1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh garden thyme leaves (about 1/4 of 3/4 ounce pack, stems removed and discarded)
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Slivered almonds (at least twenty-five)
1. In food processor fitted with metal blade, pulse almonds, thyme leaves and lemon zest with 2 tablespoons of flour until mixture is finely ground, but not pasty, about 20-30 seconds.
2. Sift remaining flour and salt together in medium bowl. Add ground nut-herb mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
3. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream softened butter, granulated sugar and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Turn mixer to low speed and gradually add flour-nut mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts.
4. Flatten dough into disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill for about two hours, or until very firm.
5. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 300ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Roll chilled dough on lightly floured surface to about 1/4" thickness, using as little flour as possible. Cut with 2" round cookie cutter, and place rounds on lined cookie sheets about 1/2" apart.
7. Place cookie sheet on center rack and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until shortbread is lightly browned underneath. Remove immediately to racks to cool. Repeat for second cookie sheet.
8. Cool shortbread completely. Set another cooling rack over cookie sheet. Dip half of each cookie in tempered semisweet chocolate. Place cookies on rack over cookie sheet to catch chocolate drippings. Before chocolate completely sets, place a slivered almond on top of each cookie. Allow chocolate to fully set before serving.
9. Store shortbread in airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Recipe developed by Julia M. Usher
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