Lemon & Thyme Shortbread

These buttery, delicate biscuits from Nadia Lim’s fantastic book, Vegful, marry the classic flavours of lemon and thyme with the extra crunch of polenta.

They look gorgeous as simple rounds or can be shaped with your favourite cookie cutter.

The temperature of the butter is vital — it must be cold, not softened or melted. Be careful not to overmix as this will make the dough tough.

This buttery, delicate lemon & thyme shortbread marries classic flavours with the extra crunch of polenta.


Lemon & Thyme Shortbread

175g plain flour
1⁄3c caster sugar
75g fine polenta or semolina
1 egg yolk
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2–3t finely chopped or picked thyme leaves
175g cold butter, cubed

Preheat your oven to 150°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Combine flour, caster sugar, polenta/semolina, egg yolk, lemon zest and thyme in a large bowl. Add butter and use your fingertips to gently rub it in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Bring the dough together with your hands and shape it into two balls. Wrap balls in clingfilm and refrigerate for five minutes to firm up a little.

On a clean, dry, lightly floured surface, roll each ball out to 0.5–0.75cm thickness. Use a cookie cutter (approximately 6cm diameter) to cut into rounds. Alternatively, shape the dough into two logs, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for another five minutes and then slice into rounds (0.5-0.75cm thick).

Transfer to the prepared trays with the help of a metal fish slice or edge of a knife. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the shortbread is lightly golden around the edges. Swap the trays around halfway through cook time, so that the batches cook evenly.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for a few minutes. Gently transfer shortbread to a wire rack to cool completely and let them crisp up. Store in an airtight container or cake tin — they will keep for several weeks if they last that long!


We offer two different varieties of lemons, the Meyer and the Yen Ben.

The Meyer lemon is the most commonly grown lemon in New Zealand. A soft fruit with high juice content, it is a cross between a lemon and mandarin.

Smaller than other lemons, Meyer lemons also have a smoother, thinner skin, and darker yellow pulp.

What’s special about this variety is the sweeter taste - they pack far less of a tangy punch than other lemons. Take a whiff of a Meyer lemon and compare it to any other kind - you’ll find that Meyer lemons have a unique, slightly spicy scent.

Our first lemon growers were Brian and Dianne Williams – we first spotted them right across the road from our house - globes of gold ripe for picking.

Brian grows lemons exclusively, they are his passion and he pours all of his skill as an orchardist (not to mention his magic homemade seaweed fertiliser) into growing the very best Meyer lemons.

The Yen Ben lemon is regarded as a ‘true’ lemon.

It is lighter in colour then a Meyer and more tart in flavour. It has a smooth, thin skin, a high level of acidic juice and few pips.

Also known as a Lisbon lemon, it originated in Queensland, Australia during the 1930s. It caught the attention of New Zealand fruit researchers in the mid 1970s, resulting in the planting of a large number of trees.

Lemons are used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for their juice and zest. They make such a difference to food’s flavour and are used so often in cooking that they are considered almost indispensable.

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