Monday, December 14, 2009

Rosemary shortbread Christmas tree cookies

I found this recipe a few months ago and thought it sounded really interesting. I decided that I wanted to try it out for my Christmas cookies this year. Since the cookies contain rosemary, I thought that they would be ideal to make into the shape of pine trees, too. The rosemary looks like pine needles and the smell sort of reminds me of pine. I think they are a unique cookie and something different to try for this Christmas. All but one person gave these cookies a positive review at our family Christmas gathering. They are a nice change from all the super sweet cookies and smell really good, too. The rosemary flavor improves and becomes stronger after a couple of days. 

This recipe will make approximately 2-1/2 dozen cookies. The dough is fragile, so be careful when transferring these cookies to and from the baking sheets and cooling racks.

Rosemary shortbread Christmas tree cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (unbleached, unbromated preferred)
white sugar or white sugar crystals for sprinkling, optional 

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, salt and rosemary until well blended. The dough will be somewhat soft and crumbly. Bring the dough together into a ball and pat into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness (the dough may be difficult to roll until it sits out for a few minutes  - I like to do half at a time). Cut into trees using a cookie cutter (or any shape you choose). Place cookies 1 inch apart on the lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the decorating sugar, if using.

Bake for about 6-9 minutes until just golden on the edges. Carefully remove using a spatula because the cookies are fragile. Cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container. 

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