Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
Well, just when it seemed as though we were making great strides in the spring department, the weather suddenly decided to turn cold, gray, and rainy once again. Spring is such a tease! I recently made great strides in updating my closet with some new spring time additions (aka, I ventured out of the stereotypical architect black-gray-neutral wardrobe and bought things in COLOR!), yet I've been finding myself having to resort to wearing my old clothes because it's a bit too cold to wear my new ones. At this point, I'm ready to just fast forward through spring and get to summer. I'm already having intense cravings for stone fruit pies and crostatas, refreshing paletas in every flavor imaginable, and tons and tons (and did I mention, tons) of freshly churned ice cream. I neeeed warm summer weather and summertime desserts, but right now, I'd settle for a 60 degree and slightly overcast day! That can't be too much to ask for, right?
Apparently though, a 60-degree and slightly overcast day is a lot to ask for, because it was 45 and rainy yesterday! As underwhelmed as I feel about spring right now, a berry-filled dessert will almost always do the trick to make me feel a bit more positive about the current season. I'm a huge berry person; I always have been. My parents often bring up the story that when I was really little, maybe 3 years old, I went through a phase where the only things I wanted to eat were minestrone soup, strawberries, and orange juice...and that was it. I guess living off of strawberries for a period of a few months really did something to me, because I can still eat all the strawberries in the world without thinking twice about it. I typically like to eat strawberries, and most other fruits, fresh, but every now and then I feel like I just have to bake something with them. These strawberry shortcake cookies are the product of such a moment in time.
Strawberries can be a little tricky to bake with at times because they're so watery, but it's definitely not impossible to bake with them. Strawberry shortcake cookies are a perfect example of a recipe that really benefits from the inclusion of fresh berries in the recipe. I ahd these cookies bookmarked for a while now simply because I thought the recipe itself was really intriguing. These cookies were really interesting to me because they are made without eggs and milk, instead using Greek yogurt as a binder. I'm no stranger to baking with Greek yogurt; it's a very frequent ingredient I use in making cakes and pancakes. I've never used Greek yogurt to make cookies though, so I was definitely intrigued when I saw it listed under the ingredients in the original recipe for the cookies. I think that was what made me really want to try out the recipe, aside from the fact that they sounded amazing. I was curious about how this Greek yogurt would work out!
These cookies come together a bit differently from most other cookies. Rather than starting out by creaming butter and sugar together, the dry ingredients are mixed together first, and then chilled cubes of butter are cut in with a pastry blender...sounds kinda like making pie dough, or biscuits! This results in a dough that has lots of little bits of butter scattered throughout, which ultimately yields a cookie that is full of pockets of rich, buttery bites. The Greek yogurt is then mixed in, along with some vanilla extract. While the yogurt does help to bind the cookie dough, it won't look like a typical cookie dough and will instead be on the crumbly side. I'll admit that I had my doubts about whether this cookie would work out at all as I was mixing it, but I decided to attempt to form them into cookie mounds, bake them, and see what happened. That would be the only way to really know! I started out by using a cookie scoop to portion out the cookies, but in the end, it was much easier to simply use my hands to portion out the dough. Shaping the cookies by hand actually helped the dough to stick to itself, and in the end, it'll look like you have little strawberry studded biscuits lining your baking sheets...which is exactly the point!
These cookies are anything but typical cookies. They're more along the lines of a really sweet buttery biscuit that is speckled with beautiful bright red strawberry bits. I loved the way these cookies came out, although I'm still undecided about whether or not they needed the additional drizzle of vanilla glaze. I thought the glaze made them look more delightful and pretty, but I found them just a bit too sweet for my personal taste. For me, the cookies were on the verge of being a little too sweet without the icing, but I felt that a drizzle of icing would really finish them off. Next time, I'll just use a little less sugar in the cookie dough to balance out the sweetness of the glaze. These cookies, while initially a little frightening to make because of their crumbly factor, are actually perfectly cute little treats for spring. They're biscuit-like and buttery, craggy and imperfect, but most importantly sweet and delicious. Enjoy!
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon
For the Cookies
1 cup diced strawberries
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, diced
3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
For the Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
splash of vanilla extract
Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F, and positioning your oven racks to the top and lower thirds of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
In a small bowl, toss together the strawberries, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the flour, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sugar until they are well coated. Set aside the strawberry mixture in the fridge.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the remaining flour and sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Using a pastry blender (or two knives), cut in the chilled butter until an even grainy texture forms. Stir in the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Gently mix in the strawberry mixture and lemon zest and mix until evenly combined.
Use a cookie scoop to drop the cookie batter onto the prepared baking sheets. They won't spread very much, so leave maybe an inch or so between the cookies. Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes, just until they are lightly browned on top. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cookies are cooling, prepare the vanilla glaze. Combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies and allow the glaze to set for a few minutes before serving. These cookies are best the day they are made, but will keep for a day or two at the most if kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies