With a handful of ingredients that transform into dough in seconds, this shortbread recipe could not be easier. Flavored with tart lemon, savory thyme, and a touch of sugar, these are the perfect cookie for those days when you want your dessert to be bright, crispy, and just shy of sweet. Plus, if you have five minutes and a food processor, you can be eating these shortbread cookies in a snap.
We’ve been having a warmer-than-usual October in our neck of the (metaphorical) woods. But in the past few days, even though it’s been beautifully sunny, there has been a cold breeze blowing to remind me that winter is, in fact, coming. That, coupled with the geese constantly honking overhead on their trek south, have been enough to send me searching for my sweaters and boots. But before I go into full hibernation, I wanted to make something with both a burst of summer flavor and a hint of savory fall baking to celebrate this time in between seasons.
Shortbread dough is so simple and yet so rich and delicious, it’s the perfect platform for whatever flavors you’re craving at the moment. To make it, simply add flour, sugar, and cold butter to a food processor and pulse until it’s crumbly. I started with a recipe from The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson, which has lots of colorful and fun recipes to make with your little ones. Her version called for rosemary, but I decided to use summery lemon and savory thyme, which I always associate with winter roasts. Besides fresh lemon juice, I rubbed lemon zest into the sugar to give the dough an extra lemon kick. After a few pulses, you can turn the dough out into a pie pan, press it down as evenly as you can, and you are ready to bake.
After thirty minutes in the oven, the edges will be golden brown and the center will still look quite pale. Don’t worry – once you cool it in the pan for a few minutes, it is ready to cut and eat. I like this method because you get evenly sized cookies in a pretty wedge shape.
The combination of the bright lemon and earthy thyme flavors make these ideal for this not-quite-winter season. I like these in the afternoon, but they can work as a dessert or even as an appetizer at a party. They look way more elegant than they have any right to, and they are crispy while still melting in your mouth. And did I mention there’s a stick of butter in there? But don’t worry – one of these cookies will sate your appetite without making you feel guilty. Shortbread, you are the best.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Zest of 1 lemon, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from about ½ lemon)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cold
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a food processor, pulse together all of the ingredients until just combined, about 10 pulses. Don’t worry if it looks crumbly.
- Turn the mixture out into a 9” pie pan and press it down as evenly as you can.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes before cuting into wedges.