a little thyme on my hands: lemon thyme shortbread

Last summer, Nate and I had one of the best meals to date at the beloved restaurant, Poste, in DC’s Penn Quarter.  It was Restaurant Week, and we enjoyed three courses of exceptional food, including wreck fish (found in ship wrecks off the North Carolina coast), pork belly, moules marinieres (steamed mussels, the French way), pots de creme, and other fantastic creations.  As if all this food wasn’t impressive (or filling) enough, the check came out with three small treats: a dark chocolate truffle, a lemon truffle, and a small rosemary shortbread cookie.  The truffles were delicious, but I was most impressed by the shortbread.  I’d never even considered adding an herb to my shortbread cookies — I could tell they were on to something.

You can imagine my excitement, then, when I came across (on the very last page, no less) a recipe for lemon thyme shortbread in my latest Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine. Never needing an excuse to bake cookies, I gathered the minimal ingredients and gave them a go.

And I am so glad I did.  Golden, buttery, and flecked with bits of lemon zest and dried thyme, these cookies are delicious stand-alone treats and doubly good with a mug of Jasmine tea or strong coffee.

And it never hurts to round out the scene with a cat basking in the sunlight nearby.

Lemon Thyme Shortbread

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar at a medium-high speed with a mixer until creamy.  Add lemon zest and thyme, beating until combined.

In a small bowl, combine flour and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined.  Shape mixture into 2 (10 inch) logs; wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper (this guarantees no burned bottoms).

Unwrap dough, and cut into 1/3 inch-thick slices.  Place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 11-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.  Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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