Lemon and thyme shortbread

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Shortbread is a traditional Christmas-time treat and always makes an appearance at our place. I wanted to try something a little different this year, so I added lemon zest and some fresh thyme to my usual recipe and sprinkled the shortbread with demerrara sugar before baking. The thyme and lemon might seem odd flavours to add, but they work surprisingly well, and the crunchy, slightly molasses flavoured demerrara sugar provides a satisfyingly crunchy contrast to the flaky biscuit. There really is no reason not to eat shortbread anytime of the year. It’s much too delicious to only eat at Christmas. All that is needed is a good cup of tea and a good friend to share it with.

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Makes 24 squares

250g butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup soft icing mixture
2 cups plain flour
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon demerrara sugar

Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease a rectangular slice tin, 19 x 29 cm. Place all the ingredients, except for the demerrara sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture comes together into a soft dough. Press gently and evenly into the tin and sprinkle with the demerrara sugar. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, until lightly golden. While still quite warm mark into squares or rectangles. When cool, carefully take out of the tin and place on a cake rack until cold. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. It also freezes very well, so if restraint is not your forte you can put half in the freezer for another day.

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