Lemon-Thyme Shortbread, C4C Gluten-Free Flour, Kerrygold Butter

Lemon Thyme Shortbread

Have you ever spotted Kerrygold butter at your super market? Inexplicably in the cheese section? And wondered if it were any good?

Well, it is. My mother brought me some this weekend. She spoils me, still, at age 30. Along with the butter, she brought her favorites from the Greek market — a tin of olive oil, a branch of dried oregano, a block of manouri cheese; some pantry items she knows I hate spending money on — cheese cloth and parchment paper; and of course, some baked goods — Bakery Lane’s honey-whole wheat bread and toasted coconut-raspberry jam bars. Delicious. As my mother says, I felt like a bride.

But don’t be too jealous. No sooner had she unloaded the basket of goodies had she pulled out her travel file, spilling with newspaper clippings along with her latest neuroses.

“Just read the middle paragraph,” she insisted waving the clipping in my face, “about human skin cells and dander and dust mites and their feces. And about how much humans perspire every evening. And about…”

“Sure thing, mom.” I didn’t want to eat my breakfast anyway.

Yes, my friends, my mother is worried again. She’s worried about the ungrounded outlets in my bathroom; the dead, unfelled pine tree in our backyard; the dime-sized rash on my 6-month-old’s neck; and the copper can I store olive oil in — “What’s that lined with?” she asks every visit. These are worries I expect, however. Par for the course, really. But this latest concern — a personal hygiene affront veiled by a When to Clean the Sheets article — was a first. I’m starting to develop a complex.

I suppose some things never change. My mother worries about me, still, at age 30. Oh mama, you know I love you. And thank you for being such a good sport.

OK, on to some fun stuff:

1. As I mentioned, Kerrygold Butter, made from the milk of grass-fed cows in Ireland, is delicious. It’s definitely a splurge, best saved perhaps for spreading on good bread and topping with radish slices, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

2. C4C Flour. Several months ago, after watching Thomas Keller make polenta waffles and fried chicken on tv using his new C4C flour — a gluten-free mix that can be subbed one-for-one with all-purpose flour — I immediately ordered a bag. Beyond curiosity, I didn’t have a reason to buy this gluten-free flour, but I’m so happy I did. So far, and I’ve only made a couple of things (shortbread and waffles), I’m impressed. It’s pricey, certainly, but it’s a good product — worth it for the mere convenience of being able to use it in nearly any pastry, dessert or quick bread. But if you want to make your own mix, this recipe looks promising.

Side note: My mother recently tipped me off about a simple substitution when making our favorite brownie recipe gluten-free: She swaps the flour for almond flour. So simple. You’d never know the brownies were gluten free, and the almond adds a nice flavor, too. I suspect this works best when little flour is called for.

3. Lemon Shortbread. Melissa Clark’s shortbread continues to be one of my favorite foods on the planet. I find a reason, it seems, to make the rosemary variation at least once a month. Inspired by a visit to 2Amys, where a wedge of lemon shortbread stole the show (after the pizza of course), I had to make a batch. A few appropriate adjustments to Clark’s recipe produced a lemon shortbread to swoon over. This time, I also added lemon thyme from our CSA and used gluten-free flour. I can’t stop eating it.

Lemon Thyme Shortbread
Incidentally, the article my mother passed along, When to Clean the Sheets, is informative and entertaining, if you can get over the yuck factor. It’s perhaps best not read at mealtime.

newspaper clippings


kerrygold butter

When making shortbread, it’s important to not over pulse the dough. This is about what the mixture should look like:


c4c flour

c4c Flour

lemon zest & lemon thyme

Lemon-Thyme Shortbread, Gluten-Free or Not
Yield: One 8- or 9-inch shortbread, about 16 pieces
Source: Melissa Clark of the NY Times

A few notes:

The thyme or lemon-thyme is purely optional. It’s a very subtle flavor, one I really like, but if you’re not into herbed sweets, just leave it out.

If you’re not a lemon fan, try the rosemary variation or any of the other suggested variations.

2 cups all-purpose flour or C4C gluten-free flour or your favorite gluten-free substitution for flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh lemon thyme or thyme (optional — this flavor is very subtle)
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 tsp. honey
2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1. Heat oven to 325ºF. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, thyme, zest and salt. Add butter, honey and lemon juice, and pulse to fine crumbs. Pulse a few more times until some crumbs start to come together, but don’t overprocess. Dough should not be smooth.

2. Press dough into an ungreased (or parchment paper-lined for easy removal) 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes for 9-inch pan, 45 to 50 minutes for 8-inch. (Note: When I bake this in a 9-inch pan, it takes about 32 to 35 minutes minutes. And When I make it in my 8-inch pan, it takes about 35 to 37 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares, bars or wedges while still warm. (Note: I have let the shortbread cool completely — cut it the next day in fact — and had no trouble cutting it up when cool.)


  1. says

    I was actually thinking of making a batch of your shortbread for my mom for mother’s day. Rosemary sounded good, but now you’ve tempted me with this lemon thyme version. So which is better — rosemary or lemon thyme?

  2. says

    Ali, I read the same WSJ article and it totally freaked me out. That combined with my gym having “The Doctors” on in the locker room at lunch time – they are always talking about hidden germs and how they are everywhere. Eek.

    My Dad loves shortbread and I am going to have to whip up a batch for him ASAP! This looks, as always, delicious.

  3. Rachael says

    I’m not sure it’s made from actual cows, just their milk! lol
    Irish butter is the best, but then I’m Irish so I’m biased. These shortbreads look delicious!

    • says

      Rachael — Bahh! Thanks for catching that. I’m delirious half of the time I’m writing these posts. So glad to hear you approve of the butter! I feel like I have gold in my fridge right now. It’s pretty amazing.

  4. says

    It looks amazing! I’ve never actually tried the KerryGold Butter, but shortbread is a good place to start. I’m intrigued by the C4C Flour, but I’m skeptical as to whether it’s any better than the blend that I make. With the Keller name on there, I’m sure it will make tons of $$ but the blends are so easy to make yourself.

    • says

      RecipeGirl you need to help me! And by help, I mean I’ll just visit your site and find your gluten-free flour mix recipe. Is it really easy to mix up? I have about five different bags of various gluten-free flours stashed in my freezer — I bet I can use them in your mix?

  5. says

    does it say I need to change the sheets every other day? eeeek, I don’t think I want to know!

    um, enough with these delicious sheetpan concoctions. I’m still working on the buckle, should be gone by tomorrow night considering I manage about three pieces before lunch time even rolls around. This shortbread looks amazing. We don’t have Kerrygold or C4C flour here, so I’ll just have to hope the swiss cows have been eating some good alp grass. Beautiful as always!

  6. Liz says

    I love the lemon thyme combination–so clever. By the way, I bought your pear print and just had it framed. It looks so wonderful in my kitchen! The design is very contemporary and clean, but warm, too. Thank you! This is going to be my new shower present.

    • says

      Oh my gosh, Liz, thank you so much! I can’t believe it. You are too nice. Email me a picture if you feel like it. I still haven’t seen it in real life.

  7. says

    Your mother sounds funny. I’ve not yet jumped on the gluten free bandwagon, although I am curious to try a recipe gluten free. The flour intrigues me, but the price would probably stop me, unless I wanted to make something special for someone who needed gluten free. I’m with you. Love shortbread, and the one with lemon thyme or rosemary would work for me.

  8. says

    Love your site! Will be making this recipe for sure!

    Your mother sounds like my husband. Aack! Funny from an outsider’s perspective, but not so much when they are family methinks.

  9. Jessy says

    Thanks for posting a GF recipe. My mother was kind and gracious enough to buy me a package of c4c flour to play around this. I’m looking forward to making this.

    • says

      What a nice mother you have! I would love to hear how the shortbread turns out for you. I have been impressed by the c4c flour, and personally, for the convenience, I think it’s worth the price.

  10. gs says

    Has anyone made this successfully with almond flour? I tried but then learned you can’t substitute cup-for-cup – an amount or weight for this recipe from someone who has had good success with almond flour would be much appreciated! I think it would be so tasty if I got it right :-)

    • says

      gs — wish I could help. As I noted, I love substituting almond flour in my brownie and blondie recipes one for one with the flour, but those recipes do call for much less flour. I think two cups might be too much, as you are suspecting yourself. I’ll let you know if I make any discoveries next time around.

  11. Paige says

    Hi! These look amazing, but I wanted to ask you if I would be abel to cut these using a cookie cutter, and bake them on a sheet pan? I could obviously adjust the cooking time, but am nervous that they’ll spread….any ideas? Thanks : )

    • says

      Hmmm, this worries me a little bit. I think they will spread too much. What shape are you planning on using to cut them into? Part of me feels you should bake them in a square pan, let them cool for about 10 minutes or so, and then use the cookie cutter. This obviously will create a little bit of waste, but I just don’t trust that the shapes will hold up if you cut them with the cookie cutter before you bake them. They are too buttery.

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