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Whole grain rosemary shortbread

December 21, 2009

This recipe was inspired by this one here. I was immediately intrigued by the rosemary and I love shortbread of any kind. The problem? I don’t eat wheat  and I’ve never eaten much sugar though I now try to do more to minimize refined or processed foods of any kind. I also have very little experience with baking. Baking is not my forte though I seem to be drawn to trying it more and more lately. I needed to do some major changes to the recipe. Since I’d never made shortbread even with pastry or white wheat flour I didn’t even have a sense of what I might be shooting for when I switched out ingredients.

Big fat cookies

I ended up using half whole rye flour. I’m using rye flour a lot these days and oddly enough it doesn’t have a strong flavor of rye at all. I don’t know why this  is since rye bread I buy in stores always has a strong flavor,  but it’s a fairly neutral tasting flour. So half rye and half brown rice flour. I also used  1/3 the amount of sugar. I added a tiny bit of stevia to make up for the sugar. Lastly I added extra walnuts and rosemary both. I also topped the cookies with a fine layer of salt, a technique I learned on the same website though not on this recipe. Salt brings out sweetness, so if I’m not putting much sugar in bringing out what I do put in with salt worked well. It’s really a delightful trick and worked really well with these cookies. My husband even commented on it as he noticed and really liked the touch.

So this is what happened to the recipe:

  • 1 cup whole rye flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar (the package used the euphemism “evaporated cane juice” which is the health food industries way of trying to trick you to eat more SUGAR and feel okay about it if you’re otherwise trying to avoid sugar)
  • 1 tsp powdered stevia
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (chopped up small)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary
  • salt sprinkled on top after cookies are sliced but before they go in the oven. I used a natural salt as indicated on the above website but it wasn’t sea salt. I think it’s from Utah somewhere. I imagine table salt would work as well. They claim the flakiness of the salt matters, but the salt I used doesn’t appear flaky and it worked very nicely

Melt the butter in a medium sauce-pan or skillet over medium heat. Swirl occasionally and cook until all foaming has subsided and the butter is dark brown. I didn’t know what to expect here as I’ve never cooked butter. The recipe that I got the idea said it makes it taste and smell “nutty.” I’m not sure I’d say that, but the recipe turned out great so whatever. It smelled like browned butter to me and it kind of freaked me out when I was cooking it because it gets super foamy. In any case it worked and does taste good.

I toasted the walnuts in a pan. I think it might have been better to do in the oven but do whatever you like. Cut the walnuts up pretty fine as the dough is flaky already it will help keep it together to have the walnuts cut up fairly well.

I put all the dry ingredients together including the very finely minced rosemary. When the butter had cooled to room temperature I poured it into the flour mixture. The website I got this one had you use a mixer and was much more careful about blending. I just dumped the butter into the dry ingredients and mixed it up. I needed to add a bit of water to get the dough to a texture where I could make two – two inch logs which I covered with plastic wrap and put in the freezer to harden. Seeing the dough it’s clear the cookies would not slice without freezing.

I froze the dough for about an hour. The recipe I got the original from suggested 1/2 and hour to 3 days. I sliced my cookies quite thick as I had the impression it would fall apart if I did them too thin.

I cooked them for about 20 minutes rather than 10 at 350 degree, but they were quite a lot thicker.

The cookies were totally addictive. I couldn’t stop eating them and ended up freezing a bunch by the end of the day to get them the heck out of sight. My husband liked them equally well. He has a sweet tooth and we have some really sweet home made cookies my aunt sent us for the holidays. He’s been enjoying those too. I can’t even eat them because they are too sweet. In any case, it seems Paul liked my healthy, whole grain, very low sugar cookies just as much or more than the very sweet variety that were competing with them.

Oh, lastly, I used organic grass fed butter. Animal fat is not as horrible as most people think if it’s raised naturally. Grass fed animals have saturated fat with a totally different ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids, so basically, with grass fed animals fat is healthier. And in fact has a lot of ESSENTIAL fats just like fish.

So as long as you don’t eat a dozen cookies they really are healthy. My problem was they were so good I wanted to eat a dozen. Moderation in all things they say and that goes for healthy cookies too!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2009 12:51 am

    OH! They look amazing… and I LIKE the twist. VERY well done!

    • December 21, 2009 12:57 am

      wow! you’re uber-fast…and thanks for the link back here…

      I was very delighted with these cookies. I never bake and I have a history of stuff bombing when I bake because of my habit of never sticking to a recipe…which of course I repeated here but the delightful end was that it worked…even if they are unseemingly fat for shortbread cookies!

      the rosemary is really really good!! I just ate two more tonight. They spent the last couple of days in the freezer.

      • December 21, 2009 12:59 am

        It was just a matter of timing. =)

        I’m really interested in these. The addition of rosemary and the rye flour is quite unique… I’m trying to imagine the taste.

        Really, Monica, kudos!

  2. December 21, 2009 1:04 am I said the rye does not have a distinctly rye flavor as you might imagine…BUT it does have the texture of a whole grain…that’s its most significant feature…

    the rosemary is just plain heavenly…had never had rosemary in anything but savory food but when I saw it in that recipe I was immediately taken by it and I think my gut knew it would work…though I would never have thought of it myself.

  3. December 21, 2009 3:24 pm

    Intriguing, I love the concept. They look cool, too.

  4. December 22, 2009 10:02 am

    I love the idea of savory “dessert” items. I plan on making some savory biscotti this year! This is a great idea. Rosemary just screams winter to me and it is one of my favorite herbs. You did a great job with this!

  5. December 22, 2009 6:26 pm

    Just what I need – a healthy cookie! Looks great Monica Jane!

  6. December 23, 2009 4:20 am

    thanks everyone…these were fun as I never bake nor do I generally eat cookies. have a good holiday all.

  7. Tony permalink
    December 23, 2009 10:39 pm

    If you like rye flour, you should be baking the traditional Russian black bread. Rye flour doesn’t lead to soft bread and black bread is eaten mainly by dipping it into the borscht.

    Rye is good in that it has a very low Glycemic Index and it takes a long time for the body to break down and metabolize.

    Your recipe kind of reminds me of a recipe this one older lady in my town made. They were shortbread cookies flavored with caraway seeds. They were very peculiar and Old World.

    Merry Christmas, or whatever Holiday you celebrate!


  1. Grandma Nakielny’s Shortbread Cookies « Yes, We Cook!

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