Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread

These hibiscus–flecked cookies have a wonderful crumbly texture and a delicate sweet, floral flavor. They keep beautifully up to two weeks, but are also great hot from the oven with tea. Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread

Hibiscus-Vanilla Bean Shortbread 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 42Source Adapted from Peels Restaurant & Bakery NYCPublished

Dried hibiscus can be found in some Latin and Asian specialty markets. Dried rose petals (or hibiscus) from your own garden could be substituted.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon dried hibiscus petals
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ vanilla bean, scraped

  • 2 cup cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup raw demerara sugar (if choosing the log option)
  • 1 egg white mixed with one tablespoon water for wash (optional)


In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and cream a bit further, just until combined.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the dried hibiscus into a rough, not too uniform powder. Mix it in to the butter mixture followed by, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds, each seperately. At a low speed, mix in the flour until the dough is uniform. It will be quite crumbly. Wrap the dough as a flat disc and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

Roll the dough to ½ inch thick between two pieces of parchment. Move to a large, flat tray. Alternatively, roll the dough into a 1 ½ to 2‑inch log and roll the log in demerara sugar, wrap the log in plastic wrap. Freeze the rolled out dough on the tray or wrapped log for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Remove the dough from the freezer and peel off the top layer of parchment. Cut into desired shapes using cookie 1 to 2‑inch cutters such (stars for the Holidays, hearts for Valentines day etc).  Or slice the demerara crusted log into ½‑inch slices. While still frozen, space the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about ½ an inch of space between cookies. Lightly brush the cookies with the well-mixed egg wash for a shiny look, optional.

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets and bake the cookies for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, until evenly golden brown.