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Posts tagged ‘rosemary shortbread cookies’

The Wedding, Part I

When my mother suggested that we run an extension cord from the barn to the field where I was to to be married, and plug the extension cord into her karaoke machine, and use the karaoke microphone to amplify the ceremony, I knew we had a problem.  I must have winced, because she added hastily, “Well, it would be cheaper than renting a sound system.”

She was right about that.  The estimate I’d gotten for a sound system was a whopping $700, and that was in addition to the cost of the band that would be setting up its own sound system in the barn.  The band, of course, was in addition to the cost of renting the barn in the first place, and getting our guests out there by bus, and hiring the caterer, and buying the wine, and renting the chairs and tables and forks and spoons.

But a karaoke machine?  I didn’t expect my wedding to appear in an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, but I also didn’t want it to run in a trashy magazine opposite a story about, say, a drunk groom who ran over himself with his own tractor.  My mother must have sensed my hesitation, because she leaned in confidentially and said, “We could cover the karaoke machine with a doily.  That way, the guests wouldn’t notice if any lyrics scrolled across the screen by accident . . ”

I scratched my head, which was killing me.  The wedding was in five days, and I’d been to a salon that morning where a stylist had shown me what my hair would look like twisted into an updo and solidified with a pound of hairspray.  I yanked out an offending bobbypin and wandered off toward the lake.

The lake posed another problem.  In the pictures I’d seen online it was a smooth emerald green, surrounded by trees and wild flowers and framed by rolling hills in the background.  It was perfect.  We would get married in front of the water, we decided, and have cocktails on the grass before heading into the barn for dinner and dancing.

And now–four days before the wedding–the lake was filled with loud, honking Canadian geese, many of whom appeared to be in various stages of mating.

“Well,” my mother began, “think of it this way.  Canadian geese mate for life, right?  It’s kind of. . . appropriate under the circumstances.”

The male geese arched their backs and jabbed at each other with their beaks.  The lady geese honked.  “I think I’m getting a migraine,” I announced.

“My main concern about the lake,” my mother continued, “is whether the dog will run into it with your wedding rings.”

She had a point.  Scott and I wanted to involve Thunder in the festivities, and had talked about tying our rings to her collar.  If someone unleashed her at the back of the aisle, we could probably count on her to waddle up to the makeshift altar–a farm table with hydrangeas on it–where we could give her a treat and collect the rings.  We weren’t worried about the lake initially, as bulldogs aren’t natural-born swimmers.  But then, a month before the wedding, we took her to Lake Michigan for the first time.  And she loved it.

Thunder at Lake MichiganSo we had a problem.

thunder with gogglesPossibly a big problem.


rosemaryI’ll be back soon with more on the wedding (and other things–oh, how I’ve missed writing to you!) but in the meantime, I must give you this recipe for rosemary shortbread cookies.

rosemary cookiesWe didn’t have a wedding cake; instead, we had a dessert table stocked with homemade pies and cakes and cookies, including these rosemary ones.

They’re easy to make–I was able to churn out three batches two days before the wedding because the recipe is simple and the dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated.  They have just the right balance of salty and sweet, and they’ve got the classic shortbread consistency—on the dry side but still tender and buttery.

rosemary cookiesHappy weekend, everyone!

Rosemary Shortbread Buttons {Download & Print Recipe}
from the December, 2002 issue of Gourmet magazine.  I didn’t change the ingredients but made a lot of changes to the instructions.


2 c. flour

1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (don’t skimp unless you have to)

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 sticks butter (preferably unsalted)

2 Tbsp. honey

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 to 3 tsp. granulated sugar


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, rosemary, salt, and baking powder.  In a mixer, mix the butter, honey and powdered sugar together until it’s smooth.  Add the flour mixture to the mixer and mix for 10-15 seconds, until the dough is evenly moistened but still dry and hasn’t totally come together.  Flour a work surface and dump the dough onto it.  Gather the pieces together into a round shape with your hands.  Push the shape together a few times and turn the shape over and press down again so that it comes together into a dry but coherent dough.  (The original recipe says “knead 8 times” but I found that excessive.)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

If you have parchment paper or wax paper, lay a piece down on your work surface and then put the dough on top of it.  Put another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin (into any shape) until it’s about 1/3″ thick.  Remove the top piece of parchment paper.

If you don’t have parchment paper or wax paper, it’s not a big deal.  Generously flour your rolling pin and your work surface and roll the dough out (into any shape) until it’s about 1/3″ thick.

Using a small biscuit cutter or a glass (I used a champagne glass), cut cookies out of the dough.  Transfer them to a baking sheet, preferably one lined with parchment paper (again, not a big deal if you don’t have any).  You don’t want the cookies to almost touch, but you also don’t have to leave a lot of space between them because they won’t spread.

Sprinkle some of the granulated sugar on top of the cookies.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until you think the cookies are just about to turn slightly golden.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.