Finding Thyme

Finding time to bake these days has proved very difficult. Much more difficult than I had imagined. Between college essays, the Common App, school, and work I’ve been busier than a bee. And unfortunately baking got put on the back burner. This past week I made it my mission to find time to get in the kitchen to do a little baking. Wanting to make something different, with unique flavors, I found this recipe for Lemon Thyme shortbread cookies. So Saturday I got up bright and early, since that’s when my kitchen gets the best light for photos, and reunited with my oven.

These cookies really were the perfect choice for my small amount of free time. I was able to whip up the dough in no time and take lots of beautiful pictures. The photos are always one of my favorite parts. There’s nothing more satisfying than a delicious end product but what I always shoot for is a gorgeous end product. If I can translate the texture and perfection of a cookie through a photo then I consider it a success.

For these photos I used only natural light. Since working with food photography I’ve learned that there’s absolutely, positively no substitute. Natural light is just the way to go. It enhances the colors and textures perfectly like no light bulb can. It can also be very difficult to work with though since there’s no controlling Mother Nature. Fortunately Saturday was a cold dreary day with clouds filling the sky. Those clouds were the key to my success. Clouds create a natural diffusion of light which is optimum for photo taking. Light that is too harsh or direct can wash out colors and create too much brightness. Luckily for me Mother Nature was on my side, and for that I’m counting my lucky stars.

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup  butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon  snipped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons  finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon  lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground cardamom
  • 1 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  •  Coarse sugar or granulated sugar
directions

1.Preheat oven to 350F. Beat the butter in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar until combined. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice, and cardamom. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Knead until smooth; form mixture into a ball.2.Divide dough into three equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6×4 1/2-inch rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares with a scalloped-edge pastry wheel. Sprinkle cutouts with coarse sugar. Place cutouts on ungreased cookie sheets.

3.Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are just lightly brown. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes 36 cookies.

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