The backstory

I admit, I am hooked on my native thyme bush in my herb garden. It is one of the most versatile herbs, and I have been slowly gaining more confidence with how the flavour works with other flavours I am more comfortable with and used to. It marries perfectly with lemon, or lemon myrtle, (see Lemon Macadamia Ginger Balls #5) and just had to try it in a shortbread. I added some native bush honey to wind down the sugar content, and balances the acidity of lemon beautifully. You can add more lemon myrtle or native thyme for a stronger flavour and contrast, but this version gives just enough of a hint of thyme without overpowering the deliciousness of the shortbread. These are also great lunchbox additions, picnic inclusions or just to have with that morning cup of tea. 

About the ingredients 

Native Thyme: has a sharp, minty flavor, with a slight lemon pepper after-taste. It has healing properties related to headaches and colds and was originally used for such medicinal purposes. It likes to grow in cooler climates as it normally grows in southern parts of Australia, and can be a fantastic addition to the backyard herb garden. It can be used fresh with meats, chicken or fish, or can be dried to add some zing to herbal teas or dried herb mixes that need a lift. Its a great combination with other herbs such as European oregano.

Lemon myrtle: probably one of the most versatile and easy-to-use native herb commercially available at the moment, as its essentially "lemon in a leaf". Its slightly more herby than using traditional lemon, but has been found to have more citral (what gives the lemon flavour) than any other plant in the world, so its unmistakably lemon. This is also a great antimicrobial and antifungal, and can help against the spoilage of food, as well as being a strong antioxidant substance. The leaves can be dried and used whole, or ground, or can be used fresh to infuse in to liquids during cooking. An absolute must-have for the backyard herb garden. 

Reference (https://anfab.org.au/)

Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 125g cold butter
  • 20g honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground lemon myrtle
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more if desired) finely chopped lemon myrtle
  • Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • Caster sugar for sprinkling if you desire

Steps and Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius and line a baking sheet with baking paper. 
  2. Combine flour, sugar, herbs and lemon rind in a food processor. It should still have a soft flour-like consistency. Add honey and butter and continue to combine in the food processor. As soon as it starts to form into small clumps of dough, stop the food processor and turn out the dough into a floured bench. 
  3. You can either roll out your dough into a lined baking sheet and cut it after it comes out of the oven, or use a cookie cutter to create individual shortbread pieces. 
  4. If you desire, sprinkle your shortbread pieces with white sugar prior to placing in the oven. 
  5. Bake until the edges of the shortbread are golden brown. Allow to cool on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.