Rosemary makes these butter cookies memorable. The piney crispness of the rosemary combined with a sugary butter dough creates a savory/sweet tea cookie that works for an afternoon snack or a light dessert. Give these cookies as a holiday hostess gift.
A word about rosemary: Do not use dried rosemary in these cookies! In fact, don’t use dried rosemary anywhere, except perhaps in a floral wreath or tablescape. Grow rosemary and keep it all year! Plants will winter over in warmer gardening zones, and they thrive indoors in colder climates. Dried rosemary has a dusty flavor and the texture of pointy dried pine needles. If you can’t find fresh rosemary and you still want to make herbal butter cookies, try these thyme and cornmeal tea cookies instead.
If you can’t find sanding sugar, then skip the final step before baking. Sanding sugar is a coarse, clear sugar that doesn’t melt in the oven. It gives finished cookies a bit of sparkle and sugary crunch. Regular sugar will just melt into the cookie, which isn’t worth the trouble of sprinkling it on top.
This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sanding sugar to finish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, rosemary and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix well at medium speed. On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Divide dough in half. On a floured board, roll each half into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll up each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (dough can be made ahead and held overnight).
Slice each log into 1/4″ thick cookies and lay them on the cookie sheet about an inch apart. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of sanding sugar.
Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes, turning the cookie sheets halfway through cooking. Cool and store in airtight container. Cookies will keep for 1-2 weeks.
These cookies make a memorable hostess or holiday gift from the garden. Package them as a stack in cellophane or a pretty tin lined with wax paper. Tie the package with ribbon and a sprig of rosemary to hint at these butter cookies’ herbaceous nature.