Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread

by Dorothy Reinhold on March 19, 2023

Print This Post Print This Post Square bar cookie Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread rests on a white marble countertop


Disclosure of sponsored content in this post for Spring Sweets Week

Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread is lightly sweet, deeply flavored, and perfect as a sophisticated cookie or even as the sweet treat on a cheese plate, accompanied by wine.

I’m deeply embedded in the fan club of sweet and savory flavors together, and I love baking sweets with herbs. This Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread is my latest find, and it’s so sophisticated, so Southern California in it’s presentation, that it might as well be the state cookie.

Flavored with fresh rosemary, orange zest, fragrant honey and toasty pine nuts, this is the bee’s knees.

Square cookie covered in pine nuts on a white marble countertop with flowered napkins behindMake it today, and come back and tell me all about it!

How to make Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread

Ingredients for Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread gathered on a white marble counterFirst, gather all your ingredients. For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Sugar
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Orange zest (I used the zest of a Cara Cara orange!)
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Pine nuts (I used a bag of pine nuts from Melissa’s Produce)
  • Honey

Sugar, rosemary and orange zest in the bottom of a silver mixing bowl, with white mixer paddleAdd sugar, rosemary and orange zest to a mixing bowl. You’ll mix until the sugar is moistened and starts to clump, to infuse the flavors into the sugar.

Cookie dough clumps around the white paddle in silver mixing bowlAdd the dough ingredients and mix until it begins to come together into a ball around the paddle.

A hand with outstretched fingers pats dough into a silver foil-lined baking panBy hand, press the dough into the foil-lined baking pan, patting it down evenly. You can see the rosemary flecks.

Hand holding a white measuring cup filled with pine nuts sprinkles the nuts on top of dough in silver baking dishSprinkle pine nuts over top. Since they will be baking in the oven, they don’t need to be pre-toasted.

Hand holding a spoon drizzles butter honey over top of pine nuts in a silver baking dishDrizzle the butter-honey mix over top.

Deep golden brown Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread in a silver baking panBake for about 40-45ish minutes, until deep golden brown.

Hand holding large knife cuts pine nut cookies into squares, atop foil sheet resting on a wooden cutting boardCool the cookies about 15 minutes, then use the foil to lift the whole block out of the pan, and cut the cookies. 

7 pine nut cookies stacked on a square white plate atop flowered napkins

I used the following items from our Spring Sweets Week sponsors to make Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread:

Anolon 9-inch square baking pan showing label inside9-inch square Anolon baking pan. I highly recommend this pan, which is thick, durable, commercial-grade and won’t warp in the oven. It gives consistent baking results, and the straight sides will give you uniform layers (for cakes, for example). You’ll have this pan your whole life!

1 whole orange and 2 orange halves showing inside segments on a white marble counterCara Cara orange from Melissa’s Produce. Cara Cara oranges are the pinnacle in sweetness, and their slightly pinkish flesh is charming. Buy some when you see them, starting in February and on.

Clear bag of light brown pine nuts on a white marble counterPine Nuts from Melissa’s Produce. I’m a pine nut girl. Mostly I toast them in a dry skillet and keep them on hand to throw onto pasta dishes for serving, but in this recipe, they are added atop the cookie base and they toast nicely in the oven while the cookie is baking. Pine nuts and rosemary are a match made in heaven!  

Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 16 bars

Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread

Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread is lightly sweet, deeply flavored, and perfect as a sophisticated cookie or even as the sweet treat on a cheese plate, accompanied by wine


  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (54 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (zest from 1 orange…use it all!)
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter, softened, divided use (if using unsalted butter, add ¼ tsp. salt to the dry ingredients)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour (97 grams)
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal (36 grams)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Heat oven to 325F degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, letting the edges hang over 2 opposite sides of the pan to be used as handles after baking.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine sugar, rosemary and orange zest and mix on low until sugar is moistened and begins to clump, about 2 minutes. This will infuse the sugar with the main flavors. Add 7 tablespoons of the butter and beat on medium until very light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl down twice during the butter mixing.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add cornmeal and flour. Mix for 30-60 seconds, until the dough forms around the paddle in a mass. It will at first look loose and sandy, and then will come together into more of a ball.
  4. By hand, crumble the dough over the bottom of prepared pan, patting it down with your fingers into an even layer. Sprinkle pine nuts evenly over top.
  5. In a small bowl, microwave the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the honey, until melted. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted mixture over the top of the bars, and then bake until the top is deep golden brown, 40-45 minutes. The pine nuts will toast during baking.
  6. Remove pan from oven and let it sit on a rack for 15 minutes (set the timer!). At 15 minutes, use the foil to lift the whole block of bars out of the pan, and set it on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 16 squares. Allow bars to cool completely and transfer them to an airtight container for storage.
  7. They will keep at room temperature for about a week, or wrap them tightly and freeze for longer storage.
  8. Makes 16 bars.


Recipe source: ever so slightly adapted from Milk Street.

Notes: --You may bake this in a 8- by 8-inch square baking if you like. --To make a larger batch, double all the ingredients and bake in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. --If you let the cookies cool entirely before cutting, you’ll probably get uneven shards. Better to follow the 15-minute cool-then-cut plan in the recipe. --Don’t use dried rosemary; it is too hard and crusty, with not enough flavor. Beg, borrow from neighbors, or buy a rosemary plant for yourself if you don’t already have one in your garden.

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Rosemary Pine Nut Cornmeal Shortbread Pinterest pin

Spring Sweets Week

It’s Spring Sweets Week, and we’re celebrating all things springy and sweet.

Welcome to #SpringSweetsWeek 2023 hosted by Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks! The sun is shining, the weather is getting warmer, and we’re celebrating the beginning of spring with plenty of spring sweets and a fun giveaway! This year 20 food bloggers from around the country are sharing over 75 sweet recipes that are perfect for spring. So get ready to enjoy amazing spring treats like cupcakes, cookies, pies, jams, and even a few beverages! Thank you to our #SpringSweetsWeek sponsors that are helping us give away some great prizes. Thank you to Melissa’s Produce, Anolon, Taylor and Colledge, and Selefina Spices for your generosity and support. We have an incredible giveaway with four amazing prizes and would love it if you would take a moment to read about it and the prizes that you can win! 

Prize #1:  A Fresh and Dried Organics Basket from Melissa’s Produce.

A box of fresh and organic fruits

One winner will enjoy an abundance of fruit with Melissa’s Fresh and Dried Organics Basket. This hand-woven basket holds a delicious combination of fresh and dried Organic fruits and is carefully wrapped with cellophane and finished with a colorful ribbon. Melissa’s Produce has everything from common apples and bananas to exotic passion fruit and kumquats. 

Prize # 2:  A $30 Gift certificate to Selefina Spices.

3 spice jars and a spoon with candied ginger on itOne winner will enjoy a $30 gift certificate to buy all their favorite spices for cooking and baking. Selefina Spices sells an assortment of spices gathered using dedication and care with which we’ve curated their online tea collection. With decades of experience sourcing products and establishing global connections, their mission is to bring you fresher, higher-quality spices and seasonings at lower prices. 

Prize #3:  A selection of 4 extract pastes from Taylor and Colledge.

Five tubes of extract pastes

One winner will receive a selection of extracts to include almond, lemon, organic vanilla bean, and lavender. In 1897, Taylor & Colledge won its first award for excellence in vanilla. Since then, the Taylor & Colledge commitment for unsurpassed quality has earned its reputation as one of the world’s finest producers of vanilla.

Prize #4:  AnolonPro Bakeware 2-Piece Set of Half Sheet Cookie Pans.

2 silver cookie sheets One winner will win a 2-piece set of 13-inch x 18-inch half sheet baking pans for cookies.  These aluminized steel professional sheet pans deliver unmatched durability and heat conduction for incredibly reliable results and are oven safe to 550°F.  You’ll be able to bake all your favorite cookies to perfection. Anolon Pro Bakeware gives you professional grade bakeware at affordable prices.

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Monday #SpringSweetsWeek Recipes

We share recipes from #SpringSweetsWeek on Pinterest! Make sure you follow the board to see all the delicious recipes shared this week.

Thank you #SpringSweetsWeek sponsors: Selefina Spices, Anolon, Melissa’s Produce, and Taylor and Colledge for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #SpringSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are mine. The #SpringSweetsWeek giveaway is open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Four (4) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #SpringSweetsWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #SpringSweetsWeek posts or entry.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Radha March 31, 2023 at 7:46 pm

The cornmeal shortbread bars sound amazing. I love the combination of flavors.


Lisa March 27, 2023 at 9:20 am

The shortbread sounds delectable and using pinenuts on top is perfect.


Inger March 26, 2023 at 6:43 pm

You’re right, these are a sophisticated cookie! So cool!


Christie March 25, 2023 at 2:54 pm

I am totally digging all those pine nuts on top! These look so delicious.


Sue Lau March 23, 2023 at 8:38 am

I really love using pine nuts and it sounds perfect with the cornbread cookie base.


Dorothy Reinhold March 23, 2023 at 1:09 pm

Pine nuts are my jam! I just want to clarify that it is not really a cornbread base, but there is cornmeal in the cookie base. I hope you make these!


Jolene March 21, 2023 at 6:27 am

I love a sweet and salty dessert and these look wonderful!


Cindy March 21, 2023 at 2:09 am

These are so different! I need to try making these cookies.


Wendy Klik March 20, 2023 at 6:54 pm

This is the perfect treat. I am in the sweet/savory camp also


Kate March 20, 2023 at 5:23 pm

I LOVE the idea of making these to go along with a cheese plate! That sounds just perfect.


Hezzi-D March 20, 2023 at 5:18 pm

What an interesting combination of flavors!


Karen's Kitchen Stories March 20, 2023 at 4:47 pm

I love your photos in this post, and the shortbread sounds fabulous.


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