Spring has sprung! These cookies were inspired by a variety of sources, including our rosemary bush covered with purple flowers and an overabundance of lemons on Jim & Melinda's lemon tree. I've seen shortbread cookies incorporating lemon and thyme, strawberries and thyme, and lavender, so I wondered how a combination of dried cherries, fresh rosemary, and lemon zest would taste. Let's just say I've found it hard to resist the crumbly shortbread, chewy cherries, zing of lemon, and a slight hint of rosemary on the finish.
Cherry and Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Pecan Shortbread, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
3/4 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of two lemons
1 Tbsp. minced, fresh rosemary
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup Luxardo Maraschino cherry liqueur
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the cherries in a small, microwave-safe bowl, pour the Maraschino liqueur over the top, and stir to coat the cherries. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and let cool. Drain, coarsely chop cherries, and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the lemon zest and rosemary and mix until combined. Sift together the flour and salt in a medium bowl, and then slowly add to the butter/sugar mixture while mixing on low speed. Continue mixing on low until the dough comes together. Add the chopped cherries and gently mix until distributed evenly.
Dump the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk, and wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut into 2-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve.
I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to
know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly
branchlets through one's hand, and have the enjoyment of
their incomparable incense; and I grow it against walls, so
that the sun may draw out its inexhaustible sweetness
to greet me as I pass ....
- Gertrude Jekyll