Rosewater Shortbread

While I may have a frugal food blog, there are a few things in life that I don’t like to skimp on. It goes without saying that my preferred brand of tea is non-negotiable when it comes to the shopping list. When I’m baking I don’t compromise as shortcuts when it comes to quality always result in an item that’s less than perfect. Today’s recipe is a rosewater shortbread. Actually it’s not a real shortbread as I use an egg in the mixture, classic shortbread only has 3 ingredients: butter, sugar and flour but read on if you’d like to find out why I’m playing around with flavours today!Rosewater Shortbread - Wholesome Ireland - Food & Parenting Blog

Smells have such power to transport you back in time, to evoke a memory. Last night I put this to the test by sharing a couple of canisters of my favourite herbs and spices out amongst my fellow Toastmasters at our fortnightly meeting. The responses were simply lovely and it was a pure joy to be Topicsmaster last night! The smell of rosewater always reminds me of exotic packages of Turkish Delight shared at Christmas when I was growing up. The real version of this treat has no coating of chocolate at all, simply a fine dusting of cornflour over the cubes of jelly to keep them from sticking to one another in the round tin.

I received a care package from Nielsen-Massey a few weeks ago and it was very much appreciated. While their products are on the expensive side, I have found them to be one of the best when it comes to flavouring my bakes. I eke each bottle out by using a child’s medicine syringe so that I don’t lose any of the goodness inside!

As the flavour of rosewater can be delicate, I wanted to match it with something equally light so I decided to use rice flour instead of wheat flour along with some crumbled meringues for sweetness. Rice flour is far more absorbent than wheat flour and you will need to add an egg for extra moisture as the butter can be overpowering in this mixture otherwise. You might also note that this requires a lower and slower baking time than normal to allow the rice flour to soak up the liquid too. Otherwise you’ll be left with a very grainy texture.

Rosewater Shortbread (serves 8)


  • 150g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 30g golden caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • 200g rice flour
  • 2 crumbled meringue nests (shop bought or your own is fine)


Preheat a (fan) oven to 150 degrees Celcius. Line a small flan tin well with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and egg until you get a loose batter. Add the rosewater and mix through before adding the rice flour and stirring until you get a sticky dough. Crumble in the meringue and mix into the dough so that you have some lumps but that’s perfectly okay.

Spoon the dough into the lined baking tin and pat it down to compact using the back of a wet spoon.

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes before removing and scoring the break marks while still hot. Once cool, break apart along the marks and drizzle with a little icing sugar (mix 4 tablespoons icing sugar with 1 of water and a drip of rosewater).

Disclosure: While I received some samples from Nielsen-Massey recently, no mention was required or expected of me. As I like the products I elected to mention them.

12 thoughts on “Rosewater Shortbread”

  1. Mandie Leenheer

    I love rosewater!!! Have you tried it mixed with coconut milk? Mmmmmm
    I am so going to try this recipe. Although, being a Scot, it will be strange to stray from the original recipe 😉

    I just blogged my family recipe of tablet (Scottish sweets) if you are interested? 🙂

      1. Where Wishes Come From

        It is I suppose, but I love it. Another one that is a bit funny is earl grey, which I love too. The scent, and the taste. I once made ‘tea biscuits’ using (dry) earl grey tea leaves. They were surprisingly yummy!

  2. Hazel Katherine Larkin

    Rosewater is used a lot in Indian and Pakistani cooking, too.

    I have printed this recipe off to make it later cos i’ve just decided to go wheat and dairy free for a month and see if it improves my fatigue. I’ll substitute coconut oil for the butter and let you know how I get on. 🙂

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