Strawberry Shortcake Cookies. This is not my recipe. It’s mostly Martha Stewart’s. Just because it’s not a recipe I wrote doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy making these cookies. It certainly doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy eating these cookies. Because these cookies are exactly the sort of sweet I do enjoy– because they’re not too sweet. Though there is a healthy amount of butter in these cookies, there is also a healthy amount of fresh fruit. This is a balance that appeals to me.
However, what I liked best about these Strawberry Shortcake Cookies is what I learned from them.
As a blogger (and now a cookbook author) I am most interested in creating and sharing recipes that can be made again and again. However, the process often starts with a recipe I saw somewhere else. A recipe like these Strawberry Shortcake Cookies. When I see a recipe that appeals to me (and by that I mean one that I want to steal) I often start out by making it (nearly) as written. I occasionally put something on the blog at this stage. Though I sometimes just take notes and put the whole idea aside until I come across another version, or I think of a way to make it more my own. I consider this a starting place for most posts. Let’s face it, there aren’t too many new things under our kitchen exhaust fans. I don’t mind learning from others, and I don’t mind waiting to reconfigure or percolate most things before I know what’s right for me or this blog.
I knew there was something about these Strawberry Shortcake Cookies that appealed to me. I came across them in 2009. I let them percolate all this time because I’ll admit, on the first try I found them a bit finicky in the making. So I tucked the idea and my notes aside for all these years. I recently pulled them out again and gave the recipe the once over. Martha called for an extra tablespoon of sugar in her version. I didn’t see the point. I don’t like strawberry shortcake that is too sweet. I knew I wouldn’t like Strawberry Shortcake Cookies that were too sweet. So I changed that…
But the sugar wasn’t the finicky part of this recipe– it’s not why I put the notes away for so long. You see, I found that the sweet juice from the strawberries tended to leach out during baking, causing the cookies to stick to the parchment. It also made the bottoms burn black. So in my 2013 version I alleviated that problem somewhat when I lowered the cooking temperature from 375 F. to 350 F. Still I had to watch the cookies very closely to find the balance between cooked through but without a black bottom. Finally (I know it sounds like I didn’t like these cookies– but I swear I did), Martha’s not kidding when she says to eat these cookies within 24 hours. I would say you should eat them within 4 or 5 hours. They get a bit too moist if allowed to sit too long in my opinion. Eating three dozen cookies in 4 or 5 hours sounds a bit indulgent. But take these to a big potluck and I bet they all get scarfed down well before their texture changes.
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies Redux
I think when I make these cookies again (and I will make these cookies again). I’ll change the fruit to dried or maybe to whole wild blueberries (you know the teeny tiny “lowbush” ones) and I won’t macerate them in lemon and sugar, but I’ll probably toss them in a scant teaspoon of vanilla and I’m sure I’ll change the “wet” cream to a drier “sour cream”. In that case I may need to add back the tablespoon of sugar I removed from the batter of the original strawberry version. But that’s a question for another day. Of course I’ll have to change the name from Strawberry Shortcake Cookies to Blueberry Shortcake Cookies. I wonder if that’s a big enough change to call these cookies mine? Hmmm. Stay tuned. GREG