Rosemary and Lemon Shortbread

There was one element of our recent eco-lunch at the Diggers Club cafe that slipped through my camera’s grasp: the mini thyme shortbread biscuits served alongside our teas + coffees after our meal. Sweet, buttery squares with a hit of savory herbs. It’s a combination I’ve seen before but never eaten, and one I was inspired to recreate in my own kitchen.

We grow fresh herbs in a small greenhouse on our balcony and in various pots along the windowsill. We don’t currently have thyme, but our rosemary is thriving (after being on the brink for a while) and begging to be used. I love earthy rosemary lightened with lemon in savory dishes, and thought they would make a nice pair in this modified shortbread that I so enjoyed at Heronswood.

It’s a beautifully simple recipe that comes together in about 10 minutes, bakes in 20 minutes, and makes 30 or so cookies. The rosemary and lemon accents are subtle, and just enough to add intrigue and flecks of unexpected color to this classic treat. I highly suggest dipping them in your coffee. Or, crumble them roughly and layer between vanilla custard and sliced bananas for a twist on the usual pudding.

Base adapted from
250g butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain/all-purpose flour
1/2 cup custard powder (or 1/4 cup cornflour)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely diced
Zest of 2 lemons
Preheat oven to 160 C / 300 F. Line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
Using an electric or stand mixer, cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes or until smooth and pale yellow. Add the flour and custard powder, mixing to loosely combine. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead gently together for 1 minute until the dough comes together. 
Roll out the dough on a floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, to about 1/2″ thickness. Cut out your favorite shapes with cookie cutters or cups (I used a small cup and pressed a fork into the edges to create a sun pattern), re-rolling and re-using the batter until finished.
Place the cookies on the baking sheet, and bake 20 minutes or until very light brown (they can overcook quickly – take them out of the oven when they just start to turn golden). Store in an airtight container or zipper bag.

  • Erin

    I made shortbread for the first time the other day, this sounds wonderful. I love the idea of rosemary and lemon together!

  • Anna @ TheLittlestAnchovy

    Ooh what a beautiful combination! These look so lovely and buttery. I love your idea to crumble them with banana and custard.

  • Kimmy

    This recipe sounds easy to make! I’m gonna try it once I move into my new house, maybe I can offer them to my new neighbours :)

    Thanks for sharing

    accidental encounters

  • Tina

    I think shortbread is just the perfect cookie for tea time! The pictures are stunning and the flavor combination sounds divine. Yum!

  • Pacheco Patty

    I love the look of your shortbread;-). I wonder if rice flour could be subbed in for the corn flour. Rosemary and lemon sound so good in a shortbread cookie.

  • PFx

    Rosemary and lemon are combination to complement something else I think; like a comforting cup of tea on picture there. Then, you’ve got the perfect afternoon lined up :)

  • Gifts By Katherine

    yummmmm :-) Hugs

  • Katherines Corner

    Rosemary cookies, how delightful. They look delish. I can’t wait to make these. Wishing you a day filled with Happy!

  • Candace

    I love shortbread so much and that you’ve combined these with rosemary and lemon make yours extra special. As always, Yasmeen, your photography is fantastic. You inspire me!

  • A New Creation

    Yummy – the food and the photographs – Beautiful. I can’t wait to have more time to come back and really take a look at your wonderful blog!

  • OohLookBel

    I love herby biscuits, and yours look gorgeous (all that butter probably has a lot to do with it!)

  • Sanjeeta kk

    Thanks Yasmeen for coming to my turn I found out this lovely blog! The shortbread looks so crisp and crumbly. Rosemary in it must have been a good flavor.

  • Radhika@foodfor7stages

    That is one delectable marriage. Looks beautiful

  • lamina @ do a bit

    Yumm… that looks easy to make!

  • Fatbooo

    Hey.. this is so cool, herbs in shortbread! And the recipe is soo simple too compared to my long winded Nyonya baking quests :)

  • msihua

    This is such an interesting idea. I’m actually going to start experimenting with herbs in cakes/desserts now. I had one at Cutler and Co, which was rosemary jelly. Delicious!

  • Coco Draws

    Your photos are amazing!

  • Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy

    Oh my Yasmeen..this has been on my mind since I bought lavender but never put it to use till now. I wish I could pick up few and dunk down with that steaming tea!

  • Ashley

    I tried a chestnut, pinenut and rosemary cake in Josie Bones a few weeks ago, so I’m drooling thinking of how lemon and rosemary would work in a nice short cookie. Looks and sounds gorgeous! :)

  • Angela DiGiovanni | Living Out Loud

    This recipe sounds absolutely divine! Thanks for sharing :-) :-) :-)