I prefer savory over sweet, which is why I parked myself in front of the goat cheese platter at a recent neighborhood cookie party. I wasn’t there for the cookies, I was there for the conversation—actual coherent conversation instead of the snippets of sentences I usually exchange with the ladies of Mommy and Me in Long Beach, California.
But when Grace Navarrete introduced her lemon thyme cookies, saying
she’d had an abundance of the herb in her garden and wanted to use it, I
found myself slowly backing away from the cheese. They looked so sweet
and innocent next to my salted fudge brownies, Carrie’s triple-decker maple peanut butter pretzel fudge and even Deb’s adorable acorn-shaped walnut treats.
The thin wafers were light, bright and, best of all, didn’t send me desperately searching for a tall glass of water. Often used as a savory herb, thyme is reserved enough to pair well with sweet ingredients, too. Navarrete’s daughter, Charlotte, has a number of food allergies, so she adapted a recipe from the web. “I don’t bake often, but when I do, I always try to make it so my daughter can have some,” says Navarrete, who also has rosemary, cilantro and a tangerine tree growing in her yard. “I like that these aren’t overly sweet and came out soft in the middle, just how I like them.”
Sweet Lemon Thyme Crisps
Makes 2 logs, or 120 cookies
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme leaves
2 sticks Earth’s Balance vegan buttery sticks
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup applesauce
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
Sift flour, baking soda, and salt and stir in thyme. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together vegan butter, granulated sugar and zest until light and fluffy. Add applesauce, beating until combined well, and beat in lemon juice and nutmeg. Add flour mixture, beating until just combined.
Halve dough and on separate sheets of wax paper form each half into a 14- by 1 1/2-inch log, using wax paper as a guide. Freeze logs wrapped in wax paper and foil until firm.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut 1 log diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick circles. Arrange cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets and bake in batches in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 12 minutes total. Immediately transfer crisps with a spatula to racks to cool.
Logs can be frozen up to three weeks.