Make Delicious Herb Cookies Straight From the Garden

Add garden fresh flavors to your holiday treats with herb-infused shortbread.

Sage Herb Shortbread

Sage Herb Shortbread

A basic herb shortbread recipe can be given a sweet or savory twist depending on which herbs you use. Pineapple sage (left) delivers a sweet bite, while sage (right) offers a savory nibble.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

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Filling your holiday cookie tray just got easier, thanks to a clever herb shortbread hack. Start with one basic recipe that you customize using quick herb (and seasoning partner) change outs. The result is a buttery cookie that delivers classic shortbread richness infused with garden-fresh flavor. Go sweet or savory, strong or mild—this is one cookie that lets your creativity shine.

Herb Shortbread Ingredients

Herb Shortbread Ingredients

A basic herb shortbread recipe features common ingredients found in any kitchen: salt, flour, butter and sugar. The variable in each recipe starts with the herb you choose, such as silvery sage or red-flowered pineapple sage.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

Basic Shortbread Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (coarse or fine)

For Sweet Pineapple Sage Shortbread

Pineapple Sage Shortbread Ingredients

Pineapple Sage Shortbread Ingredients

Pineapple sage shortbread draws its fruity flavor from chopped blossoms and leaves and a teaspoon of drained crushed pineapple.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

  • 1 tablespoon pineapple sage flowers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped, drained, blotted pineapple
Pineapple Sage Flowers

Pineapple Sage Flowers

Prep pineapple sage flowers by removing the green bract at the base of each bloom.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

To prep pineapple sage flowers, remove the inedible green bract at the base of blooms. 

For Savory Sage Shortbread

Sage Shortbread Ingredients

Sage Shortbread Ingredients

Sage shortbread delivers its savory bite courtesy of sage leaves, fresh ground pepper and shaved parmesan cheese.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

  • 1 tablespoon sage leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoons shaved parmesan

Instructions

Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. 

Herbs In Food Processor Bowl

Herbs In Food Processor Bowl

Add flour, sugar and salt to food processor bowl. Toss in chopped herbs, including leaves and flowers, and pulse a few times.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

Add herb leaves and/or flowers. Pulse two to three times to combine herbs and dry ingredients.

Cut the butter into 8 pieces. Add it to the food processor bowl, along with any other seasonings (pepper, cheese or pineapple).

Herb Shortbread Dough Forming

Herb Shortbread Dough Forming

Add butter to flour and herb mixture and pulse roughly 25 to 30 times, until a dough comes together.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

Pulse to combine ingredients, stopping every so often to scrape bowl sides. Continue pulsing (20-30 times) until a dough forms.

Dump the dough onto a clean work surface. Form into a log, roughly 6 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches across. The diameter of the log determines the final cookie size. For smaller cookies, roll a longer, narrower log. Roll the log in plastic wrap, twisting the ends of the wrap to seal.

Herb Shortbread Dough Log

Herb Shortbread Dough Log

Form dough into a log, seal in plastic wrap, and slip log into a slit empty paper towel tube. Tape the tube closed over the dough. This creates a perfectly round log roll.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

Slip the log into a paper towel cardboard tube that’s been slit down the side. Tape the tube closed over the dough log. The tube ensures your log won’t have a flat side, but will instead be perfectly round.

Freeze dough until firm (roughly 1 hour). Store frozen dough up to one month.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. 

Slice Dough Log

Slice Dough Log

Slice herb shortbread dough log into quarter-inch rounds, and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

Unwrap the dough log and cut it into 1/4-inch rounds. Space the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle savory herb shortbread, like the sage-pepper-parmesan, with coarse salt before baking. This gives the cookie a cracker-like bite.

Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the tray from front to back and bake another 8-10 minutes. Cookies should be set and golden, not browned.

Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Herb Shortbread Cookies

Herb Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies can deliver a sweet or savory bite, depending on which herbs provide the flavor. In this cookie basket, pineapple sage (foreground) offers a sweet nibble, while sage delivers a savory taste.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

Yield is 20 to 24 cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container up to 1 week. Herb cookies can also be frozen up to 2 months.

Try Other Herbs

Explore flavor combinations by making other herb cookie blends. The blends are limitless and can cater to a sweet tooth or, like the sage-pepper-parmesan, offer a savory bite that provides the perfect accompaniment for a salad or steamy bowl of soup. When using other herbs, stick to roughly the same proportion of ingredients as in the recipe. Treat moist fruits like the pineapple—chop, drain and maybe even blot to limit liquid. Other tasty flavor blends include:

  • rosemary and cracked pepper
  • mint with orange zest and carrot
  • basil with crushed garlic and Romano cheese
  • thyme with gouda cheese or strawberry
  • cilantro and mango
  • chives and manchego cheese
  • lavender and peach
  • dill and lemon zest with sharp cheddar cheese
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