I'll never turn down a shortbread cookie for dessert, but offer me a savory-sweet one before dinner that pairs perfectly with cheese and a glass of bubbles? Yes, please!
This was my thinking when creating these delightfully rich, crumbly shortbread squares that can go from aperitif to dessert to second breakfast (don’t judge). They perfectly straddle the line between savory and sweet, and I love how the salty, tangy bites of blue cheese—I used Kerrygold’s Cashel Blue—are punctuated by the sweet dates and earthy rosemary.
And happily, they’re a cinch to make: Start with cold, salted butter straight from the fridge (European-style butter with 82% fat, like Kerrygold, makes exceptional shortbread). Make the dough in the bowl of a food processor, then press it directly into a sheet pan—no dough rolling or log forming required—and bake until golden brown. By scoring the shortbread with a knife into squares before baking, they’re easy to cut and remove from the pan when they’re done.
All of this means that in under an hour, you can have a batch of these beauties ready to go—for happy hour, snacking, and everything in between. Cheers to that!
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with Kerrygold. —The Editors
20 shortbread squares
(240 grams) all-purpose flour
(226 grams) Kerrygold salted butter, cut into chunks
(3 ounces, or 85 grams) blue cheese (such as Kerrygold Cashel Blue), crumbled
(120 grams) finely chopped pitted dates (such as Medjool)
In a food processor, add flour, sugar, and salt and pulse several times, or until well integrated.
Add the butter, blue cheese, and rosemary, and pulse until the mixture is crumbly (about 15 seconds), scraping down the sides if needed. Stop the processor and add the chopped dates; with a spoon, toss them in the flour so they don't stick together. Continue pulsing until large, damp clumps of dough start to form, about 10 to 15 seconds longer.
Press the dough into an un-greased 13- x 9-inch pan (or quarter sheet pan), using a flat-bottomed glass, measuring cup, or your hands to form an even layer.
Score the dough lightly with a knife, marking 4 rows by 5 rows to form 20 shortbread squares. Prick each square once or twice with a fork.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until shortbread is browned all over and firm to the touch. (Note: They’ll brown faster than typical shortbread because of the blue cheese, so keep your eyes on them!)
When done, remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. While the shortbread is still hot, use a knife to fully cut the shortbread along the lines you scored prior to baking. Allow shortbread to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, the shortbread bars will break apart very easily. Store in an airtight container.