Sometimes pastry school doesn’t offer a whole lot of creative freedom.
A lot of pastry student time is taken up by making our daily quota of croissants, baguettes, breads, scones, and muffins, or by glazing chocolate cakes, fruit mousse cakes, or making tiny desserts for stocking the school cafe.
Every so often, though, I’ve got enough time to whip up a batch of these tiny lemony delights!
My excuse is always, “I’m making them to sell in the bake shop!” even though a good handful of these always end up in my stomach.
The flavourful nuances of these delicate, crumbly tea cookies hinges on using a rich, high quality olive oil (preferably extra virgin), fresh thyme, and, of course, beautiful, fresh lemon zest.
It’s been so long since I’ve posted an actual recipe, so believe me — this is definitely a keeper!
Lemon & Thyme Tea Cookies
- 1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest of two lemons
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
Cream the soft butter and olive oil together, then beat in the sugar. Stir in the egg yolk, whole egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice until evenly incorporated.
Fold in the lemon zest and fresh thyme, followed by the sifted flour mixture.
Press the dough into a disc, wrap in cling film, and chill for at least 2 hours (but overnight is best).
Once ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C.
Roll out the dough to about 3 mm (1/4 inch) thick and use a cookie cutter to press out shapes. Place the cookies close together on a cookie sheet (since they don’t really spread), sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 12 ~ 15 minutes, or until the cookie’s bottom edges are light golden coloured.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the sheet before removing. Makes about 40 tiny cookies!
Orange & Cinnamon Version
Substitute: 1) orange zest and orange juice for lemon zest and lemon, 2) canola oil for olive oil, 3) 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for 2 teaspoons thyme.
In other news, I just recently tried out for a culinary competition sponsored by the Northwest Pear Bureau.
Above is my submission: a rosemary-scented pear and chocolate tart with amaretto pear coulis.
Y’know, I’ve always thought that a “bureau” was all about spying agencies, soulless bureaucracies, and other such paper-pushing operations, but turns out there’s a bureau for pears now, too!
I doubt I’ll win, but it’s always nice to try! Wish me luck!