Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresDoes anyone else think it’s weird that strawberries are considered Valentine’s Day-appropriate? I mean, I get that they’re an aphrodisiac and that their red color goes with the whole lovey-dovey puffy heart aesthetic of the holiday, but strawberries aren’t in season in February.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresBefore I go any further: yes, I know that we live in a time where fresh strawberries are available year-round. I saw huge displays of them at Trader Joe’s yesterday. Available or not though, the fact remains that a mid-winter strawberry will never be as good as one you have in June. Period. End of story.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresAll that said, today I’m bringing you some Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares. They may not be seasonal, but they are pink, fabulous, easy, and totally perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresThe strawberry flavor in these sweet squares comes from freeze dried strawberries. Their concentrated flavor, lack of moisture, year-round availability, and consistent quality make them perfect for all sorts of baked goods, especially cookies and bars. Here they’re pulverized in a food processor until they’re nothing but powder and then whipped into sugar cookie dough and a batch of fluffy buttercream.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresStrawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresThese squares must be baked to be believed—if you’re into strawberry desserts, this recipe is absolutely for you. The strawberry flavor is decidedly real, unlike anything you’ll find in a boxed mix.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresOh, did I mention that there’s no food coloring in these bars? That happy pink color is all from the pulverized strawberries 🙂

Well, I suppose there is food coloring in the sprinkles, but they’re just so cute! Feel free to leave them off though if sprinkles aren’t your thing.Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

(They are definitely my thing. They are basically my favorite thing.)

Strawberry Sugar Cookie SquaresMake these Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares for someone you love ❤Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares
makes one 9-inch pan, about 9-16 bars

Cookie Layer:
1 1.2-ounce package freeze dried strawberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Frosting:
1 1.2-ounce package freeze dried strawberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5-6 tablespoons heavy cream
sprinkles, for decorating (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and grease lightly. Set aside.

Make the cookie layer. Place freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar, followed by egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add strawberry powder, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and mix until combined. Dough will be thick.

Press dough into prepared pan with a silicone spatula or lightly-oiled hands. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until no longer wet-looking. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Let cookie layer cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Make the frosting. Place freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until they are powder, about 30 seconds.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, beat in confectioner’s sugar, strawberry powder, and salt. Mixture may be alarmingly crumbly—this is normal. Add vanilla and 5 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat until very fluffy, about 2 minutes. If desired, mix in another tablespoon of heavy cream until the proper consistency is reached.

Remove foil from the cookie layer and place on a cutting board. Spread a thick layer of frosting over the cookie later. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Let sit at room temperature for minutes, or until frosting crusts a bit.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife, slice into squares. Wipe knife clean between cuts.

Serve squares. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

Red, White & Blueberry Cake

Red, White & Blueberry CakeThe Fourth of July is just a few days away, y’all! While you may be thinking about vacation or grilling or how to keep your dog safe during the fireworks, I am over here thinking about–what else–cake! Red, White & Blueberry Cake, to be specific. Yes, a layer cake that is loaded with strawberries, blueberries, and tons of whipped cream. It showcases some peak summer produce and looks pretty patriotic, too! This is my kind of Independence Day dessert.

Red, White & Blueberry CakeThe cake itself if a classic white cake. I used my Vanilla Layer Cake as a starting point, manipulating the recipe until I had a light, fluffy result. The most significant change is that there are no whole eggs in the recipe; if there were, the cake wouldn’t be white! Only egg whites are used here. They are whipped to the point where they hold stiff peaks before being folded into the batter. The air in the whipped egg whites, along with a hefty dose of baking powder and sifted dry ingredients, will keep the resulting cake light and airy.

Red, White & Blueberry CakeWhile the egg whites give the cake tons of structure, their complete lack of fat has the potential to dry it out. I did a few things to counteract this:

  • I reduced the flour. Egg whites provide tons of structure in baked goods, so I was confident that cutting a bit of the flour wouldn’t affect the cake’s ability to bake properly.
  • I used butter and oil. I wanted this cake to have a buttery flavor, but as butter is 15% water, I was concerned that the results could be dry. This recipe requires 3/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil, like vegetable or canola oil. This small amount of oil keeps the cakes nice and moist.
  • I used a combination of regular milk and sour cream in place of buttermilk. Sour cream’s thick texture and fat content keep this cake super moist. Also, as it has been “soured,” when combined with milk, it mimics the tenderizing qualities of buttermilk.

But enough about the chemistry of cake batter. This white cake is crazy delicious–soft, buttery, and flavored with vanilla and almond extracts (you can leave the almond extract out if you have a tree nut allergy). It would be spectacular with a little vanilla buttercream, but that’s not the direction we’re going in today.

Red, White & Blueberry CakeInstead of frosting this cake with buttercream, we’re using Whipped Cream Frosting! It’s a lot like regular whipped cream, except that it won’t weep or slouch after an hour or two. Many recipes for Whipped Cream Frosting require gelatin, but I don’t care for the texture it produces. Instead, our whipped cream is stabilized with sour cream. This adjustment allows for the whipped cream to hold up for days! Just beat some heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form, and then use a handheld whisk to incorporate the sour cream until you achieve stiff peaks. Don’t be tempted to add the sour cream all at once–this will deflate your whipped cream. Instead, add it by the spoonful. This sounds tedious, but it really doesn’t take long at all.

For those of you who do not care for the flavor of sour cream, know that I don’t either. Its flavor here is very subtle, especially when combined with the white cake and berries. If you really don’t wish to use it, you may substitute creme fraiche or cream cheese.

Red, White & Blueberry CakeRed, White & Blueberry CakeRed, White & Blueberry CakeTo assemble the cake, slice both baked layers equatorially so that you have four very thin layers. If the idea of slicing a cake layer in half intimidates you, just know that they don’t have to be perfect–mine certainly were not! Just do your best. Lay one cut-side up on a serving plate (or a cake round, if you are me and can’t fit a serving plate in your fridge). Top the layer with some sliced strawberries and a few tablespoons of blueberries before spreading whipped cream frosting over the top. It may seem illogical to put the fruit directly on the cake, but it allows the berries’ juices to soak into the cake instead of breaking down the whipped cream. This is just insurance that your leftovers won’t get gross in the refrigerator. Repeat the layering process two more times before placing your last thin layer cut-side down. Use the rest of the whipped cream to frost the cake. I went for the naked cake look, but you may do whatever you like. Make sure to decorate with more berries!

Red, White & Blueberry Cake
Sliced 15 minutes after assembly.
Red, White & Blueberry Cake
Sliced after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Red, White & Blueberry Cake may be served immediately after assembly, but know that the whipped cream frosting may squish out the sides a bit. This doesn’t bother me one bit, but know that a couple hours in the refrigerator will help the cake stay more intact.

Look at that! Cake, berries, whipped cream, and a little patriotic flair. Add fireworks and you’re in for a great Fourth of July.Red, White & Blueberry Cake

Red, White & Blueberry Cake
makes 1 9″ round layer cake

To Grease the Pans:
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cake:
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 1/2 cups milk (not skim or fat-free)
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
4 large egg whites, room temperature

Whipped Cream Frosting:
3 cups heavy cream, cold
4-6 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream

For Assembly:
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
6 ounces fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the pans. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together oil and flour. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer to the entire insides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Sift together four times. Do not skip this step. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, oil, vanilla and almond extracts, sour cream, and milk. Set aside.

Place egg whites in a clean, dry medium-large mixing bowl. Use the whisk attachment on an electric mixer to beat egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold stiff peaks. Do not over mix. Set aside.

Fold dry ingredients into wet in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Carefully fold half the whipped egg whites into the batter, followed by the other half.

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Lightly tap each pan on the counter a couple of times just to help any large air bubbles dissipate. Bake for 32-37 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans for fifteen minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge of the pans and inverting the layers onto a rack. Allow to cool completely.

Make the whipped cream frosting. Combine heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat mixture until soft peaks form. Switch to use a hand whisk. Add sour cream by the spoonful, whipping until stiff peaks form.

Slice cake layers in half equatorially. Lay one cut-side up on a serving dish or cake round. Top with about 1/3 of the strawberry slices and 3-4 tablespoons blueberries. Drop large spoonfuls of whipped cream over the top and spread them out with an offset icing spatula. Repeat this process two more times. Place the last layer on the top cut-side down. Frost and decorate with berries as desired. Serve or refrigerate immediately.

Leftover cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Red, White & Blueberry Cake

Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesFather’s Day is coming up! Normally, I would write a sappy post about my dad (he’s a great guy–see here and here), but he’s a little Internet shy. I don’t blame him. So, instead of writing about him and a dessert he would love, I’m going in the opposite direction.

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesMy dad doesn’t care for strawberries, so in order to keep him out of this post, I am bringing you Strawberry Shortcakes. But not just any old strawberry shortcakes–these little guys are made with brown butter. See those gorgeous golden brown biscuits? They’re full of the stuff.

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesSo, how exactly does one make biscuits with brown butter? Well, logically, you start by browning the butter. Place a stick of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and then babysit it. No, helicopter parent it. It will melt and bubble and sputter for a few minutes, and you need to be swirling it frequently. Don’t leave the room, don’t check your work emails, don’t strike up a conversation with your roommate. You need to watch that butter. Just when you think it’s not going to do anything beyond splatter your stovetop, the solids in it will turn brown and give off an incredibly rich, nutty aroma. That’s how you’ll know it’s ready. Immediately pour it into a little bowl–don’t let it sit in the pan or it will burn. Burnt butter is not delicious.

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesOnce that brown butter isn’t searing hot anymore, place it in the fridge. Unlike most recipes calling for brown butter, this recipe will not work if the butter is liquid. For our biscuits to be flaky (instead of brown butter-flavored hockey pucks), it needs to solidify and be very cold. This will take a few hours. I recommend browning the butter the night before you want to use it. That way there’s no waiting the next day.

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesMaking brown butter biscuits is a lot like making Buttermilk Biscuits. Whisk together flour, baking powder, a few tablespoons of brown sugar (these are decidedly sweet), and a touch of salt. Use a pastry blender or your fingertips to cut the cold brown butter into the dry ingredients, before stirring in some cold half-and-half. I don’t recommend using milk in this recipe. When the butter browns, its water content evaporates. Using a liquid with a higher fat content helps restore some of that lost moisture.

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesBrown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesTurn the dough onto a floured surface. Pat it out and give it a few folds to ensure flakiness before cutting it into rounds. Pat your leftovers back together and cut them again–you should get about a dozen biscuits. Place them close together on a lined baking sheet, brush them with more half-and-half and sprinkle coarse sugar over the tops. Bake them for 12-14 minutes, just until puffed and golden.

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesWhile the biscuits are baking, fold together a ton of sliced strawberries and a bit of sugar. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let them sit. This is called macerating–it will allow the berries to release a lot of moisture, creating a delicious strawberry syrup. The longer they sit, the more liquid there will be. The strawberries pictured only sat for half an hour, but you can do this up to a day in advance; just let the berries macerate in the fridge.

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesBrown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesWhen your biscuits are cool and your strawberries are to your liking, whip some cream. Slice the biscuits in half and layer them with the strawberries and whipped cream–there are no hard and fast rules about how much of each, at least as far as I’m concerned. Just pile them up how you like them, and then dig in!

Brown Butter Strawberry ShortcakesY’all, these Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes are in. sane. INSANE. Beyond the absolute perfection that is the combination of strawberries and whipped cream, there are the incredible brown butter biscuits. They are lightly sweet, but rich from the brown sugar and the nutty brown butter. Layered with the berries and cream–well, they’re about as wonderful as strawberry shortcake gets. Even my dad might like ‘em.Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes

Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes
makes 12 servings

Brown Butter:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Brown Butter Biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup brown butter, solid, very cold
2/3-3/4 cup half-and-half, very cold, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (like turbinado), for sprinkling

Strawberries:
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 4-5 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a small bowl. Let the butter cool to room temperature before refrigerating until solid and very cold, several hours or overnight.

Make the biscuits. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt. Add cold brown butter. Use a pastry blender or clean fingertips to cut the butter into the flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in 2/3 cup half-and-half. Add more half-and-half by the tablespoon (up to 2 tablespoons), until no unincorporated bits remain.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it to 1/2-inch thickness. Fold it in half and give it a quarter turn (more details on this process here). Repeat patting and folding until you have done it 3-4 times total. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut biscuits. Pat scraps back together and cut a few more. Place biscuits close together on the prepared pan. Brush them with more half-and-half and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 12-14 minutes, until puffed and golden. Let biscuits cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature.

While the biscuits are baking, fold strawberries and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for up to an hour. This may also be done a day in advance–just let the strawberries macerate in the refrigerator.

When the biscuits are cool and the strawberries are ready, whip the cream. In a large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar. Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to whip cream until soft peaks form.

Assemble shortcakes. Slice biscuits in half. Lay the bottom half of a biscuit on a plate. Top with strawberries and whipped cream. Place the top half of the biscuit over the top. Spoon on more strawberries and whipped cream. Repeat with remaining biscuits. Serve immediately.

Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes

Triple Berry Breakfast Crumble

 As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better than an early morning summer walk in New York. I rarely work before 3pm, so it becomes a daily ritual this time of year. Everybody else in Brooklyn Heights is sweating in their business clothes on their way to catch the subway, but I’m in yoga pants and Birkenstocks with an iced coffee in-hand, on my way to the green market for fresh berries. 

That’s my speed on weekday mornings: a quick stroll of the neighborhood, a little shopping, and then home to make breakfast with whatever looks best at the market. It’s a luxurious way to start the day–a fact of which I am far too aware–and I have no intention of wasting a minute of it. One of these days, I’ll likely have a job that requires me to get out of the house bright and early, but until then, I’m going to enjoy my walk, drink too much coffee, and come home to make Triple Berry Breakfast Crumble. 

This crumble is perfect for summer–fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are coated in a sweet orange mixture and topped with an oat and almond crumble, then baked until bubbly. The berries burst as they bake and create a beautiful red, orange-scented sauce. The topping gets brown and crunchy. Spooned into a bowl with your favorite yogurt (I’m partial to Siggi’s), this crumble is a perfectly delicious way to start the day.

I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t crumbles traditionally served for dessert? Well, yes. And this one would be great with a scoop of ice cream. But why wait all day when you can enjoy it first thing?! This recipe serves six and has less than 1/2 cup sugar. And if that’s not enough to sway you, the crumble is 100% whole grain. It’s made primarily of oats and white whole wheat flour, with five tablespoons of butter to hold it all together. Oh, and there are almonds for a little extra protein. I’m no nutritionist, but that all sounds pretty healthy to me.

Triple Berry Breakfast Crumble can be made start-to-finish in 45 minutes, which means that it’s perfect for a casual summer brunch, but can also be made on a Sunday night and reheated all week long. It’s excellent cold too, so you can pack your portion to-go without wondering if there’s a microwave at your destination. Make this crumble this summer–it’s a little taste of luxury any day of the week. 

  Triple Berry Breakfast Crumble
adapted from Breakfast Apricot Crisp by Deb Perelman
makes one 9-inch pie plate, about six servings

Filling:

16 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 pint fresh blueberries
6 ounces fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Crumble:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour*
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, optional
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cubed

yogurt, for serving

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside.

Combine strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, orange zest and juice, and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to gently stir it all together. Transfer berry mixture to prepared pie plate. Set aside.

Make the crumble. In a small mixing bowl, stir together oats, flour, sugar, salt, and almonds. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into mixture until the largest chunks are the size of small peas. Distribute crumble evenly over the top of the filling.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to collect any overflow. Place assembled crumble on the top rack. Bake 30 minutes, tenting with foil if the crumble starts to brown too quickly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving with yogurt.

Triple Berry Breakfast Crumble will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cookies

 I am one of those people who loves Valentine’s Day. Yes, I know it’s more of a greeting card holiday than anything else, but I just don’t see anything wrong with setting aside one extra day to acknowledge all the love we have in our lives. I know we’re supposed to do that everyday, but it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of real life and forget to be grateful.

It’s not just a day for couples. Romantic love is like nothing else and I’ve been fortunate to experience it, but the idea that it’s all that matters on Valentine’s Day (or any day) is just false. As far as I’m concerned, Valentine’s Day is about taking a little extra time to show love and gratitude to everyone you hold dear. My mom sends me a valentine every year (and is actually visiting over the holiday this year!), and my best pal, Tad, is always my valentine. And as a nanny, I have a bunch of little valentines, too. And since it’s impractical (and a little silly) to buy gifts for everyone I love, I think I’ll just hand out cookies instead.

No Valentine’s Day treat is more iconic than chocolate-dipped strawberries, but because fresh fruit coated in chocolate simply isn’t my thing, I’ve taken the simple combination and made it into these fabulous cookies. Since its February, strawberries aren’t in season. Even if they were, putting juicy fresh berries in cookie dough would result in cakey cookies, which are a travesty as far as I’m concerned. If I want something cakey, I’ll have a piece of cake! When it comes to cookies though, I want them to be soft and chewy. 

 So, how do we get tons of strawberry flavor into cookies without using fresh berries or artificially-flavored cake mix? With freeze-dried strawberries! You might recognize them as those crunchy berries in your breakfast cereal. They’re just fresh strawberries that have been completely dehydrated–no sweeteners or artificial stuff, just pure fresh strawberry flavor! I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but they can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores. Simply put them in a food processor or blender and blitz them into a fine powder. If you don’t have either kitchen appliance, place them in a gallon-size zip-top bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. Then, mix the gorgeous pink powder into a soft drop sugar cookie dough. Chill it for a little while and then bake for just a few minutes, until the cookies are just starting to turn golden. 

 For the chocolate dip, you’ll just need good-quality chocolate chips and the tiniest bit of coconut oil. I use Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips here because I find that they melt more smoothly than most other brands. The coconut oil helps to give the chocolate a little sheen, and also helps it firm up. Coconut oil naturally solidifies at temperatures below 76F, so once the chocolate dip on these cookies sets, it will stay that way until it’s time to eat them. I like to dip each cookie halfway, but think these would look gorgeous drizzled with chocolate, like on my Almond Joy Cookies {Grain-Free}. I like to top the still-wet chocolate dip with sprinkles…because sprinkles. Aren’t these little hearts adorable?

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cookies would be wonderful for gifting or parties, and of course, keeping in the cookie jar to share with someone you love. And who doesn’t love cookies? I think they’re my valentine this year.

  
Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cookies
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

Strawberry Cookies:
1 1.2-ounce package freeze-dried strawberries*
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-5 drops liquid red food coloring, optional*

Chocolate Dip:
1 1/2 cups good-quality semisweet chocolate chips*
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
sprinkles, optional

In a food processor or blender, process freeze-dried strawberries until they are a fine powder. Transfer the powder to a large mixing bowl. Add flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat softened butter until light and fluffy. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by eggs, vanilla, and optional food coloring. Add dry ingredients in three installments, scraping the bowl as necessary. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 90 minutes, or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until no longer wet-looking and starting to turn light golden. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Once all cookies have been baked and cooled, make the chocolate dip. In a double boiler or the microwave, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together. Stir until smooth. Dip each cookie halfway into the mixture before placing back on the rack. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Chocolate dip will solidify after a few hours at room temperature, or after 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes:

1. I use Trader Joe’s brand freeze-dried strawberries.
2. The cookies pictured have three drops liquid red food coloring.
3. I use Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips.