Herbal Desserts For Valentine's Day: Lemon-Thyme Shortbread

valentines sweets 5

Lemon-Thyme Shortbread and Cocoa-Mint Sandwich Cookies make a sweet Valentine's Day cookie display.

Photo by Matthew Stallbaumer

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Though thyme stands for “courage,” you’ll need none of that as you bite into these buttery delights. They’re irresistible plain or dipped in chocolate. MAKES ABOUT 25 2-INCH ROUND COOKIES

• 1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
• 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
• 1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
• 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
• All-purpose flour, for dusting work surface


• 6 to 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, tempered
• Slivered almonds (at least 25)

1. In food processor with metal blade, pulse almonds, thyme and lemon zest with 2 tablespoons flour until finely ground but not pasty, about 20 seconds. Sift together remaining flour and salt in medium bowl. Add ground nut-herb mixture and stir. Set aside. In electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn mixer to low and gradually add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts. Flatten dough into disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill 2 hours or until very firm.

2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees with rack in center. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll chilled dough on lightly floured surface to about ¼-inch thickness, using as little flour as possible. Cut out 2-inch rounds with cookie cutter and place ½ inch apart on cookie sheets. Position sheet on center rack and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Immediately transfer to racks and cool completely before garnishing.

3. To garnish: Set another cooling rack over cookie sheet. Dip half of each cookie in tempered chocolate. Place on rack, so sheet catches chocolate drippings. Before chocolate sets, place an almond sliver or two on top of each cookie. Allow to fully set before serving. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

Julia M. Usher is a food writer, recipe designer and food stylist in St. Louis. Visit her at www.herbcompanion.com/contributors .

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