scarborough fair shortbread sables

my work recently had a cookie contest. because i have an offbeat sense of humor and/or a love for obscure puns and references, i thought it would be a great idea to make “simon + garfunkel shortbread sables.” you know, with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. so i did.

cookie one
they didn’t win any prizes, but they were fun to make and people liked them. my coworkers and i are agreed, however, that my sense of humor is sometimes too subtle. oh well.

cookie two

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature

Place these ingredients in small individual bowls/dishes:
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary plus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley plus zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

cookie three

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Position one rack in the top third of the oven and one in the bottom third.

Combine first four ingredients together in a stand mixer until a soft dough starts to come together. Remove dough from mixer and press together the rest of the way on a baking mat, if needed. Form into a ball, then cut into quarters.

Place the first dough quarter back in your mixer bowl, place the bowl back on the stand, and reattach the paddle.  Add the parsley and lemon zest to the bowl and beat on low speed until the seasonings are mixed into the dough. Stop the mixer, remove the dough and set aside. Do the same for the other three quarters, adding the sage, rosemary/brown sugar, and thyme, respectively.

Roll/shape each batch of dough into a log about 3/4 of an inch in diameter (it should be in the 12- to 18-inch-long range). Once all four batches of dough are formed, place a long sheet of parchment/waxed paper on the baking mat. Place the parsley-lemon log on the parchment, then place the sage log to the right of the parsley one so that they touch. Place the rosemary-brown sugar log on top of the sage log, then place the thyme log on top of the parsley-lemon one. Lightly press the logs together so they don’t come apart, but be careful not to mash them too much (the dough will probably be soft at this point). Trim the ends so they’re even, then carefully wrap the log in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While the dough chills, you can take the excess dough you trimmed from the ends, roll it into little balls, and bake on a parchment-lined cooking sheet (or a sheet lined with a baking mat) for about 12-15 minutes, or until puffed and slightly brown.

cookie four

Once the log of dough has chilled, remove from refrigerator and unwrap. Carefully slice it into pieces 1/3- to 1/2-inch thick and arrange them on parchment- or baking mat-lined cooking sheets. Place cookies in oven and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reverse sheets, then bake for about 15 more minutes, or until cookies are golden. Cool on racks.

Makes about 40 cookies.

cookie five