Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The World of Strawberry Shortcake

When I was a kid, I was seriously obsessed with strawberries. They were hands down my favorite food. My mom used to joke that when she came into my room in the morning to wake me up for school that she would find a giant strawberry on the pillow in place of me because I'd eaten so many. But not only was I obsessed with the berries themselves, I loved anything relating to strawberries: smelly stickers, chap stick, gum, and, most importantly (as a child of the 80s), Strawberry Shortcake. She became my new best friend. How could one not want to be friends with someone who lives and works in a cake made of strawberries? 
So when I was browsing Pinterest awhile ago and saw a picture of Strawberry Shortcake Cookies from Martha Stewart, I knew I had to make them. The cookies use fresh strawberries chopped up and added to a shortcake like batter.
The berries (mixed with a little sugar and lime juice) are added to the cookie mixture, which did turn a little pink from the juice. The recipe calls for 12 ounces of strawberries, but I used almost 16 ounces (or a large package from the fruit vendor near my apartment). This could why the batter turned so pink, although the baked cookies don't look pink at all.
Scoop out the cookie mixture (which was quite soft) using an ice cream scoop (or a 1/4 cup measuring cup) onto a cookie sheet lined with either a Silpat or parchment.
Sprinkle some large sugar crystals on top of the cookies before baking at 375 for 20-22 minutes. I'm sure regular sugar would work fine, but use the larger stuff if you have it, as it adds a nice dimension to the cookie. I happen to have a slight obsession with collecting sprinkles and sanding sugars, so I had some in my baking cabinet.
The result is a really soft, strawberry cookie that really tastes like strawberry shortcake. The texture of the cookie is much more like that of a muffin top than a cookie. By using fresh strawberries the cookies can only be kept for about a day before they get too soft from the liquid in the berries. These would be a good breakfast treat or good served with some vanilla ice cream in a dish. 

While baking these cookies, I thought of a few ways to change up the recipe so the texture was more like that of a real cookie. I'll experiment this week and will post my creation.

In the meantime, here's Martha's recipe (Martha Stewart Living, June 2009):


Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

  • 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I used lime because that's what I had)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
  2. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

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