Friday, December 14, 2012
Rosemary Walnut Shortbread
This rosemary walnut shortbread is a bit different from the usual holiday cookie, which is typically very sweet and bedazzed with sparkles and frosting. I like them because as much as I adore cookies and fudge and cake, as I've gotten a bit older, I crave something less sweet after dinner. These are nice because they are still a little sweet, have a lovely slightly sandy texture from the sugars and ground walnuts, and are really nice to eat one after another with the remnants of whatever was in your wine glass or a nice tumbler of cognac.
Normally I fashion these into logs and do the slice and bake thing, preferring the round, minimalist cookie to something more adorable. But today it seems like what the world really needs is love. So hearts there are, dozens and dozens of hearts.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon raw sugar for sprinkles - optional but lovely
Preheat oven to 300
Whisk flour, nuts, rosemary, and salt. Place butter and sugars in a bowl. Mix on medium speed until light, about three minutes. Mix in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together and is smooth, about three minutes.
Turn out dough into parchment and fashion into a 1/2 inch thick log (if you want slice and bake shortbread) or a disc (if you want to roll and cut cookies). Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes, or place in freezer for a week.
Before baking, remove dough from fridge or freezer and let it warm up just a bit. Slice into cookies or roll out and use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle with raw sugar and bake until just golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Makes about two and a half dozen cookies.
Here's a tip: As I said above, I typically fashion the dough into logs and pop them into the freezer in early December. When I'm ready to start my holiday baking, the dough is finished and ready to go -- all I have to do is slice and go (and maybe add 2+ minutes to the bake time if the dough is really frozen).
Another tip, just because: These cookies are a fantastic hostess/neighbor/yoga teacher/bookstore owner gift. I like to wrap mine in small boxes or little cellophane bags. Tying them up with that sweet red & white baker's twine is a must.