Rosemary Shortbread + Cute Parchment Paper Packages

rosemary shortbread

Careful. These are addictive. They’ve got that sweet-salty dynamic, but also a hint of rosemary, a savory touch that might lead you to eat ten of them, as you would a cracker. Try not to do that.

Man these are so good. I’m never crazy about breaking out the food processor — so many parts to clean and all — but this machine makes this recipe effortless. It literally takes five minutes to prepare.

If you’re like me, you won’t want to share these with anyone, but they would make a wonderful gift. According to Melissa Clark’s NY Times article in December 2005, these shortbread cookies are her all-occasion go-to gift:

“A friend’s birthday? A box of shortbread cookies wrapped in colored tissue. A colleague’s dinner party? A hostess gift of a vintage tin filled with shortbreads. The holidays? Many, many bright-hued bags filled with shortbread and tied with ribbons.”

Yesterday, feeling inspired, I fashioned a little package out of parchment paper and cooking twine. Then I tucked two squares inside, made a cute little tag, and wrapped it all up. Later that day, I opened the package and ate the treats. As I said, I didn’t want to share these with anyone.

Mmmmm … shortbread. These treats would be perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon, but are delightful any time of the day really. What’s more, they stay fresh for days though they’ll likely be gone before showing any signs of age. Holiday season is rapidly approaching — practice making these pouches now, and you’ll be golden come December.

I love parchment paper. Have you ever tried to tape it, however? Nothing sticks to it. To make this package, I improvised with a hole punch and some cooking twine. Just fold up a piece of parchment paper to the size of your liking, punch holes in the sides, thread any sort of ribbon or string through the holes and make knots on one side. Ta-da! With some cute ribbon, these packages could be really darling.

With this recipe, you just have to be careful not to over pulse the dough. This is about what it should look like:

The dough is still very crumbly when you pat it into the pan.

Rosemary Shortbread With Variations

Yield: One 8- or 9-inch shortbread, about 16 pieces
Source: Melissa Clark of the NY Times

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 scant tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary (see photo above)
1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 tsp. honey

1. Heat oven to 325ºF. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, rosemary and salt. Add butter and honey, and pulse to fine crumbs. Pulse a few more times until some crumbs start to come together, but don’t overprocess. Dough should not be smooth.

2. Press dough into an ungreased (or parchment paper-lined for easy removal) 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes for 9-inch pan, 45 to 50 minutes for 8-inch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares, bars or wedges while still warm.

For variations of this recipe, see Melissa Clark’s article.

Opposite side of parchment paper package:


  1. says

    genius idea; very chic, too. if i was more ambitious, i’d set to making those as gift bags for my wedding. several other bloggers have baked rosemary shortbread, always with great reviews — i think it’s about time i try for myself.



  2. appierance says

    Can’t wait to try the recipe, the bag is adorable! I use glassine bags in difference sizes (I find on photo supply websites) for baked goodies/candy especially frosted christmas cookies. The bags can be punched with holes for ribbons or folded over with stickers.

  3. says

    I completely understand your reluctance to use (but mostly to clean) the food processor. This shortbread recipe looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it! Great packaging too – a cute way to overcome tape’s reluctance to sticking to parchment paper!

  4. says

    had some rosemary that wasn’t going to make it much longer and i thought of you, and these! so good! hope you and the fam are well!

  5. says

    I just found your website via OAMM…. love it. I have just printed nearly ten recipes to make in the next week…. and I’m going to adapt these little packages for homemade toffee for the kids daycare teachers…. thank you.

    • says

      Hi Jani — I’ve only made it in the food processor, but I’m sure you could do it by hand or with an electric mixer. People have been making shortbread and pie dough and all of these sorts of things for years prior to all of these inventions, right? I think the key with shortbread is not to overmix it, too, so doing it by hand might be a good method. Do you have a pastry cutter? If not, I think using the back of a fork to blend the butter into the flour will work just fine. Good luck!

  6. kirstym says

    Hi Jani, yes you can do it by hand dont overwork the dough, wash your hands in cold water, use your fingertips not the warm palms of your hands. I have done this with lavendar instead of rosemary its gorgeous!

  7. Scdoring says

    My sweet friend made these for Christmas. They were the most beautiful thing I have tasted in a long time. I adore them.

  8. Judy H says

    I’ve been on a rosemary kick lately, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it!
    Luckily I had everything I needed on hand, and went to work on it right away. We enjoyed it last night after dinner and again tonight.
    It has a wonderful herbal flavor without being overpowering and isn’t too sweet. I like my desserts just like that – full of flavor and not so sweet. Perfect!
    I’ll definitely be making this again, and I’m sure I’ll try a few other varieties as well! Hubby asked me to pick up some vanilla ice cream for him to have with his shortcake tonight, but I think it’s just right all by itself! Thanks for sharing! :)

    • says

      So happy you made this, Judy! Honestly, this rosemary shortbread is one of my all-time favorites, especially this time of year. I love giving it as gifts — the rosemary makes it a touch unusual, but the sweet-salty dynamic is adored by all. Love that your hubby wanted some ice cream with it…I could totally go for that! Thanks for writing in!

  9. Theresa Callahan says

    This was my Christmas Baking recipe this year! It was wonderful, and most people loved it once they gave it a try, from the mailman and neighbors to family and friends. Your pictures really helped me get the texture right. I baked it in individual tart pans, and long rectangular tart pans, so popping them out was a snap. Tips: Use 2 T less butter OR measure your flour using the scoop and tap method instead of the fluff and level way. Also when I precut the cookies in the pan as soon as I took them out of the oven, they easily broke apart later and didn’t shatter. Thanks so much, Alexandra, for sharing this recipe!

  10. Deanna says

    I cannot even tell you how many times I have made this. It is one of my go to staples. Thanks!! I have it pinned on my Tried It, Love it board on pinterest because so many folks ask for the recipe. Love it so much, I am scared to try other flavor combos.

  11. Lindsay says

    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I have now made 2 pans in rapid succession – assuming after the first was a fail that I must have mis-measured something. So I made it again – following the recipe EXACTLY -making the citrus one so eliminating the rosemary and honey – and all I get is powder! The first one I barely processed, the second I processed more trying to get it to come together a tiny bit like the picture. I can’t prick it with a fork because it’s like sticking a fork in flour! I’m not a newbie baker, but have to admit I’m a frustrated one! I made sure the butter was very cold and weighed the flour and sugar to be sure they were right. What am I doing wrong??? Help!!!

    • Lindsay says

      Okay, I’m back. The Christmas miracle is that the shortbread I took out of the oven (#1) is to die for. Mind you, it looks NOTHING like yours Ali, but it tastes like I thought it would and it’s holding together (which I never thought it would)! Have you made it without the honey? Do you think that could be the difference? Now I have to try the one with the rosemary and honey to see if that’s the difference. But not tonight… :-)

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