You butter believe it, these rosemary shortbread thumbprint cookies with raspberry preserves are here just in time for the holidays.
Keeping it short with shortbread
This was our entry in our apartment complex holiday cookie contest. This year, we wanted something that was straight up easy, that wouldn’t get in the way of shopping, wrapping gifts and putting up the Christmas tree. It’s quite easy to put together, no mixer required.
Walker’s Scottish shortbread cookies have always been a holiday mainstay for us. But they don’t stay around long. So sweet and buttery, you can’t put them down. We found that making our own is so simple. All you need is butter, sugar, salt, flour, and whatever flavoring you desire.
Why rosemary and raspberry?
It’s green and red and wreathe-like. What more could you want? Beyond this, the rosemary adds a bit of savory to this sweet cookie. As long as you don’t mince it up super fine it won’t overpower it in the slightest.
The raspberry preserves were a last minute choice, because we were originally searching for sugar plum jam at our brand new Trader Joe’s.
We couldn’t find it. However, they did have a great low-sugar organic raspberry preserves. These low sugar preserves won’t overwhelm the other flavors with too much sweetness and are simply a great pairing.
Making Rosemary Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
- All-Purpose Flour
- European Butter (You can use regular butter, but the extra fat maximizes butter flavor.)
- Kosher Salt
- Vanilla extract
- Fresh Rosemary
- Raspberry Preserves or Jam (lower sugar if possible)
Steps for making the shortbread cookies
Cut chilled (not softened) butter into thin slices
This will make it so you can easily mold the rest of the ingredients into the butter so it will stay together. Softened butter will begin to melt and be difficult to work with, so make sure the butter is chilled.
Place in bowl and cover with the rest of the ingredients except flour and preserves
Mix together with the back of a large spoon
Once the butter, sugar and rosemary are mashed up, add the flour and continue to press the mixture with one hand to combine.
If you use two hands, you will probably squeeze flour out in all directions and make a mess. This may take you a few minutes, but the dough will come together as the flour absorbs the butter and sugar.
Turn out onto a table and form into a rectangular block
Press the dough until it becomes smooth and form it into a rectangular block. You don’t need to be super accurate because you’ll be scooping the dough into balls. These steps help to compact the dough so that it doesn’t crumble apart.
Press the dough down with your hands to flatten it some. Then cover with plastic wrap, and flatten it some more with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.
Use a cookie scoop or round tablespoon to form dough into balls
Scoop out rounded tablespoons. Then roll each ball around in your hands to smooth out the dough.
Indent your dough: 2 ways
One thumbprint: You can have classic thumbprint cookies by pressing your thumb directly in the center of each ball.
Two Thumbprints: If you’d like more surface in which to spread the raspberry preserves, you can use two thumbs to push in the entire center and form a ridge around the cookie.
Fill each cookie with preserves.
We used a half teaspoon, but you could go for more if you’d like. The preserves don’t run all over the place while baking.
Bake and enjoy
These cookies bake at a low and slow 300°F for about 50 minutes. They’re done when they’ve reached a nice golden brown around the edges.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe. As always, comments are welcome and encouraged!
Need some more holiday goodies?
In case you missed them, you can check out our other sweet holiday recipes:
- The Fluffiest Gingerbread Waffles made better with Vanilla Crème Anglaise
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate: How to make ultra rich French Chocolat Chaud
These delicious rosemary raspberry shortbread cookies are buttery and sweet with a hint of salt. You don’t even need a mixer to make them, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already! Use your favorite kind of jam.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 50
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 18–20 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Holiday
For the shortbread cookies:
- 1 cup (8oz) chilled unsalted butter (European for maximum butter flavor), cut into thin slices
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tsp kosher salt or 1/2 tsp table salt
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (do not mince too finely)
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of raspberry jam (or your favorite flavor of jam)
To make the thumbprint shortbread cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Place cold butter, sugar, rosemary, salt and vanilla extract in large bowl. Use back of large spoon to smash the butter against the sides of the bowl. Keep smashing and mixing until all of the ingredients are incorporated. You can also use a pastry cutter for this, but if your butter is sliced thinly, a spoon should work fine.
- Pour flour into bowl with butter mixture. Flour your hands, and starting with one hand* incorporate the flour into the mixture until buttery crumbs form, 1 to 2 minutes. Press mixture into a dough ball and once it’s no longer crumbly, turn out onto a clean table.
- If your dough comes together nicely, you can skip this step, but we found that using a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rectangle helps to incorporate all of the butter and make sure that it is less crumbly.
- Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon measure, form dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch dough balls. Roll it around in your hand to make sure that it is smooth. Space the balls 2 inches apart on your baking sheet.
- Make an indentation in the center of each dough ball using your thumb or index finger. Press the dough down half way. If you prefer, you can use two thumbs to make a larger indentation and a ridge around the side of the cookies. At this point, if the butter in the dough is becoming too soft, you may want to chill your dough in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon, or more if desired, of your favorite jam or preserves.
- Bake for 50 minutes until the shortbread is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes.
*You can use your favorite jam or preserves for this. We used reduced sugar raspberry preserves, and it turned out delicious!
*Start with one hand to mix flour into butter mixture to avoid squeezing flour all over the place. Once it’s mostly absorbed you can use both hands.
Keywords: shortbread, rosemary, jam, cookies, holiday