Salty sweet herbed butter biscuits with za'atar

A tea-time treat with an Israeli twist


Whenever I make these biscuits, my guests are always intrigued — the results are buttery with a delicate salty-sweet flavour which plays with your taste buds


  • Using a stand mixer with a K blade, mix together the butter and olive oil at medium speed for 2–3 minutes, scraping the sides as you do so.
  • Add in the fine and coarse salt, icing sugar and sugar and mix briefly.
  • Add in the flour, cornflour and herbs. Mix until the ingredients come together to form a soft dough. Wrap and chill for 3 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Place half of the chilled dough on a floured sheet of baking parchment and flatten to 5mm (around 1/4 in) thickness. Using a knife, cut the dough into 7 x 3cm (2 ½ x 1 ¼ in) rectangles.
  • At this stage the dough is very soft, so transfer the rectangles, still on the baking parchment on a tray, to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  • Line two large baking trays with parchment. Transfer the chilled biscuits to these large lined baking trays, making sure to space them well apart.
  • Lightly brush each biscuit with water and sprinkle over coarse sea salt and za’atar.
  • Bake the biscuits (in batches if need be) for around 15 minutes, until the edges are golden.
  • Cool and store in airtight containers, where they will keep for at least a week.

Recipe adapted from The Girl From Tel Aviv

First published in the JC May 4 2020


225g butter, softened

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp fine salt

½ tsp coarse sea salt (I like to use Maldon)

4 tbsp icing sugar

2 tbsp sugar

250g flour, sifted

50g cornflour

1 tbsp mixed herbs (such as finely chopped fresh rosemary and thyme leaves or ½ tsp oregano and 2 ½  tsp za’atar)


Water, for brushing

Coarse sea salt


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