Plants, Family Traditions, and Rosemary Refrigerator Cookies

Plant Party Dessert Table
Suzan is so clever; the striped fans, made out of paper plates, also provide numbers for the drawing. Rosemary Refrigerator Cookies, bottom left. Photo credit: Marci Roe

No one has ever come to blows at my sister in law’s annual Plant Party but a cactus has been licked.

For more than 20 years now, Suzan has hosted an annual gardening get-together. In the spring, she creates a plant-friendly environment at her home for a morning of laughing, swapping, and brunching with friends. Everybody brings three plants to tell about. Numbers are drawn and plants are picked. No stealing, but alliances develop and lots of strategizing occurs. There’s also a fair dollop of oohing and aahing over babies, plant legacies, and Suzan’s prodigious gardening and domestic goddess talents. Our daughters and nieces come now. There’s so much love.

Perhaps it’s needless to say, but the Plant Party is one of my favorite things about spring.

The group has grown. This year, some 40 people spanning the age spectrum attended. Traditions have developed (there’s a weird ceramic squirrel that must be passed along each year). One of Suzan’s sons, my nephews, always works the beverage table. As the wine and mimosas flow, the jokes come freer and good-natured ribaldry bubbles.

Because it’s what we do here, people often bring something to compliment Suzan’s selection of brunch nibbles.

Years ago, I discovered these cookies. Dainty, tasty, and “full of yard” (kidspeak for “contains homegrown herbs”), I knew they’d be a perfect addition to this wonderful soiree. They were a hit, and I’ve brought them ever since.

Rosemary Refrigerator Cookies

Original source: Patty’s Herbs of Pearsall via Austin-American Statesman

Note that these cookies take two days to make, so plan accordingly.

2 cups flour

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 ½ teaspoons grated lemon rind

4 tbsps fresh rosemary, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

confectioner’s or granulated sugar (I used natural cane sugar)

  • Combine flour and butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal. To make these cookies gluten free, I use King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Baking Mix.
  • Add sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, lemon rind, rosemary, and salt. Mix well.
  • Spread out wax paper. Pat the dough into logs about 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap and chill overnight.
  • In the morning, slice the logs into ¼-inch cookies (keep them cool before slicing or they’ll get sticky). Sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake on nonstick cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Watch them closely – if you can smell the cookies, they probably need to come out. They burn quickly (no worries: just crumble the brunt ones over ice cream).
  • Makes about six dozen bite-sized cookies.

Rosemary Refrigerator Cookies


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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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