Rosemary + Toasted-Caraway Shortbread


One can never have too many shortbread recipes.


In my estimation, no other cookie really compares to the humble shortbread and its kin. Butter, sugar and flour are transformed into one of the greatest culinary inventions of all time. At this time of year, cookies seem especially perfect and it is smart to have several shortbread recipes on hand.

This particular shortbread has a savory edge from rosemary and toasted caraway seeds. Caraway has been having a moment, and I’m enjoying it. Some of my earliest food memories are eating toasted rye bread with my mom. The pop of caraway seed flavor is both comforting and complex. It makes these cookies very special, and the perfect mid-afternoon snack with a cup of tea. They also keep for at least a week in a tin, making them nice to have around when you have family or friends visiting. What they are not, however, is sturdy. Don’t plan on shipping these, they’re a little too fragile for a road trip. Happy baking, friends.


Rosemary and Toasted-Caraway Shortbread (from Bon Appetit)

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus whole leaves
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • Coarse sanding sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast caraway seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Coarsely chop; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and salt until very light and fluffy, 7–10 minutes (beating air into butter makes for tender shortbread). Reduce speed to low and add flour, caraway, and 2 tsp. chopped rosemary; mix just to combine. Dough will look shaggy and a little dry (it’s not!).

Press dough into two 8”-diameter cake pans. Brush with egg, sprinkle with sanding sugar, and top with rosemary leaves.

Bake until shortbread is golden brown and sides pull away from pan, 20–25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool in pan before turning out and cutting into wedges or bars.

DO AHEAD: Shortbread dough can be made 1 month ahead; wrap tightly and freeze. Shortbread can be baked 1 week ahead; store wrapped tightly at room temperature.


Okay, this last photo is an example of food photography gone wrong–it looks like some sort of schnitzel, right?

16 comments to “Rosemary + Toasted-Caraway Shortbread”

  1. As soon as I saw these cookies in BA, I knew I had to make them ASAP and I did. I skipped the caraway but the rosemary did give them a fantastic woodsy flavor. Totally agree about the lack of sturdiness. Perhaps adding an egg into the dough would combat that problem?

  2. Sasha- You’ve got to try the caraway! It’s important. I liked their delicate nature, in general, it just rules out shipping.

  3. Very interesting ingredient combo…and you’re right…one can never have too many shortbread recipes!

  4. Caraway just doesn’t gel with my tastebuds, but I do love a good lavender shortbread! We stock up on lavender every summer in Pictou, Nova Scotia at the Seafoam Lavender Farm — they make our aromatic holiday shortbread divine :)

  5. That photo really does look like schnitzel! :-) I adore rosemary and will find an excuse to put it in anything. I’ve had a shortbread with cornmeal and rosemary in it, but the caraway is a new idea for me. I’ll have to try it!

  6. Jordan Johnson says:

    December 10th, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Sasha, Tim is absolutely right. I saw the recipe in BA too and had to make it over the weekend and it was incredible. I added a bit of lemon zest and replaced the powdered and granulated sugars with turbinado, and it turned out great. The smell of caraway has always reminded me of a campfire, and lends the shortbread a comforting, homey flavor. It’s a must try.

  7. I love caraway, and rosemary had been okay with me lately. I am going to try this! Thanks for sharing (and hi Tim!)

  8. Yum! I immediately bookmarked this page when I received my magazine in the mail. Looks delicious, maybe served with a few wedges of cheese? PS – Schnitzel is OK by me. Mahalo!

  9. Yum! I’ve had rosemary in shortbread before, but never caraway. Sounds like an intriguing combination (and definitely a nice change from Walker’s!)

  10. I need to get on the savory shortbread bandwagon (is that a thing? It should be. I’d ride a shortbread bandwagon.) Anyways, I’ve been seeing a lot of savory versions lately, and since shortbread always seems so fancy, but isn’t all that much trouble, I don’t know why I haven’t made any yet.

    I actually made sweet shortbread to bring to a cookie swapy, and I thought you would appreciate them, since you’re such a fan of Smitten Kitchen. I made the coffee toffee from her cookbook (added cocoa nibs, left off the chocolate topping), crushed it up, and used it in the toffee shortbread recipe my mom’s been making for years (to which I added instant espresso, another cue from Deb), and drizzled with dark chocolate ganache. Do you know how well coffee, toffee, dark chocolate, and shortbread go together? Well enough that all 12 dozen cookies were gone at the end of the night.

    I’m also making your fig/date swirls and pistachio crescents for the second year in a row for my annual cookie day. Tis the season!

  11. Ha ha, yes it does look like schnitzel, but that’s not a bad thing either. I too bookmarked the recipe but haven’t tried it yet. I’ll have to move it up in the baking queue.

  12. I’ve found that purchasing really good, fresh caraway seeds makes a big difference and improves the

  13. Love the sound of this shortbread recipe. What a good idea, and makes a welcome alternative to the sweet variety. Happy Christmas!

  14. This is an excellent shortbread recipe, I tried it out last night and it turned out amazing!

  15. Now I can’t stop craving for cookies.
    The temperature is freaking cold. I need to bake some more like this short bread cookies for the kids.

  16. I made these for an Oscar party yesterday and they were a huge hit. Loved by cookie fans and those who claimed to “not be dessert people” thanks to their savory aromatics and the hint of salt.

What do you think?