Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies – A Unique Holiday Appetizer

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This week for French Fridays with Dorie, I am early! That’s right – already done with the cooking and post and it’s only Tuesday. The recipe selection this week is free choice. Just pick anything from Around My French Table that you want to prepare for the holidays. My choice was inspired by the book, is a Dorie recipe, and has been adapted slightly to become these earthy, citrusy delights.

Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies

Ever since I purchased Around My French Table, I’ve been intrigued by the cocktail cookie recipe called Sablés. Dorie explains that this recipe is from David Lebovitz, a famous chef and blogger who now lives and works in Paris. Along the lines of savory cocktail cookies, Dorie was recently featured in Food and Wine, writing about her sweet and savory creations including a recipe for Apricot Tarragon Cookies. This inspired my friend Carol Sacks of the blog In Medias Recipe to write a beautiful post about this intriguing wine/cocktail accompaniment.

After finishing my Thanksgiving menu last week which includes a Clementhyme Sparkle Cocktail (by Chef Kathy Casey and Cuties Citrus), these savory cookies popped into mind with the idea of using orange zest and thyme to mimic the cocktail. I sent a tweet to Carol and Dorie to see what they thought of the combination and received encouragement to give it a try.

So that I did over the weekend, using the Apricot Tarragon recipe as a base. I just left out the apricot, and replaced the two tablespoons of tarragon with one tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme and one tablespoon of freshly grated orange zest. And wow – I am sold on this concept and the combination. Crispy, fragrant, buttery but light at the same time. As @dormantchef said, people will take one to see what it is and then want to repeat many times over. My two teens gobbled them up almost before I could take the photos!

The recipe is on Food and Wine and In Medias Recipe and here is my adaptation with the orange and thyme:

Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies

Ready to infuse orange zest and thyme into sugar

Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies

Sugar after orange zest and thyme have been rubbed in

Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies
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Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies

Surprise your guests with a cookie appetizer! Pair it with a cocktail and you'll look like a genius. The dough can be made ahead, rolled out between wax or parchment paper, and frozen so you all you have to do is bake them for your big day.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine French
Keyword cocktail cookie, orange, thyme
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 60 cookies
Calories 46 kcal
Author Beth Lee


  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (1 medium orange)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Remove the thyme leaves from the stalk and chop the thyme finely.
  2. Zest the orange using a microplane grater, if you have one.
  3. In a small bowl, rub the thyme and zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and aromatic.
  4. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the orange thyme sugar at low speed until creamy. Beat in the egg yolk until just combined, about 1 minute. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and beat until smooth. Add the salt and flour and beat until just incorporated.

  5. Turn the cookie dough out onto a work surface and knead until it just comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper or parchment to about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the wax paper–covered disks onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until very firm.

  6. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of cookie dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out the cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

  7. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until they are lightly golden; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. (if your dough, as mine was, is a little thinner than 1/4 inch, reduce the cooking time by about half)

Recipe Notes

MAKE AHEAD — The rolled-out frozen cookie dough can be wrapped in plastic and kept frozen for 2 weeks. The baked cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies

Cookies dough ready to be put on work surface


Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies

Cookie dough ready to be rolled out


Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies

Cookies ready to go in oven

Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies

Be sure to check out the French Fridays with Dorie web site after you’ve survived Thanksgiving Day and put Dorie Greenspan’s award-winning cookbook Around My French Table on your Christmas or Hannukah wish list!  You will cherish the gift and learn from each recipe and story that she shares. And don’t forget to visit In Medias Recipe’s post and Dorie’s article in Food and Wine.

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31 Responses to Orange Thyme Cocktail Cookies – A Unique Holiday Appetizer

  1. Tarrah December 19, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    I made these for a GNO potluck appetizer night and they were a hit!

  2. Ginny Marie November 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    These cookies look so good! I think I need to try them for Christmas.

  3. Susan November 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    These look incredible! What a winning flavor combination.

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      I knew I had a winner when my teenagers gobbled them up too. May try lemon and thyme for the next batch.

  4. Alice November 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Your the first I have seen that has made the sables that Dorie or David have talked about, they look great! I still have to hold back on mixing herbs and citrus myself, but this makes me more interested to try them!

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      Be sure to check out the article on Food and Wine and In Medias Recipe blog for more fun versions.

  5. sanyaliving November 27, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    Your cookies look absolutely pretty and perfect!
    Your combination sounds delicious!

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

      Thanks – for my next batch I bought round cookie cutters with a fluted edge – it made them even prettier 🙂

  6. Steph I November 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Wow, your cookies are perfect! Lovely work.

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

      Thanks — fun to make and even more fun to eat.

  7. Mike November 26, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Wow…what beautiful cookies, and thyme! So glad you enjoyed these…it’s hard not to love cookies – even with cocktails!

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

      It was a fun addition to my usual appetizer fare and the leftovers are not going to waste 🙂

  8. Cher November 26, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    Beautiful combination – definitely worth the experimentation. And perfect for any holiday gathering (or a tea time treat for the cook)

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      Yes – I was just commenting above about eating them with tea – the would really be lovely – in fact – I’m inspired to do just that when I’m done answering comments. Thanks for always popping by Cher! Such a great member of FFWD!

  9. andrea janssen November 26, 2011 at 5:30 am #

    I love your cookies, they look delicious. And what a great idea to enhance the recipe to the cocktail. This is certainly an adaptation I’m going to remember.

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

      It was fun to switch things up and serve cookies as an appetizer. Fun fun fun. Give it a try but I must say the cookies would be just as fabulous with an afternoon cup of tea.

  10. Elin November 26, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Lovely cookies and after seeing all the dishes Doristas have come up with, I really have no regrets buying Dorie’s book 🙂 I shall try this out definitely …orange and great combo 🙂 Have a nice weekend!

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

      The AMFT book is really wonderful – savory and sweet. Dorie’s writing of recipes just draws you into her kitchen and the effort she puts into preparing and testing her recipes has been evident so far in the ones I’ve cooked.

  11. Sandy Corman November 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    the end result for the cookies looks very good. I will certainly try one.

  12. CorkAndSpoon November 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Very pretty! My blogging partner, Emilie,made lavender and also sage flavored cookies not too long ago. I never would have thought to use these traditionally savory herbs in cookies if it weren’t for folks like you two. I’m so glad it’s the holidays. I won’t have to eat everything I bake until New Years! ~Ruth~

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

      It was Dorie Greenspan, David Lebovitz, and Carol Sacks that inspired me but that’s what’s so great about blogs and social media. We have a chance to learn from and inspire each other all over the world! Enjoy all of your holiday baking!

  13. Carol Sacks November 22, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Beth, those cookies look so lovely; delicate and perfect for a holiday celebration. I’m definitely going to give your recipe a go. And, thank you so much for the mention. Have a terrific holiday — let’s cook soon!

    • omgyummy November 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

      You and Dorie inspired me and I must admit – they came out terrific. Might have to try lemon and thyme next time (no pun intended). And yes, let’s bake soon. And I’ll be waiting to hear every detail from the cookie exchange!

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