Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies
The winter of 2018-19 here in the midwest has been beautiful … but long and cold. We are searching for any hints of spring to help us through this virtual hibernation. For me, that hint came in the form of a request to help a friend and colleague with her tablescaping presentation for the DIY Or Don’t Expo in Des Moines. Rebecca, owner of This New Old House, asked me if I’d be interested in making some kind of baked treat for each place setting of her table. She described her vision and these beautiful Lemon Thyme Shortbread cookies came to mind.
Shortbread might just be the simplest recipe I have ever encountered. Butter, sugar, flour … that’s it. Scottish by origin, these biscuits are simply delicious! This particular recipe varies a little from the traditional 1:2:3 ratio of sugar:butter:flour and calls for slicing the cookies into little rounds, or circles. Other traditional shortbread shapes include the fingers (long and rectangular) or a pointed wedge, which brilliantly, allows the cookie to fit into a wine glass for dunking.
I know, right?!?
I suppose that would also be a good shape for enjoying with tea but I’ll bet you’re stuck on that wine idea.
Getting a little silly with the wine discussion but seriously it brings us to the next beautiful thing about shortbread: it’s versatile. What you stir into the basic dough is up to you.
We choose different wines or teas because of personal preferences … spice, fruit and floral notes. Each season we crave and respond to different flavors: lemon and herbs in the spring and summer, orange and warm spices in the fall and winter.
Herbs, dried fruit, spices and juices/zest are the best options for customizing shortbread cookies. Herbs may seem an unusual addition for cookies but they add a subtle flavor. Use fresh herbs, not dried. Just as you wouldn’t want to bite into dried herbs by themselves, you don’t want to bite into a cookie and be overwhelmed by the herb itself.
If you want to add dried fruit, start with a quarter cup and make sure it is finely chopped. Adding too much will keep the dough from holding together and pieces that are too big will not distribute nicely throughout the dough.
I am already thinking about combinations for the other seasons this year:
SUMMER: Lime Basil
FALL: Cranberry Walnut
WINTER: Grapefruit Rosemary
Where are your taste buds leading you?
lemon thyme shortbread recipe