These salty, spicy cookies are inspired by cocktail nuts and are just as good with a drink.
Savory Mixed-Nut Shortbread
• 1 cup/227 grams salted butter
• 1 rosemary sprig, plus 2 tablespoons leaves
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 1/2 cups/300 grams all-purpose flour
• 2/3 cup/132 grams sugar, plus more for sprinkling
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
• 1 1/2 cups/115 grams mixed, salted nuts (avoid peanuts if possible), lightly crushed with a heavy skillet or mallet
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, rosemary sprig and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook over medium, swirling occasionally, until the butter is just melted. (You can also do this in a bowl in the microwave, stirring between 30-second bursts). Set aside to cool slightly. (Take a whiff of the butter; it smells like rosemary!)
In an ungreased 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan, use a fork to stir together the flour, sugar and cayenne until combined. Remove and discard the rosemary sprig from the butter. Pour the melted butter into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork to combine, then use your hands to mix until no dry spots remain.
Press the dough evenly into the pan. Prick all over with a fork. Sprinkle the nuts and rosemary leaves on top, shake into a single layer, then press firmly into the dough until the nuts’ sides are surrounded by dough. (This is important, otherwise the nuts won’t adhere.) Sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Bake until golden brown (including in the center) and the edges start to pull away from the sides, 35 to 40 minutes.
Let cool completely, then gently break up with your hands into jagged pieces. Nuts along the edge may fall out. (Those are yours to eat.) The shortbread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Total time: 45 minutes, makes one 9-by-13 pan (about 8 servings).