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Shortbread Basil Apricot Cookies

Apricot shortbread cookies with orange zest and fresh basil.

Shortbread Basil Apricot Cookies may sound like an odd combo, but after the first batch I know you will be making more! They have zesty citrus flavor with a touch of basil. Apricot cookies are the perfect addition to a cup of tea at an afternoon party.

Longer warmer days are finally here and I’m spending much more time outside. Everyone I know is tending their gardens or planting fresh flowers. I spent the entire day last Sunday filling my porches with potted herbs, hanging colorful baskets, and training my mandevilla to attach to the deck railing. My green thumb isn’t the best, but I put forth a great effort.

I love being surrounded my plants! My father is an expert horticulturist whose skillful knowledge did not permeate through at a younger age. Though, now as an adult I find myself calling him with plant questions. Isn’t it funny how things always turn full circle? Nonetheless I am determined to have a thriving herb garden this year! (yes, my childhood home is beautifully landscaped with a plethora of stunning flowers)

The herbs I’ve chosen to mindfully cultivate are lemon thyme, rosemary, lavender, oregano, parsley, and sweet basil. I picked basil for my first recipe incorporating my porch garden. Apricot basil shortbread cookies have two tablespoons of freshly chopped basil. Mixed with the citrus notes of orange zest and dried apricots the basil adds a hint of sweet mint. Trust me you will be scarfing these cookies just as quickly as I did!

how to make shortbread cookies with apricots and basil.

Homemade shortbread cookies with fresh basil.

What do Apricot Basil Shortbread Cookies taste like?

The flavor of these cookies is mainly apricot and orange. Basil brings a sweet almost spicy mint flavor to the strong citrus. When sweet basil is eaten raw it can have a peppery taste, but when baked its more of a minty clove. So using basil in cookies creates a fresh balance.

Try these Dried Apricots :

Made in Nature Organic Dried Apricots

Mariani Organic Sun Dried Unsulfured Apricots

 What are Shortbread Cookies?

Shortbread cookies use a large amount of butter to create their texture. Without the use of leavening agents like baking powder, the cookies retain their shape easily without spreading. Hence the term “short” meaning they do not rise.

Tips for Shortbread Apricot Cookies:

  • Sift your flour to make an even mixture.
  • Mix cold butter into the flour, sugar, and salt by hand, rubbing the butter into the flour to create thick cornmeal consistency.
  • Add blended dried apricot and basil into the dough with hands.
  • Work in vanilla extract and orange zest last.
  • Form a ball of dough and wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Make sure dough chills for a minimum of 30 minutes, to help butter firm.
  • Dough can be made the day before, then just let sit on counter for about 15 minutes before rolling out.
  • Use half the dough at a time, keeping the other half in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Dust your countertop and rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking.
  • I used a 2 inch flower cookie cutter, but feel free to use any shape or size.
  • Bake cookies on the middle rack.
  • I keep a close eye on them and remove just when the edges start to show a little browning.
  • They will be a little soft, but firm as they cool.
  • Store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to a week.
  • Pair your apricot basil cookies with a fresh pot of peach tea. You will feel like a royal sipping and eating on your porch amongst the flowers..(or maybe that was just my personal vision)
Homemade apricot cookies served with peach tea.
Apricot shortbread cookies with orange zest and fresh basil.
5 from 2 votes
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Shortbread Basil Apricot Cookies

Shortbread Basil Apricot Cookies, a citrus shortbread with a touch of basil. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apricot, basil, shortbread cookie
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
chilling time 30 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Servings 42 cookies
Calories 63 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups (218 g) all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (165 g) Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 cup (190 g) cold unsalted butter sliced and cubed
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (95 g) chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sweet basil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ Tbsp orange zest

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sifted flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Drop in your small cubes of butter and begin mixing together with your hands. Squeeze the butter and flower mixture, working until it resembles cornmeal.
  3. Next, take your chopped basil and apricots and blitz them in a food processor or blender for a couple seconds for an extra chop. (don’t overdo, this is just to make the pieces smaller, not to create a liquid)
  4. Add your basil, apricots, orange zest, and vanilla to your flour mixture.
  5. Lovingly work the ingredients together by had, mixing thoroughly to create a cookie dough texture.

  6. Dough should be moist but firm. (if you feel it is dry add a Tbsp of water..dough should NOT be sticky)
  7. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.
  8. Place dough in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  9. *dough can be made the day before and kept in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to bake place dough on counter for 30-45 min to slightly thaw. Work in your hands to help the dough become more pliable, since the butter will have hardened.*
  10. Preheat oven to 325 F (163 C) and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Remove dough from the fridge and slice in half.
  12. Place one half on a gently floured surface and roll out to 1/8 inch -1/4 inch thickness.
  13. Use your cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as you can.
  14. Transfer cookies to baking trays. *cookies will not spread much, so you can place them a half inch apart*
  15. If dough has slightly warmed, place tray in cookies to cool and firm for 10-15 minutes before baking.

  16. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges start to golden in color. Bake time may differ between ovens, so keep an eye on the first batch.
  17. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
  18. Set cookies on cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Brew a pot of peach tea or grab some milk, pull up a chair outside and nibble your cookies while smelling all the fresh flowers! *The number of cookies you get will depend on the size cutter you use. I was able to make 42 cookies with a 2 inch cutter*

7 Comments

  • Reply
    Britt .eu
    May 7, 2019 at 8:32 pm


    LOVED them! I was skeptical bc I make shortbread a lot and I use refined white sugar and one egg. Didn’t understand how the dough would come together. But after adding the blendered apricots and basil, it came together perfectly. These cookies are so so so good! Followed exactly except added a little flaky sea salt to top. Will definitely be keeping this recipe. Thank yuh for sharing it!!

    • Reply
      Jenn
      May 7, 2019 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Britt!! Thank you so much! I will have to try them with flaky sea salt 🙂

  • Reply
    elle
    July 1, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Could I leave out the basil for this recipe?

    • Reply
      Jenn
      July 5, 2019 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Elle, I haven’t tried them without the basil. It adds sweetness and moisture to the mix to keep the dough together.

  • Reply
    Leandra
    July 10, 2019 at 3:01 pm


    HI Jenn,
    looks like an amazing recipe. do you think I can sub lemon and mint in for the orange and basil in this recipe? Just working with what I have. planning to make a fresh apricot jam to go with these since we have so many from our apricot trees.
    thank you!

    • Reply
      Jenn
      July 11, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Leandra! You can definitely swap out the orange zest for lemon zest. Try the mint leaves and see how they go! I know the basil adds moisture and sweetness, so the mint should work fine. Let me know how they turn out.

    • Reply
      Jenn
      July 11, 2019 at 1:15 pm

      you can also try this recipe without adding the flowers!! https://twocupsflour.com/edible-flower-cookies/

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