In light of yesterday’s post, I have to say that I’ve really been working on celebrating the small things in life more and more lately. I love applying this to the things that really matter to the heart and relationships, but there are so many times that simple flavors really get lost in the shuffle of this ever-growing foodie world we live in.
Now you should know, I am ALL ABOUT flavor. I love to mix and match, try new combinations, and new spins on classic recipes make my little food-blogging heart go pitter-patter. In short I love it, and it’s not likely I’ll turn a whole lot of things down. But sometimes I sit back and wonder, what about the simple flavors? The classics are classics for a reason – because they taste good that way. And usually the classics are made of of really simple flavor building blocks that need no help from other ingredients.
There are two things that I find as prime examples of this: the flavor of lemon and a simple, classic shortbread cookie made with my dad’s Aunt Clara’s recipe. The lemon – well, really needs no explanation. It can be a required taste for some, but when you take the zest that has all of the flavor and none of the sour it’s just magical. Refreshing and light, like summer sunshine perfection that makes any dish complete. The taste of lemon is a surefire way to revive a classic without changing much about the dish.
And the cookies? Y’all, this cookie recipe could not be simpler. A long time ago when we were in Oklahoma I had the chance to go through my family’s old recipes and found this version that I’ve tweaked a bit. Adding some lemon zest and fresh garden thyme just made sense, and I have to say I am really happy with how they turned out. The cookies themselves are buttery and rich, and the addition of lemon helps cut that richness a tad – you know, so you can enjoy more 😉 And the thyme? Honestly I was a little worried about it because I thought it might be messing with a classic too much, but the herbal flavor it provides is just wonderful. Very subtle, but so complimentary to the lemon.
I hope you guys are taking time to celebrate those small flavors – the lemon zest, the fresh cracked black pepper, the hints of tarragon – in your life and your food today!
LEMON THYME SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Makes about 36 cookies (depending on the size cutter you use)
- 3 sticks salted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 cups flour + 1 tsp
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup thyme leaves, stems removed
- zest from 3 large lemons
In a large bowl beat together the butter until light and fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar, 3 cups of flour and cornstarch. With the mixer on low mix together the butter and dry ingredients until they just come together slightly. In a small bowl toss the thyme leaves and lemon zest together with the remaining teaspoon of flour. Add the mixture to the dough and mix until just combined. Pour the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and, using your hands, press together into a flat disk. Wrap in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.
Preheat your oven to 350. Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch wide and cut out the cookies using a 1-inch cutter of choice (the fun thing is you can do shapes!) Place the cut-out cookies about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until just slightly brown on the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheets. Serve and enjoy!