Lemon & Thyme, Olive Oil Cookies

October 20, 2012

Lemon-Thyme Olive Oil Cookies | une gamine dans la cuisine

Last summer's sultry, tropical heat unearthed a lost respect for the lazy ease of flip-flops, as well as a Pandora's box of otherworldly insects.  I think it was either July or early August that I had an uninvited, eight-legged visitor in my late night shower. Even though I have an intense fear of them, I try to respect spiders. But the creature clinging to my shower curtain (the very curtain I'd just drawn back with my hand!), was no ordinary spider. It was the colour of creamy coffee and instead of having nice, evenly-spaced legs, the four front legs were spread above it's head, whilst the back legs stretched out below it's torso, leaving a creepy space in the center. Plus it was the size of a small gerbil (maybe). In a moment of sheer panic, I washed it down the thankfully-wide drain and proceeded to take the fastest shower in the history of showers (because I think we've all seen Arachnophobia!).

Apparently the incident left a mental scar because I recently had a nightmare about a pulsating nest growing in the cellar. And just like real life, Niles, my 20lb cat, was completely useless when it came to catching anything. After one of the dream spiders ran across his tail, all he did was clean one of his front paws, yawn, stretch, and then go back to sleep.

After the leggy nightmare, I needed something to calm down. And nothing calms me down quite like baking and cookie eating. Especially when my beloved lemons are involved.

Lemon-Thyme Olive Oil Cookies | une gamine dans la cuisine

These cookies recived mixed reviews. Some of my taste-testers didn't think that they were sweet enough and were put off by the idea of olive oil in cookies. (Sillies. ♥) Other people, myself included, could not get enough.

I am in love with this recipe.

The cookies have a tender, soft center and a delicate crisp at the edge. They have a light, clean citrus-y taste with just a hint of floral (from the thyme). And I adore the whisper of earthy olive oil that hits your tongue upon swallowing. These are the sort of cookies that I'd love to have a constant stash of in my cookie jar.

It's true that they are not as sweet as most cookies, but their unusual flavour more than makes up for the lack of sugar. And they are the perfect companions to strong cups of coffee, lemony tea, and post-bad-dream morning fog. :)

Lemon-Thyme Olive Oil Cookies | une gamine dans la cuisine

Lemon & Thyme, Olive Oil Cookies
makes about 28-32 cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 regular-size lemons) {note: save the lemon}
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely minced thyme
2/3 cup virgin olive oil
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar (1 cup) and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until it's evenly moistened and aromatic; Set aside to marinate for a few minutes.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and thyme; Set aside.

Add the olive oil, egg, almond extract, and lemon juice, to the lemon-sugar mixture. Using the paddle attachment, beat on med-low speed until smooth. (About 3-5 minutes.) Add the dry ingredients and beat on med-low speed until just combined. Switch over to a large rubber spatula and use it to mix in any stray flour streaks. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (for rolling) into a large, shallow bowl.

For each cookie, measure out about 2 well-rounded teaspoonfuls. Roll into balls and roll the balls through the bowl of sugar until evenly coated. {Note: Don't worry if the dough is a bit crumbly. If you work the balls of dough long enough with your palms, it will come together.} Place the sugar-coated cookies onto prepared sheets. Use the bottom of a glass or cup to flatten slightly.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will have puffed up slightly but will still look pale. (Mine were just right after 8 minutes.) Remove the cookies sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest for about 3 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from Mama's Gotta Bake


  1. I don't blame you for your fear of spiders! Spiders don't typically bother me (though one that large probably would!) but I have some other insect fears that I won't even get into here.... ;)

    As for the cookies, I'm in love with them!! The olive oil is perfection with the lemon. I think these would calm me down too - maybe it's the thyme oil?

  2. We try to leave spiders alone too - even the widow spiders living in our home.

    Lovely recipe! I also love infused sugars and lemon zest is one of my favorites. ;)

  3. Ive never baked sweets/cookies with olive oil! Ive always been tempted to try it and then always wondered if the cookies would taste...a bit like a savory dish gone confused? lol

    Clearly I have nothing to worry about b/c your cookies look perfect! I can almost taste the lemon thru the screen! Gorgeous pics for a great sounding cookie, Valerie! Love the fine dusting of sugar and the crispy little delicate cracks in the edges. Just perfect!

  4. Wow, not a typical cookie flavour, but something that works pretty well! Hopefully, the only spiders I'll ever encounter are ones that come from my kids' song, "itsy bitsy spider..." LOL.

  5. Valerie - this is my kind of cookie! I with you in the fact that I would not have enough and have a hard time stopping to eat these. I am pinning these to make! Thank you for sharing!1

  6. Valerie, I love this cookie - using lemon, thyme and olive oil. I luv using olive oil in baked goods (working on a couple right now!). Thank you for sharing this recipe. Looking forward to making it.

    So scary about that spider incident. No more nightmares, ok? :) Have a great weekend!

  7. I have to admit that olive oil in baking always makes me pause. But your cookies look so beautiful, and of course lemon makes everything great.

    Your photos are perfect!

  8. Beautiful flavors and cookies! I love spiders, they are so cute. ;-P



  9. Seriously this cookie looks unreal. I love the idea of olive oil in the cookie. I bet it was nice and soft and tender, just like I like. Anything with lemon wins me over.

  10. There are few things worse than seeing bugs while in the shower, I totally understand. These cookies seem ideal to calm down with (baking always does it, doesn't it?).

    They remind me of a cookie I might find in this specific (brilliant) New York coffee shop that always serves up interesting treats, usually made with olive oil. Love the unique combination of ingredients, I'm pretty sure they'd get a big thumbs up from me. Guess I'll have to try them!

  11. Hi Val! I am in LOVE with these cookies, and would have called your taste testers silly too, about the olive oil! Can I take over as a taste tester? I make an olive oil and lime cake, so can only imagine how delicious these cookies are!!!

  12. While I generally have a huge sweet tooth, I actually prefer lemon desserts to be a little less sweet and really love the combination of lemon and thyme. I seriously need to try these cookies!

  13. Olive oil makes such moist baked goods. These sounds amazing, Valerie!

  14. What a happy combination of flavours - would love one of these right now!

  15. I'm so scared of spiders I'm pretty sure all my neighbors hear me scream when I see one.
    Love these cookies <3

  16. Spider or no, these cookies sound delicious.

  17. Yuck spiders! I like the olive oil in your cookie recipe as well as the lemon and thyme, plus they are real pretty and appealing big time to my inner cookie monster;-)

  18. You seriously have the best citrus cookies. I already made (and posted about) your Lime Creamsicle Cookies and now I am putting these on the list too. YUM.

    I just read a story about spiders to my daughter's kindergarten class and afterward we took a poll about who screamed when they saw spiders, etc. I told them I love spiders and never scream or kill them, and usually just leave them be. But then I confessed all bets were off in the bathroom. Doubly so in the shower. Washing it down the drain was clearly your only choice!

  19. A spider of that size and colouring in the shower would freak me out too and I'm not particularly afraid of spiders. I haven't tried any olive oil cookies but I guess it would depend on which olive oil was used. Their taste and quality can vary considerably.

  20. Yuck, I hate spiders too but have grown to respect them too. I used to have nightmares nightly about spiders, and bugs that woke me and my hubs up repeatedly. I would have done the same thing as you. I agree with you I would love these little lemon kissed cookies because pretty much anything with lemon is good to me.

  21. I don't like them either! Yuk! I would probably have skipped the shower for fear it would climb back up through the water. (you know the song: itsy bitsy spider climbed UP the water spout)
    Well, the cookies might help. I do love herbs in cookies. These look lovely.

  22. I feel the same way about spiders...as long as they don't get too big and don't surprise me. :) I usually leave the small-ish ones alone when I see them but that's my limit. Tarantulas have been coming out of hiding--normal for this time of year. I've seen them on my jogging trails and have even gotten close enough to take pictures of them but that's only because they're not in my yard! That would be a different story!

    I love the flavors in these cookies. I wouldn't be able to get enough of them either. :)

  23. These sounds so fabulous, I cannot wait to make them! I love how thick and chewy they look! My cat is useless when it comes to killing bugs too!

  24. I am not a fan of spiders. I even make my 7 year old kill them for me :)
    These cookies look so soft and perfect. What a great flavor.

  25. Ewww, just reading about that spider gave me the shivers! Especially thinking of the vulnerable state I would feel in being in the shower when I noticed.
    I would definitely take a plate of these cookies to dull the trauma - love these!

  26. What a beautiful photo! And the cookies sound divine, really looking forward to making them. Love lemon cookies!

  27. these are exquisite Valerie! that combination of lemon, thyme, and olive oil is just fantastic!

  28. I'm quite scared of all kinds of creepy crawlies. But the image of your cat made me laugh. That is such typical cat behavior :P

    These cookies sound interesting. I don't know if I'll ever actually get myself to try them, but if they were in front of me, I know for a fact that I'd be quite happy to munch on them.

  29. I made these and they were amazing. Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful combination of flavors.

  30. I have the dough chilling in the fridge right now! I'm doing a late friends' Thanksgiving tomorrow and am serving these along with the pies for dessert!

  31. Mark: I hope everyone will fall in love with these cookies as much as I did! (I love celebrating holidays a bit late...it's more personal.) :)


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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