Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread

I only have one cookie cutter. It’s shaped like a dog bone. I bought it for a book club function — we bring foods that can be linked back to the book; this time it was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night and I was going to make dog-bone cookies. And then I didn’t.

So, when I was overtaken by the impulse to make Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread, I realized they were going to be dog-bone shaped.

Or so I thought.

It’s no wonder I was drawn to this recipe. Rosemary? Sugar? It was going to be like the Barefoot Contessa’s Rosemary Cashews, but in cookie form. What could be better? And, there is no doubt, this recipe was a winner.

The stars of the show

But it wasn’t without its problems. Shortbread and I don’t get along. Once again, the dough absolutely shattered into pea-sized bits when I added the flour. I squished it into a ball and then two flat disks before putting it in the fridge, but when it came to rolling it out, it was a no go. Instead, I squished it back into logs and sliced it. I definitely liked the thicker slices better and would not hesitate to make them again this way. But, next time, I will take my mum’s advice and let the butter get so warm it’s almost sloppy before attempting this recipe. Apparently, I am too impatient when it comes to letting the butter get to room temperature and it was likely too cold when I started.

So, there were no dog-bone shaped shortbread cookies. Perhaps next time. Or perhaps not. It doesn’t matter, frankly, what shape these are, just as long as they get made.

This recipe comes from Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks. I’ve made a few changes, namely doubling the rosemary and using all-purpose flour. I am considering making this next time with brown sugar, just to see what that would be like.

Chopped ingredients for shortbread

Butter and lemon zest

Chilled dough

Sliced and ready

Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread

Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (seriously)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and loosely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Mix flour and salt in a small bowl, using whisk to combine.

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and lemon zest, then beat again. Add flour mixture, nuts and rosemary and mix until the dough goes just past the crumbly stage and begins to clump together (Heidi’s words, not mine, obviously, because mine never got past this stage). Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead once or twice to bring it together. Divide into two balls and flatted into disks about one inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. My way: squish into logs about one inch in diameter. Roll in plastic wrap and then refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment. If you went with the log method, slice into 1/4 inch rounds and place on baking sheet. (Some of mine were thicker than this and I liked them better.)  If you have a disk, roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and place on baking sheet. Either way, bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden.

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  1. It still amazes me that you seem to think you and shortbread are at odds. And yet, I find myself commenting for the second time about your self-proclaimed hatred of shortbread…
    the truth is, darling, that while you seem to think you don’t get along, you can’t be apart for long either…
    Great photos, glad they aren’t bone shaped…

  2. Hey Gwendolyn,

    I bemoaned my own lack of cookie cutters for a long, long time too, grabbing all types of lids and whatnot to make due. Then one day I happened to be in Value Village and found a huge bag of assorted cutters (small and big round ones, Santa shapes, reindeer, you name it) for like $2. Maybe hit up a few thrift stores, because the compilation bags make it super-duper easy to suddenly have various types on hand.

    By the way, I love your blog. Keep posting — I lurk on here for recipes all the time. The Earl Grey Cupcakes were a HUGE hit at my office, too.

    Hope all is well and have a happy New Year,

  3. It looks like you and shortbread are chumming along just fine. They look fantastic! Beautiful photos.
    Happy new year!!

  4. Could I just forego all formality and ask you to just send me a case of these babies!? Flour and I have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship, so I stick to meat and taters! Oh, but I might have to face my fear on this one..these look/sound delicious, as is your blog!

  5. Suggestions…
    Take a basic shortbread recipe & add the contents of 3 or 4 tea bags. Dear Husband loves shortbread made with Celestial Seasons Mandarin Green Tea Decaf. One of my favorites was to simply add Peppermint Tea. An all time favorite is candied ginger shortbread (yum! also contains ground white pepper, sounds freaky but it’s fabulous) – recipe from an OLD issue of Martha Stewart’s Living.

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