We needed a sweet and somewhat savory accompaniment to our dish of olive oil and vanilla ice cream the other evening. Shortbread was the easiest go to, especially because it uses a handful of ingredients that are usually rather on hand – flour, butter, sugar and a handful of flavorful additions, in this instance lemon zest, fresh thyme, a pinch of salt and chopped pistachios. Just be sure to watch them when they are baking…there is a fine line between under cooked and overcooked….but when they are just right, they are delicious!
Pistachio, Lemon and Thyme Shortbread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks softened butter
1 cup sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
1/2 cup well chopped raw pistachios
1 teaspoon Amaretto or almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
In a bowl with an electric mixer whip together sugar, salt and butter until combined and fluffy. Add Amaretto, extract, lemon zest and juice and whip to incorporate. Add flour a bit at a time until well mixed, but not over mixed. Turn mixer off and remove the mixer from the bowl and fold in the nuts. Scoop the mixture out on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place an additional sheet of parchment over the top of the dough and, using a rolling pen, roll out into a rectangle about 1/3 – 1/2 inch thick. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the top sheet of parchment and using a serrated knife cut the dough into 2 inch x 2 inch squares, then cut down the square diagonally to create a triangle shape. Place triangles about an inch apart from each other on two additional parchment lined baking sheets. Place each baking sheet in the oven (one on the top baking rack, one on the bottom) and bake for 12 -16 minutes, rotating the cooking halfway through. Watch the last few minutes of cooking as the bottom will start to brown quickly. Remove from the oven and place each cookie on a rack to cool. When cool serve with vanilla ice cream topped with olive oil and flake sea salt.