Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Strawberries are one of my favorite things about summer. Oh, and fireworks. I like those too. (Speaking of, I hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July weekend).

Last year, it seemed like we had a bad crop. The one that I purchased were a sickly shade of pale red; and even those that had a vibrant color were totally flavorless.  Fortunately, it’s been the total opposite this year. Even the strawberries I get from our local Shop Rite have been colorful and sweet. I love to eat them on their own as a mid-morning snack, but I decided that I had to bake something with them, too.

I was excited to come across a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Cookies and thought I’d give them a try—well two tries. Strawberries can be pretty temperamental, but I am persistent.

The first batch that I made did not turn out at all. The strawberry, sugar, and lemon juice mixture produced a lot of liquid. As a result, the dough did not come together well in the mixing bowl, and they didn’t set up well when baked. I learned my lesson for the second time around, and poured the mixture through a strainer before adding it to the dry ingredients. This batch would have been perfect, had it not been for my crazy oven. We’ve lived in our house about two years now, and I just can’t get the hang of that oven. Some things take longer to bake than the recipe states, and other things need to be yanked out of the oven way early (I’m sure Martha never has to deal with this. She probably has the perfect oven). My first dozen came out a bit well done on the bottom, but after I moved the oven rack around a bit and adjusted the timing, and the second dozen baked to a perfect golden brown.

These cookies are actually more like scones—soft and fluffy on the inside, and slightly crunchy and crispy on the outside. You can taste all of the ingredients individually in these cookies—from the sweetness of the strawberries, to the richness of the cream, to the lightness of the lemon–and the coarse salt is a nice balance that brings together all of the flavors. They look so pretty with the little bits of strawberry peeking out, and are less labor intensive than a strawberry shortcake or pie. I would definitely make these again—I’m sure that they will be perfect the third time around. Luckily, strawberry season is still young, and I should be able to get some good ones around here through August.

As a side note, the recipe lies when it says it makes about 3 dozen cookies. I got a little over 20 cookies out of the dough, even though I used the tablespoon measurement suggested by the recipe. These cookies were best on the day that they were made. I served them with vanilla ice cream (the best batch I’ve made to date, since I sprung for real vanilla bean), but whipped cream or even a glass of milk would be a nice complement to them. By the following day, they had already become kind of soft and a bit soggy, even when stored in an airtight container.

Do you have any good strawberry recipes I should know about?

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

By: Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  •  2 cups diced strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup, plus one tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Sanding sugar for sprinkling over cookies (I skipped this, as I didn’t have sanding sugar. I don’t think anyone missed it)

What To Do:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, combine strawberries lemon juice, and two tablespoons sugar. Combine dry ingredients in a separate, large bowl.
  • Add butter in to dry mixture, using a pastry cutter or your hands. Mix together until it looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in cream, just until dough comes together.
  • Pour strawberry mixture through a strainer to get rid of excess liquid. Add strawberries to the dough mixture.
  • Shape dough into tablespoon sized balls and place on baking sheet (Tip: if you are baking one sheet at a time in your oven, be aware that as your dough sits out, the strawberries may release some more liquid that breaks apart the dough. I filled my other cookie sheet and put it in the fridge while the first batch was baking and that seemed to minimize this).
  • Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if using, and bake for about 24 minutes.
  • Let cool on wire rack.

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