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My Love Affair With Rosemary Shortbread

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My love affair with crispy, buttery, ridiculously-easy-to-make shortbread is fairly recent. It's probably only in the last year that I've discovered how fast these little cookies come together and how fun it is to play around with different flavours.

This version has just a hint a rosemary and originally started out as a crust for a tart I was working on which was a sour-sweet combination of Italian prune plums and rosemary shortbread. I baked a number of tarts for testing and shooting and noticed that even after I had tasted a piece I would end up picking at the crust every time I walked by until all my tarts were edge-less and looked like they had been attacked by mice.

Nibbling at baked goods that have been left on my counter isn't that unusual. The kitchen is a dangerous place for plates of cookies and slices of cake. What was different this time was that it didn't matter how many tarts I made, I never got tired of the rosemary crust. Ever.

The only reasonable thing to do to ensure that my tarts would have un-nibbled on crusts long enough to photograph them was to make a double batch of the shortbread dough for the next tart and use the extra for a tray of rosemary shortbread cookies.

Instead of messing around with forming a log or trying to roll the dough between parchment paper I just popped it in a large freezer bag, folded it in half, and rolled the dough out to an even height. Then the dough chilled out in the freezer until it was firm which makes it easier to slice into cookies and also helps the cookies keep their shape in the oven.

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After only 10 minutes of baking I had rosemary shortbread that I could snack on guilt-free (well... considering how many I've eaten I'm not sure that it counts as guilt-free any more).

Shortbread dough keeps well in the freezer so you can make a couple of batches of dough and have them on hand and ready to slice and bake in the freezer so that freshly baked cookies are never more than 10 minutes away!

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Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter softened
1/3 cup (45g) icing sugar
½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 ¼ (195g) cup flour
¼ tsp salt

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the softened butter and 1/3 cup icing sugar until completely combined. Stir in the rosemary until evenly distributed. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and stir until the mixture looks crumbly. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture into a ball which will help bring it all together and ensure that there is no flour left unmixed into the butter.

2. Place the dough in the bottom half of a large freezer bag. Fold the empty half over the dough half and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to an even height. Place the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up
Preheat oven to 350

3. Remove the dough from freezer and freezer bag and slice into 20 cookies. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until the edges are starting to to turn golden. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire tray before serving.

Tips: Make sure your butter is very soft, it will make mixing the dough together much easier and help you avoid areas of crumbly dough.

You can bake these cookies fairly close together on a tray because they do not spread.

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