This post is a shout out to everyone who is sick to death of holiday over-indulgence: fruit cake, panettone (yes, panettone), christmas cookies, kugel, stollen, chocolate truffles, sugar cookies, egg nog, and on and on. In early December all that powdered sugar and almond paste is so exciting and new! Like turkey on Thanksgiving Thursday; then by the fifth turkey-and-cranberry sandwich on Sunday you’re: so. over. it.

So now that we’re nestling into mid-January I propose a return to normalcy. Nothing so dramatic as a cleanse or diet. But I’m talking about rosemary shortbread. You may be scratching your head saying huh? I thought you were sick of cookies?! Well I am. But sometimes if you have people over or are asked to bring a dessert there’s no getting around it. So what I’m proposing are these salty-mildly sweet buttery cookies. Serve these after the main course has digested and your guests will perk up instantly and feel not that they’re over-indulging circa Dec. 31st, but, that they’re being responsible grown-ups enjoying a delicious (and addictive I might add), but not absurd, dessert.

Plus these can be made from start to finish in about 40 minutes and use mostly ingredients you’re likely to have on hand. They stay good for at least a week sealed in an air-tight container. Leftovers go well at the office around 11 am with that second cup of tea or coffee when your stomach doesn’t realize that lunchtime is still two hours away.

So congratulations on doing more yoga, quitting smoking, getting the blood pressure down, and eating better desserts in 2012.

Special thanks to my stepmother Bonnie for this just-in-time recipe.

Rosemary Shortbread

2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus a little extra for sprinkling and photo shoots
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temp.
2 tbsp honey
1/2 c powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate, large bowl, mix together the butter, honey, and sugar. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring to combine.

Shape the dough into a ball, gently kneading it.

Press the dough into two 9-inch cake pans, square or round. (Use square if you want square or rectangular cookies, round for round ones.) The dough will be quite thin but will rise a little in the oven. Lightly score the dough with a knife to the size/shape cookies you desire before placing in the oven.

Before baking, sprinkle rosemary and a little sea salt on top, then bake for approx. 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut the cookies where you had scored them.