This is a recipe that I demonstrated at the Minnesota State Fair years ago. Use the best organic unsalted butter you can get your hands on because after all, it’s a butter cookie. Recipe from The French Cookie Book by Bruce Healy with Paul Bugat.
135 g or ½ cup, plus 1 ½ tablespoons, unsalted butter, softened
60 g or ½ cup, confectioner’s sugar
½ cl or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
170 g or 1 cup plus 3 ½ tablespoons, all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
50 g or ¼ cup, crystal sugar
Place butter on counter-top and sift sugar over it. Cream butter with the sugar by repeatedly smearing it across the counter-top with the heel of your hand and gathering back together with a bench knife. When smooth, mix in the vanilla with your fingertips. Work quickly so that butter does not melt.
Sift flour over butter mixture. Mix in flour, either by cutting it in with the dough scraper or by stirring and tossing with your fingertips, until a loose, crumbly dough is achieved. Gather the dough together and finish mixing by smearing it across the counter-top, a little at a time, with the heel of your hand. Gather the dough together again, and repeat until smooth.
Form a cylinder between a sheet of parchment paper to 1-inch in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm or freeze for up to three months.
Prior to baking, preheat oven to 375ºF. While oven is preheating, brush cylinder of dough with beaten egg. Place the crystal sugar on a sheet of parchment paper and roll each cylinder in sugar, coating evenly. Cut each cylinder into slices 3/8-inch thick. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake until bottoms of cookies have browned and edges have begun to brown, 14 – 16 minutes. Cool completely and store for up to one week in an airtight counter.