These strawberry shortbread cookies adapt a classic Scottish shortbread with freeze dried strawberries. These heart shaped cookies are naturally colored with a tender, buttery crumb and real strawberry flavor!
We made these cookies heart shaped so they would be perfect for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, bridal showers and any day you want to share the love! Of course, you can also use round (or other shaped) cookie cutters for this recipe.
If you love sweet strawberry treats, be sure to try our Strawberry Crumb Cake recipe, too!
5 Reasons Why You'll Love These Cookies!
- Super easy to make with only 5 ingredients (and a pinch of salt)!
- Scratch recipe with all natural color and flavor! This recipe uses freeze dried strawberries (with no additives) for a vibrant strawberry flavor without using cake mix, jello packets, or artificial colors or flavors.
- Ready in under an hour! These cookies are quick and simple!
- Not too sweet! This recipe uses a standard 3:2:1 shortbread ratio that provides a buttery crumble without too much sugar!
- Fun and festive! With a heart shaped cookie cutter, these cookies become the perfect recipe for sharing on Valentine's Day, for birthday parties, bridal showers or any time you want to sweeten someone's day!
Fun Fact: Shortbread is a type of biscuit made with a high ratio of fat to flour. The rich butter content prevents long strands of gluten from forming. In turn, these cookies are named for their "short" gluten strands that give them their characteristic sandy crumble and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Good news! There's just a few!
- Butter - With so few ingredients, it's important to use high quality butter. For the best results, we recommend baking these cookies with European style butter. (We love Kerrygold).
- Salted or Unsalted? We like to bake with unsalted butter and Diamond Kosher salt. (This way we can control the salt content of each bake.) If making this recipe with salted butter, do not add any additional salt!
Freeze Dried Strawberries
Freeze dried strawberries are the key to the fresh strawberry flavor and pink coloring of this recipe. I love baking with this ingredient because it provides real strawberry flavors without any added moisture (or preservatives)!
- Where to Buy Freeze Dried Strawberries: Freeze dried strawberries can be found on the shelves in most grocery stores. [We got ours from Trader Joe's but they're also available at our local superstore (in the snack aisle) and directly, from Amazon.]
- How To Make Strawberry Powder: To crush the strawberries into a fine powder, I like to use a mortal and pestle. You can also use a food processor, a high-speed blender or a sealed bag and a rolling pin.
- A high-speed blender is most effective and gets the finest powdery texture.
How To Make This Recipe
1. Start by sifting the flour, strawberry powder and salt together. You don't want any lumps here! Set aside.
2. Next, add softened butter and sugar to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix together on medium-low speed for about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed, until well combined and light. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
Note: You don't need the butter and sugar to be creamed together as light and fluffy as you would for a cake, but the ingredients should be soft, pale in color, and easy to spread.
3. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer. Mix on the lowest speed for about 1 minute or until the dough just comes together. The dough will be crumbly but should hold together when squeezed.
4. Turn the shortbread dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap or a tea towel. Use the plastic (or tea towel) to bunch the dough into a disk. Allow the dough to rest and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes (or up to two days).
5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. I prefer these cookies to be cut thick, at about ⅜ inch (1 centimeter) thick. When rolling shortbread (and other doughs) I like to use dowels as foolproof guides. Place ⅜ inch dowels on either sides of the dough. Then roll the rolling pin over the dough and dowels to create an even thickness.
6. Use a cookie cutter to punch out the dough. I used a 2 inch diameter heart cutter and got 14 cookies. You may get more or less, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Gently bunch together and re-roll dough scraps, brushing off any excess flour, once or twice.
Optional: I like to give these strawberry shortbread cookies dimples, to resemble a classic Scottish shortbread finger. If desired, use the dull side of a wooden skewer to dimple the dough, about halfway down (don't poke all the way through).
7. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 or more minutes, until chilled.
8. Bake the cookies for 10 - 12 minutes or until the surface of the shortbread appears matte and dry. To keep these cookies tender, you do not want any golden coloring. (Our hearts baked perfectly in exactly 12 minutes.)
9. Immediately out of the oven, sprinkle cookies with an additional dusting of granulated sugar. After 2 - 3 minutes, use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a rack and allow to cool completely. Be careful, warm cookies will be delicate and easy to break.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Dried or dehydrated strawberries still have some moisture that give them a chewy, candy-like texture. Freeze dried strawberries have no moisture and a dry, crispy texture. This recipe requires freeze-dried strawberries.
Sure. If using salted butter, omit the additional salt added to this recipe.
Cookies tend to spread when the butter is too warm before baking. For the best results, bake shortbread cookies when firm and chilled from the fridge.
Shortbread becomes tough when the dough is over worked. To avoid tough cookies, mix the flour into the dough on low speed just until a crumbly dough is formed. Then, use a tea towel (or plastic wrap) to bunch the dough into a disk without any kneading. Allow the dough to hydrate, while chilling, for at least 20 minutes.
When rolling the dough, avoid adding too much excess flour and/or over working the re-rolled dough scraps.
Proper shortbread requires a basic 3:2:1: flour:fat:sugar ratio. (This recipe was adjusted slightly, for ease of Imperial measuring.) Shortbread that is too dry and falling apart is usually caused by too much flour and inaccurate measuring.
For the best results, we recommend baking using the metric weight measurements provided. If you must use measuring cups, aerate the flour, spoon gently into the measuring cup, and level with a flat edge. 1 Cup of flour should weigh about 130 grams.
No. If you would prefer to make this recipe into a traditional shortbread finger, you can! After mixing, press this dough into a parchment lined 9x9" pan. Dimple with a skewer, or fork, as desired. Chill until firm. Bake, adjusting the timing as necessary, until the shortbread appears matte and dry. While still warm, use a sharp knife to cut into bars or fingers.
Yes! Shortbread cookies can be frozen as dough, or after baking.
Shortbread Cookie Dough: Twice wrap the disk of dough and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to come to room temperature before rolling and cutting.
Baked Shortbread Cookies: Cool completely before freezing in a freezer safe bag. Thaw at room temperature and enjoy for up to 1 month (or more).
Strawberry Shortbread Cookies
- Flour Sifter (or a fine mesh sieve)
- Stand Mixer with the Paddle Attachment
- Rolling Pin
- ⅜ Inch Dowels (x2) (*Optional for evenly rolled cookies)
- Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter (or other shape(s))
- Wooden Skewer (Optional)
- 2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ounce freeze dried strawberries crushed to a fine powder (about 5 ½ Tablespoons of powder)
- ¼ teaspoon fine kosher salt* (a.)
- 1 Cup unsalted butter (2 Sticks) softened to room temperature, high-quality European butter preferred (a.)
- ½ Cup granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling (about 2 Tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Gather, measure and prepare the ingredients as listed. For the most consistent results, we recommend using metric weight measurements whenever possible.In medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, freeze-dried strawberry powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix softened butter and sugar together on medium-low speed. Mix for 3 - 5 minutes, scraping the bowl as necessary, until well combined and pale. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add in flour mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is absorbed and a crumbly dough is just formed.
- Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap of clean tea towel. Use the plastic (or towel) to bunch the dough into a disk shape. Chill the dough for at least 20 minutes, or overnight, until firm.
- Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 375° Fahrenheit (190° celsius). Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out ⅜ inch (1 centimeter) thick. I like to use ⅜ inch dowels on either side of my dough as guides, for even rolling (see photo in post text).
- Use a cookie cutter (I used a 2 inch heart shape) to punch cookies from the dough. Optional: While still in the cookie cutter, use the dull end of a skewer (if using) to add several dimples to the dough. Dimple the dough about halfway down, do not poke all the way through.
- Transfer cookies to the baking sheet. Chill cookies for an additional 10 -15 minutes, or as needed, until firm and chilled.
- Bake cookies for 10 - 12 minutes or until the tops of the shortbread appears matte and dry. Do not over bake, the cookies should be blonde and pale.
- Immediately after removing from the oven, sprinkle with a additional granulated sugar. After 2 - 3 minutes, use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
* A Note About Salt
Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on The Sage Apron are developed using Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. It is a great all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If using table salt, reduce quantities by about half.