Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread Recipe

A twist on the shortbread recipe I included in my book -perfectly golden pine nuts and just enough rosemary and lemon zest to infuse the buttery sweet dough with fragrance and flavor.

Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread

As promised, here is the pine nut & rosemary shortbread recipe I used for my latest batch of holiday cookies. Shortbread dough - a simple blend of butter, sugar, flour and salt is a wonderful canvas on which to explore different flavor combinations. I included a chunky, ginger version in Super Natural Cooking. This version is a bit different, it incorporates perfectly golden, slightly chopped pine nuts and just enough rosemary and lemon zest to infuse the buttery sweet dough with their fragrance and flavor.

Don't get me wrong, I love plain, simple, straight-forward shortbread cookies (ever-so-slightly over baked), but I also can't help adding a pinch of this and a dash of that to my cookie dough. I want to bake an ever so subtle lavender sea salt version at some point, I was also thinking a saffron-scented shortbread would be lovely as well.

In case shortbread isn't your thing here is a list of other holiday cookies:

- Peppermint Bark Cookies
- Triple Chocolate Espresso Bean Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
- Minty Chocolate Christmas Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookies

Off to wrap some presents, hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season. Try to stay warm, I know many of you are experiencing terrible weather. If you're after a recipe for classic shortbread cookies, this is a hard to beat. And there are dozens of cookie recipes to explore beyond that! Happy baking all.

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Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread Recipe

2 cups white whole-wheat flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
scant teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (natural cane) sugar
zest of one lemon
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and loosely chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Combine flour and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

In a separate large bowl or stand mixer cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix again, then add the flour mixture, nuts, and rosemary and mix until the dough goes just past the crumbly stage, and begins to really clump together (you don't want to over mix, but under mixing will make the dough seem a bit dry, which can make it difficult to handle). Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough just once or twice to bring it together, then divide it into a ball and flatten into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper of a Silpat mat. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into whatever shapes you desire, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sometimes I chill the dough in the freezer for another 10 minutes, it seems to help the cookies hold their shape - but you don't have to. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are beginning to brown on the bottom. The baking time will vary depending on the size of the cookies, taking less time for smaller cookies.

Makes about 2 dozen small cookies.

Variation: use chopped raw or toasted walnuts and 1 tablespoon coarsely ground coffee in place of the lemon, pine nuts, and rosemary.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Pam, next time mix the dough for just a bit longer, that will help you move past the crumble stage, this should remedy your problem. If your dough is still to dry for you to comfortably handle (some flours are drier, behave differently than others) mix in a tiny splash of milk. You shouldn’t have to, but in a pinch thats an easy way to get dry dough to behave a bit better. Best, -Heidi
than others,


The recipe was fantastic – I loved the cookies, as did everyone who received a platter of baked goods from me, and I will be making these again. Next time I might use even a bit more lemon and/or rosemary. But – I was totally not able to produce a dough that could actually be rolled out, much less cut with a cookie cutter, and was wondering if anyone else was able to do that. The first time, after repeated fruitless attempts to roll out the dough, I ended up out of necessity just scooping it by the teaspoon-ful and rolling it in my hands for a basic drop-shaped cookie. The second time, again after numerous unsuccessful (and frustrating) attempts to roll it out, I simply pressed it into an 8 x 8 pan and scored it, for shortbread bars. Both times came out fine, but I was kind of disappointed not to be able to produce the cute little snowmen … :->.


mmm, rosemary shortbread! i held a charity bake sale this summer, and Large Marge Sustainables, an awesome local organic caterer (local to me, here in LA, as well as local in how they source their food products), contributed rosemary shortbread. it didn’t look quite as pretty as yours — a little more homespun — but, wow, the herby flavor of the rosemary cut the richness in an amazingly delicious way!


Congratulations on winning Food Blog of the Year!


I love using savory herbs in desserts – they always add a nice surprise. And how cute are these gingerbread men!

Wicked Good Dinner

An addition thans for the other cookie recipes. The Chocolate Espresso are my kind of cookie:)


Congratulations on winning the Food Blog award!! These shortbread cookies are adorable—I especially like the pine nut addition!


Great looking Shortbread, Heidi.
Love the new layout too.


I just made these, and they are great! There’s just a touch of savoriness from the herb and salt, but otherwise, buttery, just sweet enough and the right amount of crumble. They’re getting added to the xmas cookie list!

Elizabeth Zaffarano

Last time we had a shortbread recipe someone mentioned adding sage. Any idea how much you would use of fresh sage? Another mention was sambucca. I never know how much is too much/not enough.


I love your idea of adding herbs and other non-traditional fragrances to your cookie batter. I bet the combination of pine nuts and sage may also be worth a try.
Congratulations on winning the food blog of the year award— it’s definitely a well-deserved distinction!!


Oh, I forgot! Just made the Hearst Castle Shortbread, but with Meyer lemon and Clementine zest (and passion fruit extract – I was out of lemon). Delicious!


I’ve tried these and they are delicious! Also good: saffron and cardamom – reminiscent of my mom’s (ie, real) chai.


I’ve made shortbread adding some chinese five-spice powder – delicious and fragrant!


I can’t wait to try these!
There’s a saffron pistachio shortbread recipe in the The New Spanish Table that looks really good.


I make something similar, minus the sugar, plus freshly grated Parmesan and a pinch of cayenne, and in addition to it’s pure awesomeness just as a plain cookie/biscuit/cracker thingy, it makes a fantastic crust for savory tarts, particularly mushroom.


this sounds so good — i can’t quite tell whether it would be sweet or savory from the recipe, but i think it would be delicious either way. love the picture!


Lovely recipe, nice Italian flavors combined with shortbread – thank you!


I just wanted to say Congratulations to the FBA, you deserve it!


My mother always added a drop of anise oil to hers at Christmas, lemon extract the rest of the year.
I’ve never made them but am tempted with this whole wheat version!


I will make these today with some of the leftover rosemary from my garden, still hanging out in vases around my kitchen! Thanks, Heidi!


The problem with living in Scotland (if one accepts the loosest definition of “problem” possible) is that many female elderly neighbours and relatives make the most divine shortbread imaginable. It’s slightly intimidating!
Am very tempted to try out this version though. 🙂


I love these tasty little combinations! I would love to try this and maybe one with some lemon zest and thyme. =)


oh, yum.


so cute biscuit~

YOYO Cooking

so cute biscuit~

YOYO Cooking

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