Shortbread is a buttery blank canvas for you to build upon with bold flavor pairings like fresh herbs, fruit, and liqueur.
The combination of rosemary, orange, and then dried cranberries dunked in Cognac will cause you to close your eyes, chew slowly, and savor every bite!
For the next several months it's going to be about fresh herbs and what to pair with them!
Rosemary is one of the most versatile herbs.
You can take it sweet, spicy, salty, savory, or swirl it into a cocktail to enhance any season's offerings. It's also hardy enough to weather the storms in both summer and winter.
For information on planning, purchasing, and planting rosemary and 19 more of my favorite herbs, check out my latest book!
½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Cognac or Brandy (or orange juice-the liquid is needed for the dough)
1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped as fine as you can get it
zest from 1 orange
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine cranberries and liqueur into a small bowl and allow to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Using a food processor, grind the walnuts with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining sugar to the processor and mix until superfine, about 1 minute. Add the flour, salt, and walnuts. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the rosemary and orange zest. Pulse a few more times.
Mix in the butter and vanilla until crumbly. Squeeze the access liquid out of the cranberries and toss them in. Pulse a few times to combine everything. Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into a ball. This dough will appear to be a bit dry and crumbly. Just keep working it with your hands and it will come together into a ball. Half it and form into 2 disks. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate 10 minutes.
Place a dough disk on each cookie sheet and using hands, press and shape each into an 8 inch round. Cut each round into 8 wedges and leave intact. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the edges are browned, about 25 to 35 minutes. The switching of the pans is an important step in helping them to bake evenly. Re-cut the hot shortbread into wedges, separate lightly and let cool. Shortbread is very fragile so it’s important to let it cool completely.