Buttery, slightly tart, and herbal, these Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies are the perfect spring or summer treat. Low carb, sugar-free, and gluten-free.
About one week ago today, I was boarding an airplane to return home from London. It was bittersweet. Of course, I missed my husband and son, but part of me always feels more at home in England. Days prior to that plane ride, I was wandering in the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, blocks away from Shakespeare's birthplace (insert English teacher squeal). I stopped for a coffee at what was, or so I was told, the best coffee in town, and found myself staring at their bakery display.
I can eat gluten based products when I travel to Europe without any digestive trauma or sluggishness, so I do indulge. It's always business as usual when I return to the States, though, chiefly due to the fact that I instantly feel terrible otherwise. So here I am, standing in this coffee shop...
In a glass mason jar on the counter were a small stack of thyme shortbread cookies. I was intrigued, naturally. Thyme in a cookie? Interesting. This cookie was utterly dreamy: buttery, crumbly, and studded with thyme leaves. Maybe it was the fact that I was basking in the rare English sunshine in a street older than I can fathom or maybe it was the sheer excitement of being in Shakespeare's hometown, but that cookie stuck with me. I haven't been able to shake those visions of cookies, cups of tea, and old winding streets full 17th century buildings for the past week. It was time to get to work.
This Lemon Thyme Shortbread cookie is my reincarnation of what I had in Stratford-upon-Avon. I wanted to get a crumbly shortbread texture, which isn't necessarily easy when using almond flour, but this is darn close. I've added lemon since it goes nicely with thyme and simply because I crave that citrus flavor in baked goods during the spring. The result is a buttery, lemony treat with this underlying herbal twist. The perfect cookie for tea, Easter, or Mother's Day.
This cookie is gluten-free, sugar-free, and friendly for keto diets, but don't let that sway you. If I didn't tell you any of that, you'd bet your life that it was an everyday shortbread cookie with that buttery goodness that we all know and love.
A few notes on the method:
- Be careful not to over-beat your butter/erythritol mixture or you'll knock all the air out of it. You'll see a noticeable color change in the butter (pale yellow) when it's a nice light consistency.
- Be careful with your thyme leaves. I would prefer to use thyme right from my garden, but it's a bit too early yet. I purchase organic herbs and wash them thoroughly. Strip the leaves from the woody stems. No one wants a twig in their cookie.
- Be sure to flatten your cookies to the desired thickness. These cookies, despite all that butter, won't spread. If you leave them in little dough balls, you'll have a stodgy and moist cookie instead of a little crisp and crumble.
- Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your cookie, but don't over bake. You want a golden color. About 10 minutes is a good starting point and then I watch like a hawk.
Looking for other cookie recipes? Try:
A gluten-free and sugar-free crumbly, buttery shortbread cookies with a lemon thyme twist.
- 8 tbsp salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated erythritol, Swerve
- zest of one large lemon, (about 2 tsp)
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, no woody stems!
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- 3 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat butter until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
- In a medium mixing bowl, add erythritol, lemon zest, and thyme leaves. Cut together with a pastry blender or a fork to activate the oils and disburse throughout the sugar. Add to the butter mixture and continue to beat at medium speed until fluffy, about another 2-3 minutes.
- Add vanilla, almond and coconut flours, and xanthan gum. Mix to combine until a stiff dough forms.
- Using a cookie scoop, create 12-15 balls of dough and place about 1 inch apart on your baking tray. Flatten to your desired thickness. These cookies will not spread.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional erythritol if desired. Allow cookies to cool. Cookies will be crumbly and delicate at first, so allow enough cooling time to firm up.
- Store in an air-tight container for 3-5 days.