Preserved Lemon Ghriba Cookie

This is a variation of a recipe from Jesse Szewczyk’s book Cookies: The New Classics. 
Makes about 32 cookies depending on size

2.5 oz or 70 g preserved lemon (about 1/2 of large lemon)
2 1/2 cups (11.25 oz / 390 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (4 oz /115 g) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups (9.5 oz / 268 g) granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (75 grams) confectioners’ sugar

Brush any visable salt from preserved lemon. Taste a bit of the peel to determine if it’s too salty. If so, quickly rinse and drain on paper toweling. Using the tines of a fork remove the flesh from the lemon and chop (you should end up with about 2 tablespoons of finely chopped preserved lemon peel). Set aside. Set a sieve over a medium bowl and sift together the flour and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine butter, 1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) granulated sugar, and chopped preserved lemon peel. Beat on medium speed until light an fluffy. Turn off machine, add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until mixture begins to form a dough.  Stop machine and finish bringing the dough together by hand. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (overnight or a few days ahead is fine).

When ready to bake off heat oven to 350 degrees F and set the racks at the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Place 1/3 cup (68 g) granulated sugar into another bowl. Set aside. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Using a small 1 1/16-inch (#100) cookie scoop or 2 teaspoons, portion out the dough and roll into balls. Working with one dough ball at a time, roll in the granulated sugar, then in the confectioners’ sugar. Place the dough balls 2 – 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. Using your fingertip or the palm of your hand slightly flatten into a disk.

Depending on your oven bake both sheets at the same time, swapping the top sheet to the bottom rack and bottom sheet to the top midway through baking. Otherwise, bake one sheet pan at a time on the lower third of the oven until the cookies are puffed, the cracks no longer look wet, and the dough feels soft but resists slightly when touched with your finger 15 – 18 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes or until the cookies are firm, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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