Times-tested cookies perfect for holiday giving.

photoTuscan Rosemary and
Pine Nut Bars

1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet and toast in oven, stirring once or twice to prevent burning, until they are a shade darker, about 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to prevent further browning and set aside.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Remove pan from heat and stir in sugar, rosemary, salt and pine nuts. Combine until sugar is dissolved. Stir in flour to make a stiff dough.
Spread the dough evenly into an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake about 20 minutes until the dough is golden around the edges and firm in the center. Cool pan on a rack for a few minutes, then cut dough into bars or squares. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing. Makes 18 bars or 16 squares.

Times testing notes: These savory shortbreads are one of our favorite offerings this year. Serve them with tea or port; these aren’t your typical sweet cookie. Make copies of the recipe for your friends.

Source: “Short & Sweet: Sophisticated Desserts in No Time at All” by Melanie Barnard (Houghton Mifflin, 1999).

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