I stick with the thin 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness, regardless of the surface size.
- Cover metal cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Place cutout cookies on parchment paper.
- Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until desired brownness. I use the following times for based upon the thickness of the cookies: 1/6 in 9-10 min, 1/8 in 10-11 min, 1/4 in 12 min.
- Since I don't cut out the cookies evenly, some are thinner than others, which means some brown more than others. Good variety.
- Some browning around the edges is okay and desired. Browning will occur on the cookie bottom. This gives the cookies a nice crunch and great flavor. No browning means a fairly soft cookie. Browner equals crispier, which means tastier.
- After baking, transfer cookies to cooling rack.
- After cooled, store in a tin or plastic container at room temp.
- This recipe will make approximately five dozen cookies, depending upon how thick or thin the dough is rolled for cutting. I prefer the thinner size, so sometimes I'll produce at least 70 cookies from this recipe.
An idea that I have not tried: a cookie sandwich using ganache (chocolate and cream).
Made the above recipe.
- placed rack one level above middle.
- baked for 14 minutes at 350 F.
- made 84 cookies (3 sheets of 28 cookies each)