Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lemon-Thyme Shortbread Cookies

 Every year, when work gets really really busy, my boss and I like to bake Christmas cookies for our customers, just to show our appreciation. Usually, I just bake a tray of Mom's Butter Cookies, but this year I decided to add these delicious lemon cookies to the mix.
 You don't often hear of thyme being used in a cookie, but I remembered seeing Martha Stewart making them, and I figured, why not? Actually, instead of using Martha's recipe, I decided to try this recipe that I found on a baking blog called Treats. It's just a simple shortbread recipe with the addition of lemon and thyme. Now, I know there might be one or two of you who are crinkling your nose at the thought of putting fresh herbs into a cookie, but seriously, you won't even believe how tasty it is! The flavors of lemon and thyme are quite simply a match made in heaven! The lemon is subtle without being overpowering, and the thyme rounds everything out. It's the kind of cookie you could imagine having with a nice cup of tea. In fact, several of my customers said exactly that!
 So whether they're for Christmas or an afternoon tea, You simply must give them a try. I know you'll love them! And since I get so many requests for "anything lemon", we can now add yet another new and different lemon thing to our repertoire! Great then!

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 medium lemon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lemon extract, vanilla extract, lemon zest, chopped thyme and salt. With the mixer on low, gradually add flour, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Continue mixing until well combined.
Divide dough in half. Place one piece of dough on a large piece of plastic wrap; cover with a second piece of plastic wrap and roll out dough between plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness. Place on a baking sheet and transfer to refrigerator and chill until firm, about 45 minutes. Repeat process with remaining dough.
Using a 2-inch round fluted cutter (or other shaped cutter), cut out dough, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Transfer to prepared baking sheets.  Bake until firm, 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Instead of using plastic wrap, I rolled mine between two pieces of parchment paper. Use whichever you happen to have on hand.
You can place them RIGHT next to each other on the baking tray because they don't spread out at all. So go right ahead and get as many on the tray as you can fit. It'll save you baking time.
When I rolled mine, I rolled them VERY thin, so that they came out like little wafers. SO good! Tbh, I had no intention of doing that, but then it happened and I went with it. They were so crisp and delicious, I think I might stick to that idea the next time I make them.
I sprinkled them with a little turbinado sugar before baking. I like the little sparkle and crunch that it brings to the party. 
I also kept thinking (since I had rolled them so thin), I bet they'd be great to make into a sandwich cookie. I wonder what kind of filling I could do... hmm.. maybe something lemony and buttery? I'll have to think on it a little more!

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