ISSUE 24  |  White Gardens

DIY Recipe: Rosemary Shortbread

June 15, 2015 4:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

I met Blue Bottle Coffee pastry chef Caitlin Freeman when the founder of the wildly successful Miette bakery and sweets shop in San Francisco came to Heath Ceramics to sign her book, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee.

I bought two books for gifts, and waited patiently in line to have them signed to their eventual owners. Co-author James Freeman signed first, and after exchanging the smallest of pleasantries with him, I turned to Caitlin. She looked surprised–she wasn’t the star of this coffee-centric event–and said, “That’s sweet.” We chatted about pastries for the next several minutes because to me, coffee is nice. But baking is something I can believe in.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes from the book:

Olive Oil and Rosemary Shortbread


  • 1 cup (8 ounces/ 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sifted (4.1 ounces/ 115 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 to 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups sifted (9.9ounces/ 280 g) all-purpose flour
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, rosemary, and salt, and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix on medium speed until lighter in color and the texture resembles mayonnaise, from four to five minutes. 

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour. Mix on low speed just until uniform in texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on low speed for one minute. 

Gather the dough into a ball, transfer to a piece of plastic wrap, cover with a second piece of plastic wrap, and flatten to form a rectangle measuring 7 by 10 inches (18 by 25 centimeters) and about 1/2 inch (1.3 centimeters) thick. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least three hours and up to five days. 

Above: The recipe calls for the shortbread to be cut into rectangles, but I had round biscuit cutters and wanted the cookies the same size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you want square corners, cut the dough into small rectangles measuring 1 by 2 inches (2.5 by 5 centimeters), and place the cookies on the lined baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) apart. Bake for about 18 minutes, until golden around the edges, rotating the pan midway through the baking time. 

Brush the tops with olive oil as soon as the cookies come out of the oven. Let cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing, then let cool completely before serving for optimal texture. Cooled completely and stored in an airtight container, the cookies will keep for up to 3 days. 

Published by Ten Speed Press, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee is $13.17 on Amazon. 

For more herb-infused recipes, see: