Tuscan Rosemary and Pine Nut Bars 16.000

Jonathan Ernst for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2009 Dec 9, 2009

The melted butter in this recipe coats the flour, which prevents tough gluten strands from forming. The confectioners' sugar helps keep these bars tender.

Make Ahead: The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Servings: 16 cookies
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Leaves from 1 to 2 sprigs rosemary, minced (1 tablespoon; may substitute 2 teaspoons dried rosemary)
  • 1 cup flour


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake/toast for about 5 minutes, stirring them once or twice, until they become fragrant and golden. Watch carefully; they burn easily. Have an 8-inch square baking pan at hand; for easy extraction, the pan may be lined with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over 2 of the sides.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the confectioners' sugar, rosemary and pine nuts, stirring to incorporate. Add the flour and mix in to form a stiff dough.

Pat the dough evenly into the (ungreased) baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and firm at the edges. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for about 2 minutes, then use a sharp knife to carefully score/cut the shortbread into 16 squares. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan and making further cuts to serve or store.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Melanie Barnard's "Short & Sweet" (Houghton Mifflin, 1995).

Tested by Lois Baron.

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Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.