Books were our first boyfriends and, to this day, remain our truest love.
As bored youths surrounded by corn, books were the escape route. They were a free ride from sleepy midwestern towns to places that were big enough hold our personalities and inspire something beyond our freckled, skinned-knee existence. They fed our imagination, giving us dumb ideas like “move to the big city” and “you can do more with your life than be a waitress at Pizza Hut” – and they went oh-so-well with an after-school snack. As grown-ass women, even though food takes up most of our mental space, books are still our favorite form of self-care. Especially when cozied up to a big-ass plate of cookies.
Tomorrow (May 2nd) is Independent Bookstore Day and it might be our new favorite holiday. My (Rachel’s) husband owns Uncharted Books, a used bookstore here in Logan Square. He asked us to make snacks for their day of amazing events– and we immediately knew what we’d make.
When we’re reading we want something sweet. Little nibbles that keep us going while we turn the pages. Can’t be too crumbly, or too greasy, and absolutely nothing that’s going to get your fingers messy or leave smudges on the binding. And these Strawberry Shortbreads are just that: sweet and deeply strawberry, with just enough crunch to keep the crumbs away. Half-dipped in chocolate, they keep your fingers and pages clean while you get lost in the stacks (or just in your snacks).
This recipe calls for “freeze-dried” strawberries which is very important to not confuse with ones that are simply “dried.” Freeze-dried strawberries have all of the moisture sublimated away through a fancy space-age process. When ground up, they turn into a light-weight, intensely flavored powder that will hold onto liquid like other dry ingredients. Bonus round: they also are responsible for the cookie’s crazy red hue (look, Ma, no artificial colors!). Plain old dried strawberries, on the other hand, are, well, pretty wet in comparison. If you tried to grind them up, it’d just be a big gummy mess. So get it right or pay the price – and save the dried for snacking.
- 2 sticks Butter
- 1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tbsp Vanilla
- 2.4 oz (about 2 ½ cups) Freeze Dried Strawberries
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour – plus more for rolling
- 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, or any other dark chocolate that blows your skirt up.
- In a stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. We’re a fan of Christina Tosi’s extra long creaming method. Go for 4 full minutes at medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides, add the vanilla, and then give it another 7.
- While the butter creams, pop the strawberries into your blender or food processor. Give ‘em a buzz until they make an even, fine powder. Try not to eat too much of it. It’s real good. Combine the strawberry dust with the salt and flour, and mix well.
- Pour the pretty pink flour blend into butter and mix on low until just combined. It’ll feel like playdoh. Smash it into a mound and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Park it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (but as long as overnight).
- Once the dough is chilled, preheat the the oven to 350°. Roll out the dough using plenty of flour, into a ¼ inch disc. Cut out the cookies into little circles. Or fucking rocket ships. We super don’t care. Dust off any excess flour and place on a lined baking sheet. Pop it back in the fridge for another chill (yes, again) for about 20 minutes.
- Bake them for 20 minutes, or until they are barely browned on the edges. Let them sit for about five minutes on the sheet to firm up and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 15 second blasts at a time. Dip the cookies halfway into the melted chocolate, and let them cool again on the rack until the chocolate is completely hard.
- Store in an air-tight container in a cool place (cause, duh, the chocolate will melt and ruin your life) for up to 3 days.