Orange Scentleaf (Clove Basil) Shortbread Cookies

Nigerian Cookies

Today, my second dessert offering to you are Orange Scentleaf Shortbread Cookies. I got this idea from one of my cookbooks which had an orange poppy seed shortbread cookie recipe. 

What makes this dessert Nigerian themed for me is that oranges and scent leaves (clove basil) are staple Nigerian ingredients; meanwhile shortbread cookies are something most of us grew up loving. Honestly, these cookies are dangerous; please try not to finish them before you actually serve them.( I finished the batch for these ones in less than 24 hours), there’s something about orange zest in almost anything, and then the scent leaves add another dimension of tart sweetness to them.


You can actually prepare the dough for the cookies in advance; wrap tightly in cling film (no air), and store in your freezer till the day you are ready to bake. Make sure you bring out the dough in advance to thaw on the day you decide to bake the cookies.

They can be had with any of your favourite drinks, here are some suggestions:



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest 
  • 8 whole scent leaves/clove basil leaves  
  • *If you use unsalted butter, then you can add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt*


To get your orange zest, I would suggest using an orange that is orange or orange-yellow. After washing the fruit, use a grater, microplane or zester to remove the orange coloured outer skin, but not the bitter inner white pith.

  1. Using your hands (which I did because I made a little batch), a cake mixer or food processor;  combine the butter, flour, and icing sugar and mix until the batter forms moist clumps.

  2. Then add your grated orange zest and whole scent leaves and mix in for a few seconds

  3. Using a rolling stick,roll out the dough evenly, after which you can use a cookie cutter of your choice to form cookie pieces.

  4. Preheat your oven to 300-350C depending on how hot your oven can get, and then line your baking tray with parchment paper or smear some butter on the tray to prevent cookies from sticking to tray

  5. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are baked (they shouldn’t be browned)

    Serve with a drink, ice cream or yogurt.

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