Lemon rosemary shortbread bars

Creamy lemon rosemary shortbread bars are a soft yet sturdy rosemary infused shortbread cookie crust with zesty rosemary lemon curd. They're simple to whip up, but oh so decadent and a true ode to spring. They're truly the perfect way to celebrate the herbaceous season ahead.

lemon rosemary bars sliced into triangles with creamy lemon rosemary curd on top with one slice on it's side showing thick shortbread

The herb garden is filled with rosemary, but instead of a savory rosemary recipe: why not make a sweet shortbread recipe with them? The flavor of Meyer lemon (or any lemon, really!) pairs so perfectly in these rosemary lemon bars.

Why you'll love this recipe:

These delicious bars are buttery, creamy, smooth and tart with the perfect balance of sweetness. Welcome warmer and sunshine filled days with a fresh rosemary treat, that's decadent and all wrapped up in one perfect square. This recipe is so simple and comes together with ease.

This buttery shortbread cookie crust is my tried and true recipe that you'll find in so many recipes here on frolicandfare.com, like this Lavender lemon tart or our lavender lemon bars. It works like a charm and ends up in sturdy, but soft, which make a perfect tart or pie crust. The creamy rosemary lemon curd deserve a spot of it's own on the blog too, like our Lavender lemon curd.

tools you need:

You'll need to create a double boiler for your rosemary lemon curd by adding a glass bowl over a medium sized sauce pan in which your bowl can sit comfortably over. You don't want the bowl to touch the water, because it's imperative you don't over heat your eggs and scramble them. That would not be a good way to enjoy lemon curd. 

homemade double boiler with small sauce pan with large glass bowl on top
This is how we make our own double boiler, we use a medium size sauce pan with a bowl that fits over top, but does not touch the bottom of the pan to prevent directly heating our lemon curd.

You'll also need a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or food processor/blender to make the fine rosemary lemon sugar for the shortbread base. If you do not have any of these tools but want to proceed, make the lemon curd - try to finely chop the rosemary with a knife, and sieve the lemon curd into the jar when you're done and ready to store to ensure no small pieces remain.

Ingredients you need:

overhead shot of bowls with ingredients needed to make rosemary shortbread base on a bright marble background

Shortbread:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Vanilla extract (or lemon extract)
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Juice + zest from one lemon

Rosemary lemon curd:

  • Fresh lemons, juice and zest
  • Large eggs - egg yolks only - this will make your curd nice and thick. Save those egg whites for macaroons or an omelette! 
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt

The process:

Getting prepped:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line your tin with parchment paper, leaving enough paper on the sides, so that you can easily lift the tart after it's baked and cooled. I used an 8x8 baking pan.

Shortbread Base:

  • In a mortar and pestal or food processor, make a lemon rosemary sugar by adding your rosemary, lemon zest and sugar. Finely process until it's a very fine sugar.
  • Place your rosemary lemon sugar you just combined + your lemon juice into your butter & salt. In a stand mixer or a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter by mixing for five minutes or until the butter has taken on a deeper yellow color on low speed, that’s a good indicator that your ingredients are creamed.
  • Add in your vanilla and flour and stir well, eventually using your hands to create a dough. The dough starts off as a crumbly dough, but comes together with ease once you work it with your hands.
  • Press dough into the prepared pan - parchment paper-lined pan. Poke holes with a fork to prevent your shortbread from bubbling. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Your cookie may still appear soft and fluffy. It will harden more once removed from oven. While it's in the oven, make your lemon rosemary curd.
beautiful arrangement of sliced lemon rosemary bars in pattern garnished with pink and yellow roses

The rosemary lemon curd:

  • In a mortar and pestal or food processor, make a lemon rosemary sugar by adding your rosemary, lemon zest and sugar. Finely process until it's a very fine sugar.
  • Mix your lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, and rosemary lemon sugar until well combined
  • Pour mixture into double boiler or heatproof bowl.
  • Place bowl over simmering (not boiling) water in a medium-size pan.
  • Once your water is simmering, reduce heat. You do not want to overcook your eggs.
  • Stir continuously to ensure eggs are not overheating.
  • Continue mixing for 10 minutes, finally adding your butter and mixing until completely incorporated.
  • Sieve the curd over your cooled cookie crust and let it cool in your fridge for at least two hours before serving.

expert tips: 

  • Do not make lemon curd over direct heat. Meaning you need to make the glass bowl double boiler or use one that you already have. 
  • Do not make lemon curd in a metal bowl. The acidity will react to it and your lemon curd will have a metallic taste. 
  • If you have a silicone whisk, use that to whisk your lemon curd regularly instead of a metal one.
  • Make a bigger batch of rosemary sugar than you need and store it in an airtight container for your tea and everything else - because you will definitely want to sprinkle it on everything!
angled shot of lemon rosemary shortbread bars with pink roses and rosemary garnish on top, styled on top of brown parchment paper

More homemade shortbread:

Frequently asked questions:

what is lemon curd:

Lemon curd is typically made of four basic ingredients: egg, sugar, lemon, and butter, which are gently cooked together, until thick, and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, flavor-packed spread. In this adaptation, we use rosemary sugar.

How long do these bars last?

Up to five days in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze these bars?

Yes, but if you want to freeze them, freeze the shortbread cookie and rosemary lemon curd separately. Assemble after thawing.

How do I store them?

In an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Can I add other herbs?

Absolutely. Basil mint or thyme would be divine here as well.

Lemon rosemary shortbread bars

Lemon rosemary shortbread bars

Yield: 18 bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Creamy lemon rosemary shortbread bars are a soft yet sturdy rosemary infused shortbread cookie crust with zesty rosemary lemon curd. They're simple to whip up, but oh so decadent and a true ode to spring. They're truly the perfect way to celebrate the herbaceous season ahead.

Ingredients

  • For the rosemary shortbread cookie crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • For the rosemary lemon curd:
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, sieved
  • 3 large eggs - yolks only
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Shortbread base:
  • In a mortar and pestal or food processor, make a lemon rosemary sugar by adding your rosemary, lemon zest and sugar. Finely process until it's a very fine sugar.
  • Place your rosemary lemon sugar you just combined + your lemon juice into your butter & salt. In a stand mixer or a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter by mixing for five minutes or until the butter has taken on a deeper yellow color on low speed, that’s a good indicator that your ingredients are creamed.
  • Add in your vanilla and flour and stir well, eventually using your hands to create a dough. The dough starts off as a crumbly dough, but comes together with ease once you work it with your hands.
  • Press dough into the prepared pan - parchment paper-lined pan. Poke holes with a fork to prevent your shortbread from bubbling. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Your cookie may still appear soft and fluffy. It will harden more once removed from oven. While it's in the oven, make your lemon rosemary curd.

2. The rosemary lemon curd:

  • In a mortar and pestal or food processor, make a lemon rosemary sugar by adding your rosemary, lemon zest and sugar. Finely process until it's a very fine sugar.
  • Mix your lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, and rosemary lemon sugar until well combined
  • Pour mixture into double boiler or heatproof bowl.
  • Place bowl over simmering (not boiling) water in a medium-size pan.
  • Once your water is simmering, reduce heat. You do not want to overcook your eggs.
  • Stir continuously to ensure eggs are not overheating.
  • Continue mixing for 10 minutes, finally adding your butter and mixing until completely incorporated.
  • Sieve the curd over your cooled cookie crust and let it cool in your fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Notes

what is lemon curd?
Lemon curd is typically made of four basic ingredients: egg, sugar, lemon, and butter, which are gently cooked together, until thick, and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, flavor-packed spread. In this adaptation, we use rosemary sugar.

How long do these bars last?
Up to five days in the refrigerator

Can I freeze these bars?
Yes, but if you want to freeze them, freeze the shortbread cookie and rosemary lemon curd separately. Assemble after thawing.

How do I store them?
In an airtight container, at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Can I add other herbs?
Absolutely. Basil mint or thyme would be divine here as well.

Nutrition Information
Yield 18 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 236Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 77mgSodium 78mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 1gSugar 12gProtein 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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Wonderful to meet you here! I’m Sarah, the woman behind the apron and camera at frolic and fare. I love to add herbs and edible flowers to everything imaginable, and weave my magic into our meals with intention and purpose. I treasure using whole food ingredients to develop gourmet, garden inspired recipes that you will cherish for years to come. We celebrate traditions in a modern world, making our recipes approachable and enchanting. Thank you for being here, I hope you find what you're looking for.

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