Herb shortbread cookies

Several months back, seeking a nice finish for a “ladies lunch,” Michelle made Martha Stewart’s Rosemary Butter Cookies.  Served with sliced oranges in rosemary-steeped honey (it was still citrus season), the cookies were a great success.  Michelle’s friend Ruth deemed them “the best possible mixture of sweet and savory.” The cookie dough is sweet and rich, yet the flavors are subdued enough to let the herb through.

Since then, Michelle has been wondering what other herbs might be good in Martha’s cookies.  This weekend she used a mix of orange and lemon thyme, adding a little lemon zest and lemon extract.

They might have even been better than the originals—buttery, sweet and tart, with the lemony-green taste of thyme standing out wonderfully.   Next time, we’re going to try lavender—and we may end up cookie-ing our way through the entire herb garden.


(adapted from MarthaStewart.com)

  • 2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
  • zest of one lemon, chopped fine
  • 2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TB. (or more) finely chopped fresh thyme leaves (we used a mixture of lemon and orange thyme)
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 beaten egg white

Mix butter and 3/4 cup sugar in electric mixer. Beat with paddle attachment on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla and lemon extracts. Add flour, thyme, lemon zest and salt. Mix at low speed until combined.

Halve the dough. Place each half on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Shape the halves into logs, about 1-1/2″ in diameter. Wrap the paper around the logs and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375. Put remaining sugar in a small bowl, and egg white in another.  Cut the logs into 1/4″ thick rounds. Dip the edges of the cookies in egg white, then roll edges in sugar. Space 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until edges are golden (making sure that sugar does not burn), about 13 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

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