Thursday, December 09, 2004


Rosemary Shortbread

This time of year it is all about cookies...and while I know a lot of adults still have a sweet tooth (my father, for example.), I find that if things are too sugary they just don't taste good to me. That is why when I have guests and want to bake cookies, I make these. They are simple, elegant, sophisticated and not cloying. Enjoy! OH - and yesterday in the LA Times Food Section, Russ Parsons wrote an article about what a great thing Japanese knives are...please see my post from a few days ago to see my (exact same!) opinion on that matter!

1 cup flour

pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 stick butter, softened
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix together the butter and sugars then add the flour mixture and mix with your hands until the dough resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Gather dough and form into a 9 inch square baking pan that has been lined with parchment. Use your fingers to make the dough as even a thickeness as possible. Using a sharp knife, score the unbaked shortbread into small squares (I did 6x6)

Bake the shortbread in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Transfer with a metal spatula to a cutting board and cut along score marks with a large heavy knife.

Rosemary is native to the sea cliffs of Spain, Italy, France, and Greece.
Its original Latin name of "ros-marinis" means "mist of the sea."

Rosemary is said to be the herb of remembrance ("There's rosemary, that's for remembrance;
Pray, love, remember. "- Hamlet, Act 4) and in English Tudor times brides wore it to show
they would always remember their families.

It was burnt at shrines in Ancient Greece to drive away evil spirits and illnesses and sprigs
were thrown into graves by ancient Greeks and Romans to signify their desire to remember
the departed. In some European countries that is still a custom.

In Sicily, the tale is told of Circe, an evil sorceress who drove men to hurl
themselves into the sea. A blue-eyed woman was so distraught
at the loss of these men that she turned into a rosemary bush, clinging to the cliffs
in a reminder to the men to cling to life. (The flowers of the plant are blue)

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