Lemon & Thyme Shortbread

The more I bake with lemon the more I am convinced that it might be better than chocolate. I almost erased that sentence as I wrote it but I think it’s true. Well for now. Wait until I am writing about a brownie.

My herb garden-more like my herb corner- on my apartment balcony is flourishing right now and I love to sit by the basil, lavender, thyme and drag my fingers through their leaves. My creeping thyme is particularly leafy, green and lush.

Thyme. Lemon. There is nothing new under the sun and I find a classic pairing like lemon and thyme comforting. They will always work together, always compliment each other and always be simply good. Especially mixed up in a buttery, crumbly shortbread dough.

These cookies are the perfect size to have three or four with coffee. Or a plateful with milk. Lemon zest brightens up the shortbread and fresh thyme is the perfect earthy compliment to the sugary dough.

Like most cookies I tend to love, these are of the slice ‘n’ bake nature. Making it so you can bake as many as you would like for right now and then save the rest in the freezer for later. Because you never know when you might need a cookie.

Sophisticated but understated, these would make great gifts. Oh! And if you want a perfectly round cookie, freeze the logs of dough in paper towel rolls!

Want a chocolate version? Head here for decadence.

Lemon and Thyme Shortbread 

Makes 48 cookies

11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

demerara sugar

For Dough

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until whipped, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add sugar and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Add flaky sea salt and mix to combine. Add flour and beat until the flour is just incorporated into dough- dough will be moist but crumbly. Stir with spatula a few times.
  4. Transfer one-quarter of dough to plastic wrap. Roll into 6-inch log. Twist ends to pull plastic wrap tight to help dough hold its form. Repeat with other three quarters of dough.
  5. Unwrap all four logs and roll in sugar to evenly coat. Wrap individual rolls in plastic wrap tightly.
  6. Chill for an hour or up to 3 days.
  7. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use sharp knife and trim ends of logs. Cut dough into 3/8-inch-thick rounds.
  8. Arrange on baking sheet, spaced 1 1/2-inches apart.
  9. Bake, rotating halfway through, for 18-21 minutes. Cookies will be lightly golden. Let cool for 2 minutes then transfer to wire wrack.