Lemon Thyme Shortbread

For Fourth of July this year I made lemon thyme shortbread cookies to go along with our fresh berry salad and homemade whipped cream. For more on this see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2016/07/06/4th-of-july-weekend/

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I’ve wanted to learn to make shortbread for a long time and lemon is one of my favorite summer ingredients for baking.

I found a recipe from: twopeasandtheirpod: lemon-rosemary-shortbread that I adapted to make these star shaped light summer cookies.

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These are not high in sugar, although they are very buttery. People commented they would go well with tea, and were more like British biscuits. Yes I would agree they are more European in style as compared to most of my other sugar filled crunchy or gooey cookies.

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But I think in the spring and summer sometimes you need something light that pairs well with iced tea or fresh berries. What I love about these cookies is that the texture is light but still more moist then a cracker and they have a perfect burst of lemon.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 TBS lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons minced thyme

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 C lemon juice.

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Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt, lemon zest, and thyme together.
  2. In a separate bowl beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
  3. Then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.

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Note: add more lemon juice or zest for a stronger lemon burst or more vanilla for a more mild smooth flavor

4. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour or until firm.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put parchment paper, a Silpat, or grease your cookie sheet and put aside.

IMG_65976. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thick square. Cut into shape of your choosing using a lightly floured cookie cutter.

IMG_65967. Place shortbread cookies on the cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown around the edges

8. Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

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Then Enjoy!

Luke thought they were good but a little heavy on the thyme. If your not a fan or herbs in your cookies you can always take them out of the recipe or substitute them for some fresh vanilla bean.

Lemon Cream Scones

As I mentioned in my Birthday Fun post I decided to make myself several bday treats. I have often used, as some of you may know, the Bread Bible as my guide for new recipes or new forms of baking.

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Since this was my first time making scones I thought I’d use their recipe to get me started. It didn’t hurt that it was for lemon scones.

Also, not so surprising I made a few changes. The original recipe called for putting a little cinnamon sugar on top of the scones. I opted for a glaze instead. I also added more sugar and lemon to make these more or a treat and less of a mild breakfast.

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Lemon Cream Scones

Ingredients

2 C all purpose flour

1/2 C white sugar

Fresh Lemon Zest of 4 lemons

1/4tsp salt

5 Tbs cold unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1/2 C cold heavy cream

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Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. I put my down to 375F because my oven runs hot. 1-2 baking sheets.

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt.

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3. Cut in the cold butter with a knife and mix together until it crumbles.

4. In a separate bowl combine eggs and cream then add it to the dry ingredients slowly

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5. Put the dough on a floured surface and lightly knead.

6. Cut the dough into three equal parts.

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7. Use your cupped hands on the sides of the dough to turn the equal parts around in a circle until they form domes.

8. Cut these domes into 4 equal pieces and place them on the baking sheet about an inch apart

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I found my baking sheet could fit about 6 pieces

9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the sides/top is slightly brown

I made my glaze and cleaned up while they baked.

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10. Glaze and put back in for another 1-2 minutes. (see below for glaze)

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Glaze Ingredients

1 egg white

zest of 1 lemon

juice of lemon

3 TBS white sugar

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Instructions

1. Separate egg white, combine with zest and juice, and add in white sugar

2. After scones have baked, while they are still warm brush the tops with the glaze 1 or 2 times

3.  Put the scones back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to let glaze set

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I found these scones to be a wonderful treat. They were especially good with a little goat cheese and strawberry rhubarb jelly (more on the jelly to come).

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Citrus Brownies

So normally I am much better about posting goodies about a week or so after I make them (and no I have not forgotten about my bread of the month posts) but as I have repeatedly stated; there has been a great lack of routine this summer and down time to write has been scarce.

I actually made these for my birthday; yes that was a few months ago. Last summer I attempted to make a similar recipe: a citrus flavored dessert with the texture of a brownie but it turned out to be too much like a lemon bar to satisfy the brownie-like texture I was hoping for. But this year I finally got it with the help of Averiecooks recipe. With a very strong citrus flavor and sweet finish; these squares have the texture of fudge when cold and brownies when at room texture.

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Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

 

Batter:

3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
zest and juice of 2 lemons (or 3/4 limes)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt, optional and to taste

Glaze
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
zest and juice of one lemon (or 2 limes) or as necessary for consistency

Instructions:

Batter:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with butter or spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2.  In a large, microwave-safe bowl add the white chocolate, butter, and heat to melt.White chocolate can easily burn so be careful to heat in 30 second increments, stopping to stir until mixture can be stirred smooth.
  3. Let this cool a little before adding the eggs , granulated sugar, lemon juice/zest, and whisk until combined.

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4. Add the flour and salt, an stir.

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5. Pour the batter into prepared pan

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6. Bake for about 27 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick put in the center comes out clean. Some moist crumbs are ok.

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Note: because I made both a lemon and a lime batches at the same time I added a few drops of neon green food coloring to the lime batch.

Glaze:

  1.  When the brownies are cooled completely, make the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice and whisk together all three ingredients until creamy. If you want the glaze thick use more powdered sugar; and if thinner then more lemon juice and less sugar.
  2. Spread  glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula.
  3. Allow bars to cool in pan uncovered for at least 2 to 3 Let the glaze set. I found it took awhile uncovered in the fridge for the whole thing to set. Best to let it set over night.

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Note: how much zest or lemon juice you want to include in your batter or glaze depends on how tart you want your treat to be. I prefer a pretty strong citrus taste if you do not then you can remove a quarter of the juice and zest I include.

Also, another trick you can try: when the brownies are still warm poke holes in the top; this will help them cool off faster as well as when you pour over the glaze it will seep and set well into the top of the brownies.

These lemon/lime brownies were very popular at Luke’s work and at our small group get-together. I was surprised by how popular the lime ones were; maybe because they are not as common.

So are you a bigger fan of lemons or limes? If your adventurous you could also try other citrus brownies: Grapefruit? Orange?