Lemon thyme shortbread

I’d been wanting to try making something sweet using lemon-thyme combination ever since I saw contestants use it during last seasons Masterchef AU.

I’m generally hesitant when it comes to using herbs in desserts; my brain cells make a direct association of herbs with soups, broths and pastas (i.e. anything savoury). A quick search online showed that it is in fact quite a common combination in sweets; nothing to be weary of.

I had a ton of plain flour stocked up, courtesy of my bread-making spree, so I thought of making shortbread cookies using lemon and thyme as the key flavourings.

It is hard to explain the taste; but they are crumbly and tender, with every bite full of delicate herbal and aromatic lemon flavours. Whats more, the sweetness is not at all overpowering, making this a perfect treat for high tea gatherings.

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[Recipe credit: Oleander and Palm]

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter: 1 cup, slightly softened
Castor sugar: 2/3 cup
Plain flour: 1 3/4 cup
Fresh thyme: 2 tsp, chopped
Lemon zest: 1 lemon
Pure vanilla essence: 1 tsp
Thyme sprigs: Small sprigs, for garnishing the tops of each cookie

Method:

  • Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer
  • Add the vanilla, lemon zest and thyme
  • Sift the flour and mix until the dough comes together
  • Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate 30 mins
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F
  • Roll out the dough to a little less then 1/4 inches on a well floured surface; this is a very soft dough, that’s what makes them so tender when they are done
  • Keep the dough cold and work with flour on your hands and on the surface
  • Cut out desired shapes and top with a sprig of thyme
  • Place cut dough on parchment lined baking sheets
  • Chill the cut dough for at least 20 minutes before baking (this helps the cookies keep their shape and not spread on the cookie sheet)
  • Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown
  • Remove cookies and cool completely on wire racks if you want chewy cookies. Alternatively keep them on the baking tray and allow the heat from the tray to further bake the cookie – this will yield harder, crunchier cookies
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