How to make redwood cookies

See the recipe for shortbread cookies with redwood tips in action. Music: Dash Hammerstein

In the spring, coast redwood leaves have little bright green tips of new growth. Redwood needles are edible, but these redwood tips are the most tasty. They’re very tart in flavor with a slight evergreen taste. The redwood tips are high in vitamin C, making them ideal to help fight off colds and other ailments. I’m lucky enough to have a redwood growing in my yard, so I was able to grab some needles for this recipe. If you don’t have access to redwoods, rosemary, lavender, thyme, lemon zest, vanilla extract, or any interesting herb or zest you might have on hand can be used instead.
Shortbread Cookies With Redwood Tips
The finished product: These shortbread cookies have a slightly tart-evergreen flavor

Recipe: Shortbread Cookies With Redwood Tips


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped redwood tips (or another herb you have on hand)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk (I save the whites for my breakfast scrambled eggs)
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sanding sugar (or granulated sugar), for rolling


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using your hands, rub together the sugar and the coast redwood tips until fragrant, about 1 minute. This allows the oils from the needles to be released, intensifying the flavor.
  2. Add the butter into the bowl and attach the bowl to an electric mixer, or use a hand mixer, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the egg yolk and continue to beat until combined.
  4. Add the flour and salt and mix on low until just combined. Gather into a ball and turn out onto a floured work surface.
  5. To make circular cookies, roll the dough into a log about 1 ½ inch in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from fridge and allow to soften slightly. Roll dough log in sanding, or granulated sugar, and slice into ¼-inch thick rounds. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
  7. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely.

Total Time: 1 hour


Avatar for Sonia Morris

About the author

Sonia spent her summers in college interning for the League before joining in 2016. She currently serves as a Conservation Analyst and brings with her an extensive knowledge of the fish and invertebrates of the Bay Area.

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13 Responses to “How to make redwood cookies”

  1. Elizabeth

    This article is brilliant. The recipe does not specify the species of redwood tips. I am surrounded by sempervirens. Would that be okay to use? Thank you!!!!

  2. J

    Thank you for this recipe. I was gifted some fresh redwood after a storm. I will be making these to gift for the holidays thanks to your organized post and succinct video! Great work.

  3. Gayle Unzueta

    Can you use giant sequoia “needles”? we have 3 trees in our yard

    • Catharine

      Yes, if you haven’t gotten an answer to your question, yes, you can use Sequoia needles.

  4. Alan Solomon

    Thank you so much for your continued videos and now a shortbread cookie recipe!! The Trees themselves are my treat. One of these days I want to visit if not live with Redwoods in my backyard. A definite continued treat in my email basket. I look forward to your continued emails.

    Thank you again,

  5. Janice Burns Chainey

    What a unique recipe! As a great grandmother, surrounded by redwood trees, and being a propagator at heart of wildflowers and such, I will try the recipe. Need to buy some ingredients yet for cookies. I am starting a new San Francisco sourdough starter. My french bread never did too well, but sourdough and sourmilk waffles I am a master. I freeze them and use real maple syrup and real butter when I re-toast them. Before coronavirus I did a lot of traveling. so baking hasn’t been convenient. But thank you “guys and gals” for this idea. My homemade cookies never lasted long in the past. And I can always eat them by myself if no one else is there. Jan Chainey, San Mateo County.

    • Catharine

      Hi Jan. I live among Redwoods in the San Lorenzo Valley just up the SL River from Santa Cruz. I enjoyed reading your response. I also only use real maple syrup and butter, and I do a lot of fermenting, but have thought sourdough to be too needy (kneedy : ) as I would have to constantly be dealing with it. It is supposed to be easier to digest, so I have considered nurturing it more than once. Enjoy your Redwood cookies. I thought they meant Redwood cut rounds of branches to teach how to tell how old a tree is and what its history is like. I have taught with those in my kids outdoor classes. The kids love them even if not edible.

  6. Sharon Meagher

    Can the needles be purchased anywhere? I would love to try.

    • Save the Redwoods League

      Hi Sharon, though we can’t endorse any suppliers, seedlings can be purchased online. We don’t know of anywhere to buy redwood tips, but you can always supplement them in the recipe with another herb that you have on hand.

    • Lynda

      Use lavender, it’s a great substitute and no need to search out redwoods if you aren’t near them! I make lavender shortbread and people love it…

    • Catharine

      Hi Sharon. I live amongst Redwoods, and teach outdoor classes, so I know how important it is to try the cookies with Redwood needles, so I can send you some if you like. Just email me your address if you like this idea, and I will send you some this week.

    • Catharine

      Sharon. I forgot to leave my email address if you want me to mail you some Redwood needles. It is [email protected]

  7. Michael Bond

    Your videos have been a real breath of fresh Redwood air in our lives. Many thanks too for the unexpected Redwood shortbread recipe. Until we can once again walk among these giants you have provided us with some visual joy.


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