These Rosemary Shortbread cookies taste deliciously savory with a punch of parmesan and spice. You can serve them on a charcuterie board with nuts, dried fruit, and cheeses, or slather them with homemade chicken liver pâté or potted cheddar.
What is it?
Shortbread is a Scottish pastry made with butter, flour, and sugar. In this version, I’ve swapped the sugar for grated parmesan cheese which gives the shortbread a savory, rather than sweet, flavor. Rosemary gives the shortbread an uplifting note, while cayenne and cracked black pepper lend a pleasant punch of spice.
What’s in it?
At its simplest, shortbread contains three ingredients: wheat flour, butter, and sugar. For this savory version, you’ll skip the sugar, and add plenty of parmesan and rosemary.
- Whole wheat pastry flour gives the shortbread a deeper flavor than all-purpose flour.
- Butter gives shortbread its texture and creamy flavor.
- Parmesan gives the shortbread a savory note.
- Rosemary lends a little brightness.
- Black pepper and cayenne lend a punch of heat that provides balance for the shortbread’s savory and buttery notes.
Which kind of flour?
Whole wheat pastry flour is made from soft white wheat which has a delicate texture, but all the flavor and nutrition of whole-grain flour.
My favorite comes from Bob’s Red Mill both, and you can find it in both stores and online
Shortbread cookies are easy to make, and they typically require only a handful of ingredients and need no leavening agent. There are a few tricks to getting them to come out perfectly every time.
- Use softened butter because it will blend into the flour more easily, resulting in a deliciously crumbly texture that’s so characteristic of good shortbread.
- Mince the rosemary very finely so that it complements the texture of the shortbread.
- Fresh rosemary tastes the best in this recipe because it’s aromatic oils are at their peak. If you only have dried, you can substitute 1 teaspoon.
- Pack the parmesan tightly into your measuring cup before adding it to the food processor.
- Chill the dough in the fridge to prevent the shortbread from spreading.
Rosemary Shortbread Recipe
- ½ cup butter (softened)
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 medium egg yolks
- Rimmed Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Heat the oven to 325 F, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the butter, flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, rosemary, parmesan cheese, and egg yolks to a food processor, and then process the dough until it clumps together. Turn out the dough
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and form it into a ball. Roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness, and then use a cookie cutter to cut out the shortbread. Place the cookies on the lined baking sheet, and refridgerate at least 1 and up to 4 hours.
- Transfer to the oven, and bake the shortbread until cooked through and golden-brown – about 25 minutes.
Try sage and cheddar in place of rosemary and parmesan.
If you’re looking for a sweet rosemary shortbread, swap the parmesan for ½ cup sugar, and then add grated lemon peel in place of black pepper and cayenne.
Try pecorino romano cheese instead of parmesan, it also has a savory, salty edge that pairs nicely with rosemary.