Šape – paws

Šape – paws

Šape {paws}

No festive Croatian table would be complete without these wonderful little cookies. Soft, crumbly and liberally dusted with powdered sugar, the name translates to “paws” because of the tin that’s traditionally used to mould them. Šape.

Why don’t mine look like paws? I don’t have the tins – just some regular old fluted ones that have been in my possession for many years.

Šape {paws}

I asked my mother for the recipe as I knew she had one given to her by her mother, but in typical fashion, I’ve added my own little touch here and there.

I understand the traditional šape don’t contain aromats like lemon and vanilla – just plain old sugar and the flavour of walnuts.

That’s all great, but I couldn’t help myself by adding lemon and vanilla – things that many people add to them – plus a herb that features quite a bit in savoury Croat dishes.

Šape {paws}


Getting heavy-handed with this herb in a sweet dish can send it straight into soapy territory – much like lavender – but in small amounts it brings a certain something. Personally I reckon that vanilla, lemon zest and rosemary have the most evocative combined scent, providing the balance is right.

My addition of rosemary could cause my mother to raise her eyebrows and my baka to turn in her grave, but I bet they’d be reaching for another one of my šape if they had the chance.

Šape {paws}


Print Recipe
Šape - paws
These Croatian šape, or 'paws', are deliciously crumbly and a perfect snack at tea or coffee-time.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Croatian
Course Dessert
Cuisine Croatian
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 26 x 7cm fluted tins and dust with flour.
  2. Place the caster sugar and rosemary leaves into a food processor and blitz until the rosemary is finely chopped and has flavoured the sugar.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar, softened butter and vanilla for 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and continue beating until light and creamy (about 2 minutes).
  4. Stir through the flour and ground walnuts until a batter forms. The batter should be moist but not too sticky. Add a little more flour if it's too wet or a little milk if it's too dry.
  5. Take heaped tablespoons of the batter and press into each prepared mould, filling to the ¾ point. Arrange the filled moulds on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
  6. Allow the šape to sit in the tins for 5 minutes before removing and gently tossing in icing sugar while still hot. Allow to cool completely before storing in a sealed container.
Recipe Notes

They're best after a couple of days, but perfectly fine to eat right away.

Share this Recipe
  • Barry Ozmo

    very festive!!!did you use a timer shot for the mixing.the background blur of lcds gave a hint of a xmas tree.lovely work .i’m sure sape taste as good as it looks.festive salutations.

  • Kristy @ The Life She Made

    Adorable! I bet yours taste the business. I was given a recipe for shortbread biscuits once that had rosemary and they were a complete revelation for me.

    These Rosemary šape would make the perfect Christmas present…which gives me an idea….

    • I love sneaking rosemary into unexpected dishes. It’s amazing in desserts!

  • Gorgeous John. I love that you have bucked tradition and I love rosemary in baked goods

  • Now you have me wanting a paw tin. Just because. And also these cookies because they sound wondrously good!

  • This sounds delicious. Like a walnut shortbread. The egg must supply richness and a backdrop of flavor. I’ve got a package of walnuts in the cupboard…

  • Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    Love the flavour twists you have added to the traditional. My goodness they look good.

  • I am now on a search for paw-shaped šape molds. I love that you added the lemon lavender and vanilla combination. What could possibly be bad about that?

  • julie

    Making them for christmas this week!!!I searched high n low for the tins and found some in a $2 shop of all places

    • Great! I’ll be making another batch tomorrow, except this time I’ll be using hazelnuts. Enjoy!

  • Mirna

    Standard for every Christmas and every Easter. My mum’s recipe was the basic peasant/war time rationing recipe; flour, walnuts, sugar, butter. I think my kids would disown me if I messed with “tradition”!

  • KevinIsCooking

    The name of these cookies intrigued me but the recipe sounds fantastic. I love to add herbs to sweet dishes for that added taste bud shake up.

  • Spoonabilities

    These cookies remind me to the almond cookies that Geoffrey made during Christmas. I like the shape of yours and the size 🙂

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