Lemon and thyme cookies [vg]

I have got chickenpox.  Worst news for anyone who has just begun employment, holidayed around Europe for 2 weeks, only to be expected to come back and work 20 or so hours.  I feel terrible, about these gross lesions all over me, and about my employer.  If it’s any consolation, however, whilst in recovery, I may have outsmarted the Hemsley + Hemsley girls.

Watching GBBO has inspired me to further develop the flavours used in my baking.  Baking aesthetics can be put aside for a moment, as God knows how I can top Paul’s lion face bread.

During one of my sick, sick days, I was lying on my bed dreaming of lemon biscuits.  I never thought there would be an instance when I wanted to gorge on fat-laden biscuits, and only fruit would be available at home.  Unbelievable.

A few moments later, the combination with thyme came to me.  I just realised that this magic combination have brighter prospects than a roast chicken flavouring.  I thought it was a lightbulb moment!  But the fabulous Hemsley + Hemsley sisters beat me to it.  Of course they have a recipe for chewy lemon and thyme cookies.

On one particularly rainy Wednesday, I tried my hand at this recipe, after acquiring the unfamiliar arrowroot powder.  Some people say it’s the saccharine alter ego of cornstarch due to its predominantly non-GMO nature.

I experienced problems, however.  The recipe says that once you have mixed in the lemon zest, maple syrup, and thyme leaves in a food processor, you should be left with a dough.  Not in my case.  I was left with a crumbly mix.  I did think it may have been down to maple syrup quantity – I should have probably added more than the 2 tbsp stated.  I opted to add 2 tbsp of unsweetened almond milk instead.  I hate added sugar to anything; the less sugar (whether it’s ‘refined’ or not), the better, in my opinion.   I’ve lost my sweet tooth, sorry.

So, whether the Hemsley sisters just had a larger-than-large tablespoon measure for the maple syrup which helped bind the dough, I am unsure, but what I am certain of is that this recipe creates 10 delicious biscuits that dissociates thyme from your weekly Sunday roast.

The cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, as the original recipe promises.  They are light, yet the flavours satiate you, unknowingly.  The simple marriage between lemon and thyme will make these cookies a regular bake for me – with minimal equipment and mess, anyone who is lazy-yet-ambitious ought to try this!

Lemon and thyme cookies [vg, GF]

Original recipe by the Hemsley + Hemsley sisters. 


150 g ground almonds

Grated zest of 1 lemon

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

½ tsp thyme leaves


  1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4/180 C. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the ground almonds, salt, arrowroot powder and bicarbonate together until it forms a crumbly mixture.
  3. Add the maple syrup, lemon zest and thyme leaves. Pulse until well-combined.
  4. Add the almond milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until well-combined and a ball of dough forms.
  5. Remove the dough from the food processor and, using your hands, tear off 10 equal pieces of dough. Shape and roll into balls. Flatten with your hands and place on the prepared sheet.
  6. Form criss-cross patterns on each cookie using a fork, if desired. Remembering to space the cookies evenly, bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown in colour.
  7. Once baked, let the cookies cool. They should be crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.

My first Hemsley + Hemsley recipe!  The cookie recipe is super simple to follow, and I imagine that it makes a great base for other things.  Perhaps a bit of lavender or cardamom could also work as great flavours instead.

Peace and love, Julia

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