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Sergeant Shortbread


Article by David Scheller

Photography by Sergeant Shortbread

The annals of history are replete with luminaries. There is Leonardo da Vinci, who invented the technique of holding a piece of bread in one hand while eating spaghetti. There is Madame Clicquot, who spared aristocrats untold amounts of pain and suffering upon figuring out how to make clear Champagne. There is Henry Ford, who gave rednecks something they could vehemently prefer over Chevrolet. And can you imagine living a world without the Super Soaker? Thanks to Lonnie Johnson, you don’t have to.

But if you combined all these innovators’ brilliance and multiplied it by a thousand, you still wouldn’t have one one-billionth of Matt Rosen’s genius. 

Upon retiring from the U.S. Army after 23 years of service, Matt dedicated absolutely none of his military experience toward a singular pursuit: developing the perfect shortbread cookie. You may recall the fateful day when he finally did it. A quintuple rainbow arose over Eden Prairie, and all the birds in the sky began singing out the names of baking ingredients in perfect unison.

Never content to rest on his laurels, Matt looked at the only thing that is arguably almost as good as shortbread cookies – beer – and asked himself how he might combine the two. After countless hours of intensive research (many of which involved drinking beer), Matt devised an elegant solution. What if he added beer and beer ingredients … to shortbread cookie dough? 

“Dave, you always make me out to sound smarter than I actually am whenever you write an article about me,” said Matt, with admirable humility. “Truth is, I’ve always been a big fan of craft beer, and even dabbled in homebrewing prior to picking up baking. I also enjoy experimenting with unique flavors of shortbreads, which is what led to the creation of my spicy peanut butter cookies. It was only a matter of time until those two passions overlapped.

“It all began when I started wondering what would happen if I added hops to my cookies. It’s the ingredient that gives beer its bitterness. If you’ve ever had an IPA, then you’re already familiar with hops’ pleasant, refreshing ‘bite.’ I soon discovered that hops create the perfect contrast to my shortbreads’ inherent sweetness. It’s a delicate teeter-totter of flavors that really fire up the taste buds!

“I also determined exactly how much craft beer I have to add to shortbread dough in order to elevate it to perfection. It’s surprisingly little: only two tablespoons per batch of around 60 cookies, and that minute amount of alcohol all evaporates in the oven. Fortunately, I already knew of an ideal use for leftover beer.”

Is Matt sourcing his hops from inferior states (i.e. ones that aren’t Minnesota)? Perish the thought! The baker’s unrelenting commitment to unsurpassable quality compels him to exclusively bake with hops grown by Hardebeck Farms of Raymond. “Keeping it as local as possible has always been important to me,” said Matt. “That’s also why I only use beer from nearby breweries, such as False Pattern pale ale by Modist Brewing.”

“Where can I try these impossibly delicious shortbreads?!” You’ve no doubt shouted this out several times already while reading this article. Be careful not to crumple the magazine in your fervor. It’s going to be a collector’s item someday. But the answer to your question might surprise you. Unlike his blueberry lemon, toasted coconut, orange cranberry, cherry almond, and other inspired cookies, you cannot order Matt’s beer shortbreads direct to your home. You have to go to a participating local brewery!

“I’m proud to have partnered with several craft breweries across Minnesota,” said Matt. “You can now try my beer shortbreads at Bear Cave Brewing in Hopkins, as well as Hackamore Brewing in Chanhassen. My cookies are also available at Foxhole Brewhouse and Intuition Brewing – both in Willmar, which is near my hometown of Clara City.”

Will you try the hazy IPA shortbread flavored with lemon and lime? The brown ale, which is made with brown sugar caramel? The hefeweizen, with symphonic hints of banana and clove? Or will you perk up your senses with coffee stout, which features that all-important bean to morning commuters? No. You will try all four of Matt’s preposterously delectable beer shortbreads at the soonest possible opportunity. Cancel other plans if you have to. Nothing takes precedence over cookies – especially when they are accompanied by beer.

And lest you forget: whether you’re throwing a party, showing your clients that you love them, or simply in search of an epiphany, you can order any number of indescribably good gourmet shortbreads upon visiting

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