rosemary shortbread . . .

by mulberryshoots

DSCN0432

For Christmas, I made a batch of rosemary shortbread. The squares disappeared quickly and my granddaughter, who’s graduating from college said, “These are delicious – and I don’t even like rosemary!”

It’s so simple to make if you have a food processor. If you don’t it’s difficult to combine the cold butter with the flour by hand. The dough is crumbly and is basically pressed gently into a square baking dish with your fingers. Here are the steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. If you use dark metal non-stick pans, turn the heat only to 315.
  2. In a Cuisinart or other food processor, cut 2 sticks of cold butter into pieces and put in the bowl. Measure 2/3 cup of granulated sugar and add. Using a spoon, lightly fill 2 cups of flour into measuring cup, making sure the flour isn’t packed. The secret to making tender shortbread is the ratio of flour to fat – and if there’s too much flour, the shortbread comes out hard rather than tender.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, torn from the stalks and chopped up with a knife.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Sprinkle in a couple of rounds of high quality honey.
  6. Pulse the mixture until the butter is in small bits in a coarse flour mixture. It won’t really congeal into a ball so don’t overmix it trying to do that.
  7. Take an 8 inch square pan and sprinkle the mixture into the pan, pressing it down gently with your fingers. Take a fork and prick it in rows before putting in the oven.
  8. Bake until the shortbread turns golden brown all over. I rotate the pan every once in awhile to ensure that it browns evenly. 35-45 minutes.
  9. IMPORTANT: when you take it out of the oven, prick it in rows again with a fork. Before it cools completely, cut into squares. If you wait until it’s cold, it will be too hard to cut well.
  10. When the shortbread is completely cool, I like to warm servings slightly in the microwave – which makes them very tender to the bite. Up to you, but it’s tasty when they’re slightly warmed.

P.S.  The batch in this photo was made in a 9-inch square pan with 3 sticks of butter, 3 cups of flour, 1 cup sugar and 1.5 tablespoons of rosemary, 2 teaspoons salt and a little more honey. The important thing is to maintain the ratio of 1:1 for butter to flour, adjusting the other ingredients accordingly.