¼tspcoarse Kosher salt(if using table salt, use half the amount)
1tspvanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
½cupcold unsalted butter,cut into 8 pieces
2tbspcold whole milk
½cupchopped freeze dried strawberries(no bigger than 1/4 inch)
1tbspfinely crushed freeze dried strawberries
1tbspcrumbled freeze dried strawberries
In your food processor, pulse the flour, powdered sugar, crushed freeze dried strawberries, salt, cardamom and vanilla until combined.With the processor running, drop in the pieces of butter, one at at time, pulsing a few times until the butter is evenly distributed, and the dough is moistened and crumbly.Add the milk, then process until the dough starts to stick together.
Dump the dough out onto a clean counter, along with the chopped freeze dried strawberries, and use your hands to finish bringing the dough together, kneading in any stray bits of flour.
Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with sheets of parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, place the disk of dough, and dust the top of the dough with flour, too. Roll out to an even thickness of 1/4 inch thick.Use any size/shape cookie cutters to cut as many cookies as you can, placing the cut cookies 1-2 inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheets. Gather up the scraps of dough, roll them out again, and continue cutting as many cookies as you can.Note: I was able to cut 6 four-inch cookies and 10 three-inch cookies. Be sure to press the cutters down hard to cut through the chunks of dried strawberries.
Place the baking sheets with the cut cookies in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour. Chilling the cut cookies helps to ensure they don't spread and hold their shape perfectly while baking.
Preheat the oven to 350F.Bake the chilled cookies on the center oven rack for about 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. The tops should be a very pale golden with no dark browning, and you should see tiny flaky layers around the edges. If you (very carefully) turn a cookie over with a spatula, the bottom should have light golden browning, with no appearance of raw or wet dough.Note that if your cookies are larger, or your pan is more crowded with the cookies placed close together, it could take longer to bake the cookies. This is NOT a cookie that you want to under-bake, since a doughy, under-baked shortbread cookie does not have a pleasant texture. So be sure your cookies are fully baked.
Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the pan, then very gently transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.Shortbread cookies are delicate when warm, so handle with care. The cookies will initially be slightly crisp around the edges, but they soften a little as they're stored with a firm but buttery texture.
Let your cookies cool completely before frosting and decorating. You can bake the cookies in advance, store in an airtight container, and freeze for 3-6 months until you're ready to ice them.
In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, crushed freeze dried strawberries, vanilla and milk until smooth and drizzly. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cookies.Tip: Place the cookies on a wire cooling rack set over a baking sheet to catch the icing drips.
Before the icing sets, sprinkle the crumbled freeze dried strawberries on top. The icing will dry to the touch in about an hour, but will remain soft underneath if you press on it.
Keyword Cookies, Cutout Cookies, Shortbread, Strawberry, Valentine's Day