Sweet & Savoury Dandelion Rosemary Shortbread

Growing up with Scottish grandparents, shortbread featured heavily in our family celebrations—Christmas, mainly. Each aunt made a version of my grandmother’s standard recipe, while my mother (a defiant non-Celt) makes a light whipped cookie with neon green and red cherry centres. I like my shortbread dense, crazy buttery and undecorated. Not quite like my grandmother’s, not quite like my mother’s… More like…mine. In fact, one could say I’m somewhat uptight about shortbread. But one, would be kind of nasty in saying so. So, let’s not even go there. What really matters here is that I pulled the proverbial butterstick out of my arse and broadened my shortbread horizons. We needed a gluten-free confection for an Urban Wild Foods Walk and Tasting. And so, I set to dreaming up something sweet, but not too sweet. Herbal, but not too herbal. Interesting but not too fussy. To me, these provisions described two of my favourite things perfectly—dandelions and shortbread. Traditional, simple, magical. Here’s the recipe:


2  cups brown or white rice flour

1 cup organic, unsalted butter

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup organic sugar of your choice

1/4 cup emmental cheese (Swiss cheese – You can substitute sharper hard cheeses, but watch the salt! If you go for parmesan or asiago, then skip the sea salt)

1/4 cup dandelion petals & greens, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely-chopped rosemary

black pepper to taste

sea salt to sprinkle on top


In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar and honey until light & fluffy. Add in dandelion petals and chopped leaves. Be sure to remove the green sepals. I just pinch them until petals pop out. Mix in just until combined.

Stir the rice flour into butter mixture in 2 additions. After the first addition, stir in the emmental cheese, rosemary and a bit of fresh ground black pepper (to taste). Stir in the 2nd addition of flour to make smooth dough.

Roll the dough in waxed paper to form a firm cylinder. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)

Slice your cylinder of gorgeous, dandelion/rosemary/pepper-flecked dough into 1 inch thick rounds (*note* in the photo the cookies are thinner – I was running short on dough and needed A LOT of cookies for an event, so I cut them thinner and reduced the time) using a sharp knife and place a good 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Bake for 20 minutes—rotating your pan half-way through. Keep a keen eyeball on them during the last few minutes. You want them just golden.

The cookies will be very delicate when they first come out of the oven. Spare yourself some heartache and let them cool on the cookie sheet. When cool, transfer them to…your mouth.

Dandelion: powerful, yet gentle diuretic; liver-supporting; stabilizes blood sugar levels; contains Vitamins C & A; high in iron; rich in potassium, regulates excess fluids—good for skin, liver & kidneys

Magical properties: Divination, wishes, calling spirits

Rosemary: tonic; astringent; diaphoretic; stimulant; excellent stomachic and nervine; good for headaches; externally used to treat dandruff

Magical properties: Fidelity, remembrance, dispels jealousy

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36 thoughts on “Sweet & Savoury Dandelion Rosemary Shortbread

  1. Brilliant post … “uptight about shortbread” is something I can relate to 🙂 Love the recipe and the images … I shall imitate in due course and give credit where credit is due…

    1. I don’t see why not… The texture may be more cake-like with the honey & wheat flour…but they should turn out. I’ll have to test it out. If you beat me to it, let me know!

  2. Is slicing them 1 inch thick right? They look about 1/4 inch thick in the picture.I want to make these tomorrow and just thought I should check 🙂

    1. I had to stretch my dough for an event, so I cut them thinner and watched the time/heat. Hope they turn out well for you! All ovens are different, so keep a keen eye near the end. You want them just golden…~ Jennifer

    2. shortbread does not really spread or change shape much, so once you make your round cut them about 1/4 inch or the won’t cook.

      1. Hi again,

        Athena makes a good point in her comment about the saltiness of Parmesan. You’ll likely want to skip the sea salt if you opt for a salty cheese. Hope it’s not too late and you’re stuck with a batch of salty biscuits!

      2. I made these today, I used Kerrygold Dubliner cheese. I used a sorghum/rice flour blend. Almost forgot to put the salt on top, but I got it on them halfway thru baking! Thanks for the recipe, they are really good!

    1. Hi Kate,

      This freezes beautifully! I’ve found thawing it in the fridge works best if you’re organized enough to plan for the thaw time


  3. Looks wonderful! Now I am just looking for a gluten and oat free dandelion cookie recipe. Would you happen to have one? Hard to find.

  4. Reblogged this on See You in WELL and commented:
    I love this idea of cooking with wild plants. Dandelions get such as bad rap and are really quite beneficial for your health. So, lay off the weed killer and eat them instead. I cannot wait to make these cookies and start following this blog!

  5. This sounds gorgeous.
    Just a note: Parmesan cheese has about double the sodium of Emmenthal Swiss, enough to change the balance of sweet to savoury in this dish. If you decide to use the Parmesan, I would be careful about the sea salt.
    I plan to make this in a day or two; instead of pepper, I am going to grind some grains of paradise and use instead of the salt. Can’t wait to taste the result! My strawberry patch is starting to produce… will make for a terrific Mother’s Day brunch! <3

    1. Thanks Athena! And yes, good point regarding the Parmesan sodium bit. Spot on. I’ll try it today and skip the sea salt to see how it turns out. And I’m so jealous of your strawberry patch! Ours are still a ways off. – Jennifer

  6. These look beautiful and delicious! Is there any way I can make them without cheese? What would happen to the texture?

    1. Hi Cindy,
      I’ve made these with just a couple of tablespoons of cheese and they turned out. I did bake them a little longer as they took longer to brown… But I’m not sure how they’d turn out without any cheese. Sorry! If you try it let me know! ~ Jennifer

  7. I’m curious if and what you would recommend substituting for the rosemary. I’ve tried and tried but I really don’t like rosemary. But I love dandelions and finding more things to do with them.

    1. Grand fir is a wonderful substitute for rosemary or you could try mint! Sorry for the late response!

      1. You could also try ground/cracked juniper berries. They are a good detoxifier and mild diuretic, much like the dandelion petals. They will give you that “piney” taste, much like rosemary.
        I was thinking about toasting some pine nuts and adding them to the mix– do you think that would work?

  8. Hi! How many cookies you were able to get from one batch (at the thinner slice)? We are hosting 16 folks, and it would be nice to serve two cookies each, but one will have to suffice if I can’t stretch it. They look so lovely!

  9. I just made these and they are delicious! I love the honey flavor with the rosemary, and I LOVE that they are made with rice flour! I made them just as you described, but I tossed in a few chopped violets because…well…they were right next to the dandelions I was picking. But it looked pretty!

  10. They just came out of the oven, and from the piece that burnt my mouth it tastes pretty yummy. I’m super excited to try it cooled down.

    They melted to flatter than a pancake. I followed the instructions to a T, and they melted off the pan in places and became a large pan shaped blob.

    How did you get yours so pretty and crisp looking?

    1. Hey there! Sorry, they didn’t turn out for you! Did you chill them for an hour? I haven’t had them spread on me yet, so I’m sorry but I don’t have any helpful advice on this one… 🙁 Jennifer

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