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Sweet & Salty Herbed Shortbread

Herbs. They're pretty much the only thing that my garden is producing at the moment. Other things are happening, I eagerly picked the first mess of peas just yesterday, but mostly the only edibles in abundance are herbs. As much as the slow waiting game for veggies irritates me, there is something kind of sweet about having some time to focus on the plants that are so often used as garnish or in other supporting roles. If you too have a variety of herbs and are wondering what to do with them, perhaps you might like this crushed-herb pasta , this parsley & mint pesto, or this sage cocktail.

I stumbled upon this recipe over at Food 52; I just love that site and also recently discovered their excellent podcast, Burnt Toast. What I like most about this recipe is that I'm pretty sure it's fool proof. It was a cinch to make and produced an impressive little treat. Both salty and sweet, each bite has a rich buttery taste with a delicate, crumbly texture. If you're ever in a pinch for something decadent, this recipe should make your short list.

I've now made this recipe twice; I can't get enough of them! Note that you can use an 8 or a 9 inch pan, they both work well, just keep on eye on the cookies after the 20 minute marker.

Sweet & Salty Herbed Shortbread

1cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp, plus 1 tsp sugar

2 tsp packed with finely chopped fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, etc.)

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (or use salted and use half the salt above)

Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat it to 350° F. Sift the flour and salt into a medium bowl. In a small bowl, use your fingers to gently rub together 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the chopped herbs (this will help release the oils). Whisk this mixture into the flour.

Cut up the butter into chunks and add it to the flour, stirring with a fork to make a soft dough. Gently pat the dough into a 9-inch round or square baking pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork and sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of sugar evenly over the dough.

Bake the shortbread for 20 to 30 minutes, until it is golden and no longer looks at all wet. Using a very sharp knife, score into fingers, squares or wedges while it is still quite warm, and let it cool completely in the pan before separating the pieces.

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