Shortbread cookies are super easy to make. They come together with a few simple ingredients. For these Lemon Thyme Shortbread cookies, we use a mix of bright, sunshiny bursts of lemon flavor coupled with the subtle earthiness of seasonal thyme that I know many of you are growing in your backyard gardens right now.
It's time to use up some of those fresh herbs in an unconventional, but oh-so-delicious way. These Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies are sure to please this Summer!
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Classic Shortbread Cookies with Seasonal Flavors
If you are new to shortbread, welcome to the world of easy to throw together cookie doughs and buttery baked cookies. This dough is so versatile and lends itself really well to lots of fun flavor combos.
Combining bright lemon zest with fresh (or dried if you don't have fresh!) thyme makes for a wonderful contrast of flavors for a delightful and easy to make cookie.
Plan Ahead for these Cookies
These cookies require some forethought and preparation, as the dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours before baking.
There are a few reasons why refrigerating your cookie dough is important:
- it allows the flour in the dough to hydrate, which makes for cookies that will bake and brown evenly
- it allows all those seasonal, fresh flavors of the lemon and thyme to concentrate and shine through when baked
- it allows the butter to firm up which prevents the cookies from spreading too much in the oven because cold butter just takes longer to melt in a hot oven
So, be sure you leave plenty of time to prepare the dough, let it chill then bake. The dough can be made up to a week ahead of time, too, if it's easier to make the dough one day and bake another later on.
How to Make Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies
This recipe starts by making a simple lemon sugar. To start, combine granulated sugar plus lemon zest and, rubbing them together with your fingers to release the oils from the lemon zest. Cover and set aside.
The preparation of the shortbread dough for this recipe is rather simple.
Start by creaming together the cold butter and sugars with the salt and lemon juice. Add in the sifted flours then the lemon zest and thyme. And voila, you’ve got some shortbread dough.
Roll out the dough to ½-inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill. I like to roll out the dough before chilling it whereas some recipes call for chilling then rolling it out. I find rolling out chilled dough to be too difficult, so this way works much better.
Cut out rounds and bake the sprinkle with the lemon sugar. Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.
Can these cookies be made with different flavors?
Yes! Shortbread cookies can be made with lots of different flavor combinations. Try substituting the lemon in this recipe for orange, Meyer lemon or lime. And try substituting the thyme for mint, basil or rosemary. Just be careful with rosemary, use it sparingly!
Here are a few more shortbread variations to try:
- Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies
- Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
Can these Shortbread cookies be made ahead of time?
Yes! The shortbread dough can be made up to one week ahead of time then baked. The baked cookies can also be frozen up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and serve.
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