Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

It always comes as such a surprise to me when someone doesn't like a flavour that I love. I know that different people's tastebuds perceive flavours differently, and what is delicious to some is bitter and abhorrent to others. Cilantro is a good example, I know several people who find it soapy and bitter, whereas I adore it. On an intellectual level, I understand that there is something physiological underlying this, but it still doesn't keep me from being utterly astonished when someone professes disgust at a food I love. I suppose I just think that there are certain flavours that should be universally loved. Rosemary is one such flavour. I remember a friend in grad school telling me she didn't like focaccia because she didn't like the rosemary on top. I couldn't fathom it. This simply didn't can you NOT like rosemary?

We've had a source of fresh rosemary around for almost a year now. Last spring, we had several pots of herbs on our patio, and when the weather got too cold in the fall, we brought them inside and put them on the windowsill of our big, south-facing front window. Just as that one plant was beginning to die out, around Christmas, a friend gave us a large rosemary plant in the shape of a Christmas tree from Trader Joe's. That plant has thrived, although it's no longer in the shape of a tree, from all of my trimmings and using for recipes. But it's so wonderful to have, and I love coming up with recipes to showcase that sharp, evergreen flavour.

This particular recipe is one I had rolling around in my brain for quite some time. I love the idea of a savoury shortbread, and rosemary seemed like a perfect match for it. Although I call it shortbread, it's not shortbread in the strict sense of the word. True shortbread is an interplay between butter (or shortening) and flour. But without the gluten in flour, I have to find another way to bind the ingredients together. In this case, an egg is my binder and the butter is actually kept to a minimum. With a low oven temperature and a longer baking time, I can mimic the texture of shortbread, even with low carb, gluten free ingredients.

The Results: can you not love it? And this savoury shortbread is a wonderful way to showcase that crisp, evergreen taste. The parmesan provides a salty, sharp complement to the rosemary, and the sea salt on top adds an elegant touch. These are perfect as an afternoon snack or an appetizer before dinner. Perfect with a glass of wine.

Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 cup finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp ground sea salt

Preheat oven to 250F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, parmesan, rosemary, salt, pepper and mustard. Stir in egg and melted butter and mix well until dough comes together.

Roll out dough between sheets of parchment or waxed paper to 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible, then reroll dough and repeat until no more shortbread can be cut.

Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on pan.

Makes 16 shortbread. Each piece has 2.13g of carbs.

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