Sparkly Strawberry Shortbread Cookies are pretty in pink cookies that might look demure, but they pack an explosive berry flavor. The frilly edge of sparkling sugar gives a nice crunchy contrast to the buttery shortbread, too. This might be the ultimate strawberry cookie!
Strawberry Shortbread cookies are the IT cookie of the season.
When was the last time you had a strawberry cookie? Probably never, right? That’s because it’s incredibly difficult to incorporate juicy strawberries into a crunchy cookie recipe. Right up until my first bite I wasn’t sure this one was going to work. And frankly, it’s almost unbelievable that it does, but omg, these cookies actually taste like fresh strawberries. I think I’ve made the quintessential spring cookie!
What’s the secret to getting fabulous fresh strawberry flavor into cookies?
It’s freeze dried strawberries. That’s right. Freeze drying removes all the moisture, and I can process the dried berries into a fine strawberry rich powder in my blender. That way I can add it to shortbread without any extra liquid, which would ruin the texture of the cookie. (You can also buy strawberry powder ready made, if you prefer.)
You know what’s even better? Freeze dried strawberries are simply strawberries, so there’s none of that artificial flavor we’re used to in commercial products.
How to make freeze dried strawberry powder
- Start with freeze dried strawberries. I used Trader Joe’s.
- Put them in a high speed blender and blitz until they become a fine powder. This will happen almost instantly. You can use a food processor, too, but the powder won’t be as fine.
- A 1.2 ounce bag makes about 3-4 tablespoons of delicious strawberry ‘dust’.
- Find freeze dried strawberries in the dried fruit section of your market, or find them online.
The strawberry powder mixes right into my regular shortbread dough making a soft pink color and a bright juicy flavor.
I rim them with a little sparkling sugar for a little pizazz. Sparkling sugar is a coarse sugar with a super shine, I’ve used it before on my raspberry rugelach bars, and my cranberry breakfast cake. Its not just for looks, either, it adds an appealing sweet crunch.
If you loved my pansy topped shortbread cookies
you might be wondering if you could do the same thing with these cookies and the answer is yes! This is so nice for special occasions…simply flatten fresh flowers between sheets of parchment paper, and then gently press them onto hot cookies, just out of the oven. Read all the details in my how to make pansy topped shortbread post.
Frankly I don’t think these cookies need any embellishment other than the sprinkle of sugar. I’m sampling another cookie as I write this, and I’m struck by the unique flavor…I think you’re really going to love these cookies, please let me know what you think if you try them…
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Strawberry Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 2 Tbsp freeze dried strawberry powder
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- sparkling sugar
- 1 egg white, beaten. I use a pasteruized egg.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Put the butter, sugar, and extract, if using, in the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer. Sift in the strawberry powder to avoid lumps. Cream well. Make sure your strawberry powder is well incorporated and the mixture is streak free.
- Add the flour and pulse about 10 times, then run the machine briefly, just until the dough comes together into a lump or lumps. If using a stand mixer, add the flour on low and mix until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and finish bringing it together, if necessary, with your hands. When it is smooth with no crumbly spots remaining, form it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out with a cookie cutter. I used a 2 inch cookie cutter for about 20 cookies. I like to refrigerate the cut cookies for 15-20 minutes before baking.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cookies. I like my shortbread on the softer side, but if you prefer it crunchy, bake a little longer. Don't let them get browned.
- Cool on the pan for about 15 minutes, until the cookies are firm enough to handle, and then lightly brush the edges with egg white, and roll in sparkling sugar. Let dry before eating. Note: you can also brush the edges and roll in sugar before baking, if you prefer.