I love shortbread. It’s such an elemental food; the rubbing together of flour and butter and sugar produces the most satisfying crumbly buttery texture when it’s baked. Usually I get the urge to make shortbread during the colder months, and shortbread cookies are a holiday gift giving staple in our house. But this savory Asiago Lemon Thyme Shortbread calls for a glass of wine on the deck. Perfect for entertaining. They’d be a great addition to a cheese board. And so much more satisfying than a cracker.
The great thing about shortbread is you can make it ahead and keep the dough in the fridge or freezer to slice and bake when you need it.
I like to make shortbread in my food processor, it’s quick and easy. Everything goes in at once, and all you do is pulse the machine until the dough comes together. The dough will be crumbly, it doesn’t have to be in one lump, but it takes a little experience to recognize this stage. I like to finish bringing it together with my hands.
Turn the dough out onto a board and form it into a 7-8 inch log, just like slice and bake cookies. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a few hours or longer. You can freeze the dough at this point, too.
When you are ready to bake, just slice the dough with a sharp knife to about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch. Arrange the slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Your kitchen will smell of lemon, cheese and thyme.
They should be very lightly browned, don’t wait for too much color or they’ll be very crispy. In general shortbread is fairly pale when it’s fully cooked.
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp thyme leaves
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- lots of fresh cracked black pepper
- set oven to 350F
- Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse, about 30 times, until the dough comes together.
- Remove from the processor and bring the dough into a lump, using your hands. Work it slightly if it is still crumbly.
- Form it into a smooth 7-8 inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap, smoothing it out as you wrap, and twist the ends securely.
- Refrigerate until well chilled, at least a few hours, or overnight. I like to cradle the log of dough on a thick dish towel so it remains round.
- Slice into 1/4 - 3/8 inch thick slices and bake on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet for about 10 minutes. The shortbreads will still be quite pale.
- Let cool for a few minutes on the pan, and then on a rack
recipe adapted from Ina Garten