These melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies were inspired by travels among Tuscany’s olive groves and citrus trees. For a healthier spin, they use olive oil instead of butter and are generously flavored with fresh rosemary , orange zest, and honey.Click here to skip to recipe
As the weather warms up, I’ve been craving the perfect spring-flavored dessert. Something with bright, fragrant notes that can lift my mood and make me dream of sunshine. I found myself returning again and again to the flavors of rosemary, orange, and olive oil.
These are the flavors that I recall when I remember the spring and summer I lived in Italy. I can close my eyes and see sunlit fields of olive trees, and I remember laughing under citrus trees, their boughs heavy with fruit. I can smell the sharpness of rosemary in my cooking class and feel the flour between my fingertips as I made fresh pasta. So maybe that’s why when I think of the perfect spring, these flavors immediately come to mind.
What I love about these cookies are their simplicity. You simply add all the ingredients to a bowl and combine. And because we use olive oil instead of butter, there’s no need to wait for ingredients to come to room temperature. I enjoy topping these off with flaky sea salt for a wonderful sweet and salty combination, and I highly recommend. It’ll make a difference, I promise. For decoration, I simply press on more fresh herbs before baking to create springtime patterns.
- I don’t like my cookies very sweet, so have not added as much sugar. You can add up to 1 cup if you prefer your desserts on the sweeter end
- The dough should be quite wet and stick together easily before you put it in the freezer
- Because of the olive oil, it is important to freeze for at least one hour before slicing and baking. If you’re not a fan of slicing, you can shape into circles and press down instead.
- The cookies do not spread much at all in the oven
- To make these vegan, remove the honey or replace with maple syrup.
Tuscan shortbread cookies (rosemary olive oil)
- 2 baking sheets
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- plastic wrap
- Parchment paper
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup olive oil
- 4 tbsp orange zest (about 2 oranges)
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp honey
- Additional fresh rosemary
- Flaky sea salt
- In medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, orange zest, chopped rosemary, salt, and powdered sugar. Stir in orange juice and honey.
- Slowly pour in olive oil, mixing as you pour until all of the oil is incorporated. The dough should be wet and almost a little greasy.
- Divide dough in two and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Roughly shape into a cylinder, wrap, and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Make sure the dough is tightly packed together.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
- Remove dough from freezer and unwrap. Slice cookies about ~1/4 in. thick. If not perfectly round, shape the slices gently with your finger. Place about 1 in. apart on baking sheet. Press fresh herbs on top for decoration and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. until bottoms are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. They will firm up after cooling.