In the North End of Boston, there is a tiny little cupcake shop on Salem St. called Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe. They sell the most scrumptious little cupcakes — the boyfriend and I frequent the shop probably far more than we should. They have a wide variety of flavors they keep on hand at all times (some of my favorites include the new Nutella cupcake, the Banana with Banana Buttercream, the Dulce de Leche with Sea Salt, and the S’mores flavors), but they also have inventive, fun new flavors fairly often. They also make a variety of different cookies, brownies and bars, and every so often we mix it up and get a cookie with our cupcakes — after all, how could that possibly be a bad thing?!The other day on an impromptu stop into Lulu’s, Kevin saw these fluffy red and white cookies that looked rather plain to me, but he decided to try one. The sales girl (who is always there, and whom I adore because she seems to love cupcakes almost as much as me) told us they were strawberry shortcake cookies, and I got so excited, because just the week before I’d seen a recipe for the same thing! I’d been wanting to make them, but hadn’t gotten my hands on a container of strawberries just yet.
I was pleasantly surprised about the Lulu’s version of the strawberry shortcake cookie — it was mildly sweet and tender, with fruity bursts of strawberry and course ground salt sprinkled over the top. I don’t know what it is about the salty-sweet combination, but it is just SO addictive. We devoured the cookie in less than 5 minutes, and I could have totally gone for about five more. Fortunately Kevin has a gigantic (read: the size of my hand) peanut butter cup to tide us over for the rest of the walk home.
Once I tried these cookies, I couldn’t get them off my mind, so as soon as I was able, I made the recipe I’d found from Martha Stewart Living, (June 2009). I can’t say for sure that they were exactly like the cookies we tried at Lulu’s – I think my cookies had larger chunks of strawberry – but they were positively delightful. The cookies have a scone-like texture, mostly I think because the recipe is just like a scone recipe, only a bit less crumbly. There are no eggs in these cookies, just butter and cream (YUM), and loads of chopped fresh strawberries. I grew up eating Strawberry Shortcakes (courtesy of my wonderful Grandma) nearly weekly during the summer months, and these cookies are strongly reminiscent of those very shortcakes. Even though the weather is still chilly, these cookies offer a cheery reprieve from cold, and a vow that summer will be here… eventually. Until then, why not just bake up some sunny strawberry cookies to lift your spirits?
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Set aside.
2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
3) Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. They also freeze relatively well, but don’t count on there being leftovers!