Friday, March 2, 2012

Parmesan Sundried Tomato Pumpkin Seed Pesto Shortbread Cookies

Long weekends are like lighthouses during a dark, stormy night. They’re beacons of relaxation and salvation during the school year during which I renew and recharge my batteries. In the Toronto District School Board, we get a four-day weekend off in the middle of February for Family Day.
Every year, our school’s semi formal is held on the Thursday before the long Family Day week. Last year, my friends Huilin and Christina, and I had decided to go to semi. As it turned out, my dad decided that we should go skiing in Quebec instead. So Huilin, Christina, and I made a pact that we would definitely go to semi in junior year.

This year, I bought a ticket. I went shopping in my best friend Jenny’s closet and borrowed with one of her never-seen-the-light-of-day dresses. I chose heels out of my current collection of two pairs. I even painted my nails a bright, dark pink, despite the fact that nail polish is quite impractical for a girl who compulsive washes her hands because they just feel “sticky, who as a baker sticks her hands into bread doughs, who has to wash the dishes from her baking adventures.  

And then Huilin said she didn’t want to go to semi formal. And my friend who was supposed to be my date bailed on me. As disappointed as I was, I decided not to let anything ruin my night. I danced until I felt wobbly from the three-and-a-half inch heels and sweat poured down my face. I danced until I felt exhausted from the school day and the lack of sleep the night before. I danced until my head and heart pounded in rhythm with the bass.

After two hours, I was wiped and ravenous. I spent the next hour swaying half-heartedly to the music and checking the time on my phone every ten minutes. A group of my friends was going out to eat dinner after the dance and suddenly I couldn't wait for it to be over. While waiting for the rest of my friends to retrieve their jackets from the coat check, I sat down and took my heels off. Upon stretching my feet, I discovered that my right ankle was throbbing. Oh, fun, I thought drily. These heels are my shoes home. As everyone speed-walked to the subway station, I hobbled along the wet streets, each step a little more painful than the last. At last, I made it to the subway station and we went to eat a 2AM snack dinner at a hot pot restaurant. 

The next morning began the long weekend. I tried to sleep in, but the sunlight filtered through the blinds and awoke me. I cleaned my room, went to get my health card replaced, and watched a movie with a friend. Then I baked these Parmesan Sundried Tomato Pumpkin Seed Pesto Shortbread Cookies.

These savoury cookies and tangy and nutty, salty and cheesy, and pack a flavour punch. Like all shortbread cookies, they’re subtly addictive. They are the cookies you’d risk getting kicked out of the library for (Hi Tammy), sneaking surreptitious bites of buttery goodness.

Savoury Parmesan Sundried Tomato Pumpkin Seed Pesto Shortbread Rounds

Yield: 16 wedges  

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup sundried tomato pumpkin seed pesto
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix flour, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and garlic powder in processor. Add butter and, using on/off turns, process until dough begins to come together.

Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each disc until it is roughly half an inch thick. Place two rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and using a knife, cut each disc into eight wedges. Rearrange the shortbread so that there is some room in between each triangle. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over.

Bake shortbread rounds until tops are dry and bottoms are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer shortbread rounds to rack and cool completely. 


  1. Yum! Oh I love shortbread of all kinds, but I've never had a savory short bread. I will have to change that asap.

  2. What a creative and savory cookie!

  3. Good for you for going alone. I bet you looked great. That's the price of the pain for your poor feet! Such a love/hate relationship with heels.

    This shortbread looks ah-mazing!

  4. I've never heard of a savory shortbread... This would go so well with simple soups or some veggie stir fries. Yum! P.S. I never paint my nails either, they never last with the million dishes I tackle daily.

  5. YUM! These look great Kyleen, I have to make them!

  6. Things I love - shopping in my friends' closets. Things i don't love - achy breaky heels. sounds like a fun night though! And I love this shortbread! What a tasty treat.

  7. Wow! These look and sound amazing. Love that bird's eye-view shot on the blue checkered tablecloth. And I love the name.

  8. Hi Kyleen - I love shortbread... regular shortbread. I've seen a number of savoury shortbreads recently - they look really interesting. I can't imagine what it must be like to have a shortbread, but without the sugar - I'd find it really strange at first I think - but I'd really love to try! They look really good, and the colour is beautiful too!

  9. when i started reading your post title, I expected a savoury recipe, then i got to the end and i thought "SHORTBREAD?!" these sound super interesting! im a little skeptical though cuz i like to separate my savoury from my sweet LOL

  10. Lovely, creative and inventive recipe.

  11. Hey Kyleen!!

    I nominated you for a Liebster award... I love your passion for cooking and baking!

    Go here to check out your Liebster :) Keep it up!!

  12. Hey I found your blog through unhip squirrel, where you and my own blog were awarded the Liebster Blog. Wow, this is such a creative idea. I've recently become fascinated with savory 'sweets' and am making a note to make these at my next opportunity! The photography is great too!

  13. i love how you made savory cookies! pesto adds such a wonderful touch to any dish, so i'm sure these were delish!

    ps - glad you went out to the semi even though your close friends didn't. haha i remember those days when i first started wearing heels. i don't even bother anymore! hope u still can treasure a wonderful memory! :)

  14. This looks good! I'm the same way I make most of my siblings birthday cakes and I have to go way extreme with it. If you would like the recipe for the ice cream cake I am hoping to post it today!

  15. Love this savoury version of shortbread. I think they will be very good for parties!

  16. oh these are so cute- what a great idea and fabulous mix of ingredients!

  17. These look amazing! I have a cookbook called Savory Baking and I simply love everything in it (that I've made so far). They have tomato cookies as well, but they're slightly different and I haven't made them yet, but I'm really interested in how a savory cookie would taste.


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