Lemon & Thyme Shortbread

8 July 2011

I am ending the weekly marathon of cake recipes with one that is strictly not that. It's a biscuit recipe; a sophisticated, melt-in-your-mouth biscuit. The magic of these biscuits is that they work perfectly with a cup of tea as an afternoon pick-me-up, but they can take on a completely different guise as a dessert biscuit when served with berries and cream. If I haven't already convinced you to make these, I'd like to add that the dough is excellent to freeze. It's a lovely feeling to know that there's some biscuit dough in the freezer lying in wait for a warm oven.

Lemon & Thyme Shortbread Biscuits

Makes approx 48

400g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp finely chopped lemon thyme leaves (or ordinary thyme will do)
225g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
2 tbsp finely grated unwaxed lemon zest
1 free-range egg beaten
Juice of a lemon

1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and stir in the salt and thyme.

2. Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy. Add the egg a little at a time, beating after each addition, then slowly add the dry ingredients mixing well and dribbling in a little lemon juice until the mixture comes together as a dough. Go careful with the juice as the dough shouldn't be too wet.

3. Roll the dough into two log shapes each about 5cm in diameter. This way, each log will make roughly 24 biscuits, so you could save one log for a later time should you wish to do so. Wrap each log tightly in clingfilm and place in the fridge for a couple of hours. However it will remain good like this in the fridge for up to two days.

4. When you are ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 190C/375F/GM 5. Line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

5. Unwrap the clingfilm and slice off rounds of approx 5mm in thickness. Place these on the baking sheet making sure you leave some space between them as they will spread somewhat in the oven. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until the edges are just tinged and golden. Carefully remove them with a palette knife and place them on a rack to cool. Enjoy.

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