I swear, this year has flown by more quickly than any other year of my life. Of course, I probably say this every year, but this year I really mean it! I have been so busy that I barely have had time to keep in touch with the people I love. Luckily, I have a group of very understanding friends who are always willing to fit me into their equally busy schedules.
My good friend Karen recently brought me bags completely packed with lemon thyme from her herb garden, which has been growing like weeds since the warm weather rolled in. The herbs are so beautiful, green, and fragrant! I knew immediately that I had to create a recipe using the thyme and invite Karen and her daughter, Shannon, over to test it out. Friend time? Check. New blog post? Check.
Lemon is one of my all-time favorite flavors. I especially love citrus desserts because I am not an overly-sweet gal and lemon cuts the sweetness of most desserts beautifully. Lemon and lemon thyme seemed like a no-brainer combination so I adapted one of my favorite tea cake recipes to include the herb.
Spring “Thyme” Lemon Crumble Cake
You know how I said I love lemon and citrus? I mean, I really love it. This time of year I fill my giant drink dispenser with water and slices of oranges, limes, and lemons, and just drink it all day. It’s heavenly. I, luckily, had not used my entire stock of lemons and had just enough to make this recipe.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Begin by creaming your butter and brown sugar. You can use room temperature butter or, if you forgot to take your butter out of your fridge ahead of time like I did, you can melt half and cut the other half up into small cubes. Whip the mixture on medium speed until it is light and fluffy.
Add in good quality vanilla and stir on low until just combined.
Mix in flour, baking soda, and quick oats.
Strip the thyme leaves from the stems until you have about 2 tablespoons worth. Rough chop and add half of the thyme to your mixture. Set the other half aside.
The dough should be crumbly, but still damp and be able to hold it’s shape when patted down.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil into a 9″ glass baking dish and spray with a quick coat of Pam baking spray. (Easy removal and clean up!) Take just over half of your mixture and pat it into a single, even layer in your dish. Make sure there are no holes in the layer of cookie dough or your lemon cream mixture will seep through and make a mess
Whisk together 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons, depending on how juicy they are) with one can of sweetened condensed milk.
Pour the lemon cream mixture over your bottom layer of cookie dough and spread into an even layer with a spoon
Finish it up by crumbling the other half of your cookie dough mixture on top of the lemon cream, leaving some large chunks. Sprinkle with the rest of your chopped thyme and pop it into your oven for 25-30 minutes.
Test the bake with a toothpick around the 25 minute mark. If it comes out totally clean, it’s done. The crumble should be nice and brown. Remove the bake, with the foil, from the pan and set on a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Once cooled, dust with a layer of powdered sugar, cut into squares, and it is ready for tea time!
Shannon provided the tea that she picked up in Ireland as well as a gorgeous, handmade tea pot from artist Hank Murrow that she purchased in Eugene, Oregon for an art gallery she used to intern for.
These crumbly Lemon Thyme bars are tangy and sweet with gorgeous herb flavor from the thyme. It is best served with lemon tea and sympathy.
This recipe is truly a winner. Karen, Shannon, and I had a lovely afternoon gabbing and stuffing our gobs with lemon crumble cake. It is so important to make time in your busy life to spend with your friends. I hope to remember this much more often throughout this year.
Spring “Thyme” Lemon Crumble Cake
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature or half melted, half cut into cubes
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme, chopped
- 1/4 oz can condensed milk, sweetened
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar in a standing mixture until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl down a few times. Stir in vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to mixture and combine. Stir in quick oats and half of your chopped thyme.
Cover a 9″ glass baking dish with a layer of aluminum foil and spray with Pam Baking Spray. Place half of the cookie mixture into your pan and pat down into an even layer.
Stir together condensed milk and lemon juice in a separate bowl then pour mixture over bottom layer of cookie.
Crumble the rest of the cookie dough on top of the cream, leaving some larger chunks. Sprinkle the remainder of the lemon thyme on top of the cake then pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove the cake, with foil from the pan and set on a cooling tray. Cool completely and dust with powder sugar. Cut into equal size squares and serve with lemon tea.
Sit back, sip, munch, and enjoy.