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Lemon & Rosemary Shortbread Cookies with Sea Salt

June 25, 2015

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Several months ago, I found myself enjoying a {borderline concerning} addiction to shortbread cookies. While I’ve embraced a long-standing appreciation for cookies of all flavors and varieties, shortbread always just seemed too… plain.  After sampling a particularly buttery batch sold at a local market, however… I realized how misguided I had been.  Shortbread isn’t uninteresting or boring because of its simplicity… it’s simplicity, I now understand, is what makes it so darn amazing.


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One of the most beautiful things about shortbread is its versatility. With butter and sugar representing 95% of its flavor profile, it’s easily adaptable to fun flavor additions such as lavender, lemon, chocolate, espresso, cinnamon, or your personal preference of fruits or herbs.


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For my first batch ever, I decided to take advantage of the rosemary plant that is part of my makeshift *garden* on the fire escape outside of my bedroom window (welcome to city living, folks).  I also always have lemons on hand and incorporate them into anything I possibly can, so I was naturally looking to complement the earthy rosemary with the fresh pop of citrus.


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Having never attempted shortbread, I Googled a few recipes online including one from Two Peas & Their Pod that featured the exact flavor profile I had in mind.  I then did what I often do when working with a new recipe, and used it as more of a guide while tweaking it here and there to align with my gut instincts of what would work. (In full disclosure, my “gut instincts” are less driven by experience than acute & random hunger cravings).


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Luckily, this time my guesstimates were right on the mark… and these cookies swiftly became my new favorite staple. While they aren’t as thick or crumbly as many other varieties, I think they are perfect in their own beautiful way… and received enough positive feedback from taste testers to lead me to believe that this recipe should be left as is.


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I hope that you have as much fun making them as I did… and that your tastebuds are pleasantly dazzled by their salty, buttery goodness!



2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tsp Maldon salt flakes, plus more for sprinkling

2 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest

3 tbsp freshly pressed lemon juice

1 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary

1 tbsp vanilla extract



In a small to medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 tsp Maldon salt flakes, lemon zest and rosemary

Using a stand mixer, beat the powdered sugar and butter at a medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth

With the mixer still going, slowly add the vanilla and lemon juice

Once the liquids are thoroughly mixed in, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until all ingredients are combined

Remove the dough and place on plastic wrap, forming it into a round, flat disk.  Wrap the disk and refrigerate for at least 1 hour

When dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Remove dough and set on a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it’s about a quarter inch thick (add flour to the rolling pin and top of the dough when needed, sparingly)

Using a cookie cutter of choice, cut the cookies and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Combine the remaining dough scraps and roll out as many times as necessary to use all of the dough

Before putting cookies into the oven, sprinkle them lightly with additional Maldon sea salt flakes

Bake cookies for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack


**Makes 2 dozen or more cookies (using a 2 inch cutter)

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