Rosemary-Orange Shortbread Cookies 45.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Aug 26, 2009

Sophisticated yet easy, these are mixed in a food processor and rolled out between paper sheets for fuss-free preparation. The cookies are fragrant, not too sweet and pleasantly crisp; they go beautifully with a dish of summer fruit, berries or citrus sorbet.

If you have cooked with fresh rosemary before, you might suspect that the amount called for here is too much. That quantity might overpower a soup or stew, but rosemary is much milder in baked goods.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Servings: 45 - 55 2 3/4- to 3-inch cookies
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (remove the coarse stems)
  • Grated zest from one small orange (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups flour, plus more if needed
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pats
  • 2 tablespoons orangecello liqueur or orange juice, plus more if needed


In a food processor, process the sugar, rosemary, zest and salt for several minutes, until the sugar has colored and the rosemary is chopped very fine. Add the flour, scraping up the contents at the bottom of the bowl to blend the mixture evenly. Sprinkle the butter over the mixture. Process in pulses until no bits of butter are visible; the dough should not quite be clumping or coming together. Drizzle the Orangecello or orange juice over the mixture. Process using 10 to 15 one-second pulses; stop and stir to scrape up and incorporate the mixture on the bottom as necessary. Stop processing as soon as the mixture begins to come together.

Turn out the dough onto a large sheet of baking parchment or wax paper. Gently knead it just until evenly blended and cohesive. If it is slightly dry or crumbly, gradually knead in 1 or 2 more teaspoons of Orangecello; if it is soft, sprinkle over a tablespoon or so of flour and knead in until slightly firmer.

Divide the dough into thirds. Roll out each portion between sheets of baking parchment or wax paper to a round measuring a generous 1/8-inch thick; be sure the thickness is uniform. Check the undersides and smooth out any wrinkles. Stack the dough portions (paper attached) on a tray or baking sheet. Freeze for at least 10 minutes and up to 24 hours. If the frozen dough is hard, let it warm up and soften just slightly before using.

When ready to bake, place a rack in the middle third of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with baking parchment, or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Working with one dough portion and keeping the others chilled, peel off one of the sheets of paper, then pat it back into place. Invert the dough, then peel off and discard the second sheet. Using a 2 1/2- to 2 3/4-inch (or similar) round or scalloped cutter, cut out the cookies. Use a spatula to transfer them to the lined baking sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, return it to the freezer until it firms up, then continue. Repeat the process with the other portions of dough. Combine the dough scraps and continue rolling, chilling and cutting out until it is all used.

Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack for 5 minutes. Rotate the sheet from front to back and bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cookies are just faintly rimmed with brown; watch carefully, as they brown rapidly near the end of baking. Let the pans cool on wire racks for about 3 minutes, until the cookies firm up, then use a wide spatula to gently transfer the cookies to racks. Cool completely.

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Recipe Source

From cookbook author Nancy Baggett.

Tested by Monica Norton.

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