Ginger Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Nothing says the HOLIDAYS like rosemary and ginger together in a decadent, hand-held dessert! Not too sweet and bursting with flavor, this adaptation of a classic shortbread cookie adds savory, herbaceous elements to the cookie table. With a handful of simple ingredients, these unique Ginger Rosemary Shortbread Cookies are sure to become a favorite! Makes 30 cookies.

A stack of Ginger Rosemary Shortbread Cookies on a red festive holiday napkin

A few years back, one of my sorority sisters mentioned something about some magical rosemary shortbread cookies she’d made.

I was skeptical. But I also wanted to try them because maybe THAT was a way to get my tastebuds to like rosemary again. (Because, you know, I went through some years where I did not dig it.)

Turns out—shocker—that the shortbread cookies did the trick!

Why I love this recipe:

The thing about this Ginger Rosemary Shortbread recipe is it’s decadent, but light.

The cookies are sweet, but not cloying and strike a beautiful balance of savory and sweet.

The rosemary adds herbaceousness to the cookies without overwhelming the buttery cookie base. The ginger adds a bit of a zing and some crunch to the sugar rolled on the outside.

When a friend bit into a cookie, she looked at me, somewhat perplexed, and said, “They taste… refreshing?”

And they are. A refreshing cookie, as bizarre as that sounds, and utterly delightful.

So if you’ve ever wanted to try a savory cookie and are unsure about the rosemary, take it from me, someone who normally cannot stand any amount of the herb: This Ginger Rosemary Shortbread is something you’ll want to try. I guarantee it.

Love shortbread cookies? Try these shortbread recipes: Shortbread Brown Butter Cookies | Orange Raspberry Shortbread Cookies | Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies | Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Honey | Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies with Raspberry-Orange Glaze | Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

Need more cookie inspiration? Head over to my Cookie Recipe Index for more ideas!

ginger rosemary shortbread cookies on a baking sheet ready to bake

What you need to make this recipe:

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Let’s talk ingredients!

In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter— we’re using two sticks. Set it out 30-45 minutes before you plan to make the batter so it blends easily.
  • Pure maple syrup—use the real deal kind, please and thank you. This adds some sweetness to the shortbread dough.
  • Powdered sugar—also known as confectioners sugar. We’ll need this for the cookie dough. You may sift yours if there are chunks in it.
  • Allpurpose flour— we keep unbleached AP flour at our house, but you can use the regular kind, too.
  • Kosher salt—I like to use a fine grain kosher salt here. You could also use a fine grain sea salt, too.
  • Ginger—we’re using ground ginger in the cookie dough and fresh ginger in the coating for the cookies.
  • Fresh rosemary—finely chopped, please and thank you. You can do this in the food processor or with a sharp knife on a cutting board.
  • Granulated sugar—also known as white sugar, this adds a nice sweetness the exterior of the cookies.
Ginger rosemary shortbread cookie rounds on a plate before baking

How to make Ginger Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Cream the softened butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar together using a hand mixer in a large bowl.

Sift the flour, salt and ground ginger into a separate bowl. Measure in the fresh rosemary.

Whisk, then sprinkle into the wet ingredients, stirring until the batter just comes together.

Place a long piece of plastic wrap on the counter, and dollop the batter into the center.

Form a log shape, then seal by folding the plastic wrap over the cookie batter. Roll to create a rounded cookie log.

Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. Overnight is ideal.

Bake the Rosemary Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Combine the granulated sugar and the grated ginger in a small bowl. Mix together using a fork or a spoon.

Remove the cookie log from the refrigerator.

Sprinkle the ginger sugar onto a flat surface. Roll the dough log over it until the outside is coated.

Use a pastry scraper to slice the dough into half inch thick cookie rounds.

Place the cookies on the baking sheet, leaving an inch around each cookie.

Once all the cookies have been sliced and placed on their baking sheet(s), transfer to the freezer for a 10-minute chill.

We do this so that the shortbread cookies won’t spread in the oven.

Once chilled, transfer the baking sheet(s) to the preheated oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes. They’re done when the tops are golden brown.

Cool completely on a wire rack, then enjoy!

a stack of ginger rosemary shortbread cookies on a plate with a red napkin

Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

Shortbread cookies are some of my favorite HOLIDAY COOKIES because oh my word, they are so decadent and not too sweet and just perfect.

Here are some tips and tricks to making these beauties for a crowd:

  • Double the recipe if you’re hosting several people OR wanting to share these goodies with friends and family this holiday season. I recommend putting them in pretty take out boxes* (affiliate link) so guests can see what they’re getting!
  • Serve them at a Cookie Swap Party… but serve them on a separate platter since the rosemary and ginger are strong!
  • Make them a day ahead of time. These cookies aren’t to be rushed. Cut yourself some slack and make ‘em the night before… but save the decorating for the day you share them.
a stack of ginger rosemary shortbread cookies on a plate with milk

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you consider this a holiday recipe?

Shortbread is a holiday classic for me, even though it doesn’t necessarily look festive (unless, of course, you’ve decorated yours accordingly.)

You could make these cookies year-round, too, but I find these charming and delicious for sharing during the holiday season.

What makes shortbread different?

Shortbread is a unique cookie recipe because it does not require eggs or a leavener, like baking soda or baking powder. These shortbread cookies are buttery with a crispy exterior, and they melt in your mouth.

Is it better to use powdered sugar or granulated sugar for shortbread cookies?

I like to use powdered sugar in shortbread cookies because it yields a lighter, fluffier cookie.

Why do you chill shortbread before baking?

We chill the shortbread before baking so that it can hold its shape in the oven.

a stack of ginger rosemary shortbread cookies on a plate with milk

Quick tips and tricks for the best shortbread cookies

  • Start with softened butter. Your cookie dough will come together a lot easier!
  • Chop the rosemary finely! Having large chunks of rosemary in cookies is off-putting. Take the time to chop it well so that it incorporates easily into the batter.
  • How to store: When the cookies have cooled and the ganache has set, stack them on top of each other in a cookie tin. Keep for 3-4 days at room temperature.

So let’s celebrate by baking up something decadent and beautiful for the upcoming holidays.

Scroll on down to learn how to make this gorgeous Ginger Rosemary Shortbread! You’ll be glad you did!

a stack of ginger rosemary shortbread cookies on a plate with milk
Yield: 30 cookies

Ginger Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Nothing says the HOLIDAYS like rosemary and ginger together in a decadent, hand-held dessert! Not too sweet and bursting with flavor, this adaptation of a classic shortbread cookie adds savory, herbaceous elements to the cookie table. With a handful of simple ingredients, these unique Ginger Rosemary Shortbread Cookies are sure to become a favorite!

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Ginger Sugar

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Instructions

Make the Cookie Dough

  1. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar together using a hand mixer.
  2. Sift the flour, salt and ground ginger into a separate bowl. Measure in the fresh rosemary. Whisk together, then sprinkle into the wet ingredients, stirring until the batter just comes together.
  3. Place a long piece of plastic wrap on the counter.
  4. Dollop the batter into the center of the plastic wrap to form a log shape.
  5. Seal by folding the plastic wrap over the cookie batter, then roll to create a rounded cookie log.
  6. Transfer the log to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.
  7. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. (I left mine overnight, and that was ideal.)

Make the Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and the ginger. Mix together using a fork or a spoon.
  3. Remove the cookie log from the refrigerator.
  4. Sprinkle the ginger sugar onto a flat surface, and roll the dough log over it until the outside is completely coated.
  5. Using a pastry scraper, slice the dough into ½" thick cookies.
  6. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1" around each cookie.
  7. Once all the cookies have been sliced and placed on their baking sheet(s), transfer them to the freezer for a 10-minute chill.
  8. Once chilled, transfer the baking sheet(s) to the preheated oven.
  9. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden.
  10. Let cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!

Notes

Please note that the total time listed above includes the chilling time. These cookies should not take 2 hours and 30 minutes to make. 😉

Adapted from my Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies recipe.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

30

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 112Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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9 Comments

  1. lately, i have been obsessed with rosemary too and i love how you baked with it. looks very good.

  2. Yaaaaaas shortbread lovers unite! I’m obsessed with the idea of adding rosemary to shorbread cookies – it sounds so flavorful and tasty! Definitely a beautiful treat to share with family during the holidays 🙂

  3. I, too, cannot keep plants alive. I do, however, love rosemary! And I love refreshing cookies 🙂 This sounds like an amazing flavor combination that definitely deserves a try!

    1. Thank you, Bethany! They truly are a delightful cookie to bake during the holidays, though I’m sure they’d be delicious now, too! Happy baking. 🙂

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