French butter cookies (sables) are topped with the Middle Eastern spice blend za'atar for a savory-sweet snack that would be great as an hors d'oeuvre with wine.
Note: Because za'atar is a spice blend, its exact contents will vary by brand. Most contain sesame seeds, sumac, and salt, and other additions such as marjoram and thyme are common. I've never really met a zaatar I didn't like, but if you want to be sure, give it a try before using.
- Yield:makes about 20 sables
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 35 minutes
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
- About 4 tablespoons za'atar (see note)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until just smooth, about 2 minutes. Add flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and milk, and mix until dough just comes together. Roll dough into a 1-inch wide log, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate one hour.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put egg wash in one shallow bowl and zaatar spice in another.
Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices. Brush each with egg wash and then press lightly into zaatar blend. Place cookies on baking sheet and bake until golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.