Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Baking - Rosemary Shortbreads

Christmas means it's time for holiday baked goods to be made and shared.   I have my regulars that I make each year like my sister's Bourbon Balls., fudge, and iced sugar cookies in Christmas themed shapes.  Aunt Bill's Brown Candy is another Christmas tradition but I'm not making it this year because it's easier to make with an extra pair of hands; which I couldn't muster up.

In addition to the Bourbon Balls, I made fudge, chocolate peanut clusters, Orange Date Nut Cookies, Poinsettia Sugar Cookies and Rosemary Shortbread.

I want to share the Rosemary Shortbread with you.  This is a new cookie for me this year.   I love shortbread because it's easy to make and it's not over the top sweet and rich like so many other cookies.  You can bake it in fancy shapes cut from cookie cutters or just slice it into squares, rectangles or triangles.

The addition of fresh rosemary piqued my curiosity.  Rosemary always smells good when cooking with it but there is something different about it when mixed with sugar and butter.  I was revelling in the subtle aroma that filled the kitchen when Lovey walked through and asked if I was making sausage and biscuits.  Wha?????  My olfactory senses weren't picking up on that one at all.

The recipe called for 1/2 cup butter but the dough was clearly not coming together.  I added 2 more Tbsp. of softened butter to the dough and that seemed to do the trick.

The original recipe also called for 2 Tbsp. of minced fresh rosemary.  I felt it was way too much rosemary in relation to the amount of dough so I used 1 Tbsp. instead.   Didn't want to feel like I was eating grass in my cookies.

You can make them in any shape.  I used a small Christmas bell cookie cutter.  I think a snowflake cookie cutter would make a nice shape as well.

This is a cookie that need not be delegated to Christmas alone.  It would make a great tea biscuit any time of the year.

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Christmas Cookies published by Oxmoor House
Yield 1 dozen

1/2  cup + 2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

Mise en place:
  • allow butter to soften to room temperature and place in mixing bowl
  • preheat oven to 325°F.
  • measure out powdered sugar
  • measure out flour
  • mince rosemary
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating well.

Gradually add flour to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Gently stir in rosemary.

Roll dough to 1/4 - inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Cut with a 2-inch cookie cutter, place cutouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at for 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

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