lemon, rosemary & pine nut shortbread

I bet you’re thinking that’s a slightly weird flavour combination right there, especially for a sweet bakery item. I know that was my first reaction when I came across this recipe years ago. And then I thought about it for just a little bit longer. And then I made the shortbread, and I was hooked. Actually I can’t believe I’ve never written about this recipe before! It’s delicious, smells amazing, and also isn’t overpoweringly sugary – something about those flavours make this biscuit sweetly savoury, and when you use salted butter instead of unsalted it’s even better.

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It was so long ago that I first made these that I can’t even remember where the recipe first came from. I have written about my go-to shortbread recipe before, and this is where it started although the flavour combination can change, but I’ve made a few tweaks over the years. It’s an easy one (I like easy) and you can make the dough ahead of time to bake it when you need it (also useful if you’ve got a lot of things going on at once).

When you roll and cut the biscuit dough you can make it whatever size or thickness that you like, but you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly to suit. A minute or two either way is all it will need.

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250g soft butter
2/3 cup icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup toasted pinenuts
2 cups plain flour (you may need a little extra depending on the dough consistency)

Cream the butter and sugar, add the lemon zest and rosemary and beat well. Add the sifted flour and the nuts, and mix until the dough clumps together. Turn out onto a clean benchtop and knead briefly until the dough comes together and is smooth – you will need to work fairly quickly otherwise the dough gets too soft. 

Roll the dough into logs, wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate until firm (an hour or two should do it, but you could make this dough a day or two ahead if you wanted). 

Slice the logs into biscuits, about 7-8mm thick, and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 10 minutes. They should be just starting to go golden around the edges, and they will burn quickly so keep an eye on them. They do spread slightly on the tray, but not a lot.

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Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.

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Cheesy Rosemary & Onion Damper

We have an abundance of rosemary growing in our garden right now. It’s been raining a lot lately, and it’s making the rosemary go nuts. Perfect excuse for roast lamb, which means leftover roast lamb, which means sandwiches! Even better, have that leftover meat with some tomato relish and an easy homemade rosemary damper.

Damper is a traditional Australian style of bread, which used to be baked mostly in the coals of a campfire. It was a plain bread, often eaten with butter and/or golden syrup. These days you can make it at home in an oven, which is less messy, and you can add all sorts of ingredients to make it a bit fancier.

damper

1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheese
1 1/4 cups water

Saute the onion in some oil or butter until soft, set aside to cool. Preheat an oven to 180C and grease a biscuit tray.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips. Mix in the rosemary, onion and cheese. Add 1 cup of water and mix until it starts to come together as a dough. Turn out onto a floured workbench and knead it all together with your hands. Add extra water or flour as need while kneading to bring it to a smooth dough.

Shape into a round about 2 inches thick, and place on the tray. Cut a cross in the top of the dough about 1 cm deep. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle on some extra grated cheese if you want. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the damper is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.

cooked damperIt’s dense stuff, so it’s pretty filling. Open sandwiches are usually a better bet with damper, or you can always just eat it as it is, fresh from the oven with a good amount of butter. Or use it to mop up gravy!