With scissors in tow, I popped outside to the garden and eyed off the selection of home grown herbs, courtesy of Mr Mélanger.  The ever expanding rosemary bush caught my eye.  After cutting a handful of sprigs, I started to ponder their use as I returned inside.

Back in the kitchen, with the collection still in my hands, I was still undecided how to include this fragrant herb into a shortbread.

While I mulled over the idea, I pulled a selection of dried fruits and nuts from the pantry – to find some little friends for the rosemary – and quickly settled on apricots and almonds.

As I gathered the remainder ingredients to make the shortbread, I also reached for my spice grinder.  I took one look at the sugar on the counter, and then the rosemary and immediately set to whizzing the two together.

The result was a soft pale green sugar, the consistency of icing (confectioners’) sugar.  Perfect to incorporate the flavour of rosemary without the texture.

With the crunch from the almonds, as well as the additional sweetness from the apricots, this little rosemary flavoured cookie turned out to be delicious experiment.

{ Rosemary, apricot and almond shortbread  } Original recipe by Julia Tuomainen @ Mélanger

* Ingredients *
1 ¾ cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Leaves from ¼ sprig of fresh rosemary
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
¼ cup finely chopped dried apricots and almond flakes
1 egg

* Directions *
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl, and add the dried fruit and nuts.  Set aside.  In a spice grinder, process the rosemary leaves with ¼ cup of the sugar until it resembles the consistency of icing sugar.  (It will be a pale green colour.)  In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, rosemary sugar and remaining caster sugar until creamy.  Mix in the egg until combined.  Then mix in the flour mixture gently until just incorporated.  Do not over mix.  You can do this step by hand if you prefer.  Turn the dough out onto some cling film, and using the cling film, form into a log shape.  Depending on the thickness of your cookies, you will make approximately 3 logs around 20-30cm in length each.  Refrigerate the logs for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.  However, after around 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge, remove the logs and fine-tune the shape if necessary.  Then return to chill.  To bake the logs, preheat the oven to 180C.  Line a baking sheet with non-stick paper.  Slice the log into 75mm-1cm cookies.  Place the cookies on the baking sheet, leaving space between each.  Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the size.  Be careful not to over bake.  The cookies will remain pale and feel a little soft to the touch when you remove them.  Once you have removed them from the oven, cool on a wire rack.  The cookie dough can remain in the fridge for 3 days, or can be frozen for a month.  To bake the cookies from frozen dough, do not allow the dough to defrost, simply slice and bake for a minute or two longer.

:: Plain cookie variation ::
This recipe is equally good in its most simple form.  Replace the apricots and almonds with an additional ¼ cup of flour, and simply beat the 1 cup of butter with ½ cup of unprocessed caster sugar.  Mix and bake in the same way.  Alternatively, experiment with other fruit, nut and aromatic combinations of your own!