Feb 12, 2009
Valentine Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
For the Cookie Dough:
2 sticks Butter (not margarine)
1 ½ C Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
½ tsp Almond extract
1 large Egg
2 ½ C All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Cream of tartar
¼ tsp Salt
Butter Cream Icing:
½ stick butter (not margarine)
¼ C shortening
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 tsp meringue powder (optional, but it will make the icing smoother)
1/8 tsp salt
2 C powdered sugar
Few tablespoons of water if necessary to thin
Heart Filling:¼ C Strawberry preserves or jam, gently warmed
Directions for mixing dough:
Sift flour, baking powder and cream of tartar, set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add in egg and extracts. Mix on high until well incorporated. Quickly mix dry ingredients into creamed mixture. (don’t over mix or cookies will be tough) Divide dough in half.
Roll out each half in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to about ¼ -1/8 inch thick. (tip: use measuring bands on your rolling pin to get an even thickness) Place dough (in plastic) on a cookie sheet and place in the fridge to chill for about 2 hours. (you can chill overnight, just make sure the edges of the wrap are folded inward to keep out air)
While dough is chilling, make the butter cream icing; Cream together the butter, shortening, salt and the extracts. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, then beat until smooth. Add in a few tablespoons of water if necessary to make icing a nice spreadable consistency. Color icing if desired.
After dough has been chilled and rolled out, remove top piece of plastic wrap, cut out sugar cookies into heart shapes. Place cutouts on a lightly greased cookie sheet or silpat mat leaving about an inch between each cookie. (they will spread just a bit, but not a lot) TIP: Alternatively, if dough is getting too soft to work with, you can remove the plastic and place the rolled out chilled cookie dough directly onto your cookie sheet. Cut out all of your shapes, being sure to leave an inch in between, and just remove the extra dough from around the cookies. This will insure that the cookies keep their shapes and they don't get distorted.
Use a smaller heart cutter to cut holes into half of the heart shapes. Remove the middle small hearts and place them onto another cookie sheet, cover with a towel or plastic wrap so they don't dry out and set aside. (they're just too cute not to bake!) While the first batch bakes, gently press all of the scraps into a ball, roll it out between plastic wrap, and place into fridge. By the time the other cookies are baked, you’ll be ready for the next round. I cut my scraps into the smaller hearts and added them to the previous ones.
Bake @ 350F for about 7-8 minutes or just until cookies are set and barely turning brown on the bottom edges. (do not brown on top or sides) Allow to cool completely before assembling and decorating.
After the pieces are all baked, spread vanilla butter cream on the bottom pieces (the solid hearts). Try not to use too much butter cream or your tops might slip slide around. Also, spread out butter cream quickly and get the tops on before it crusts over, else they might not stick together well. (hence the reason I used a pastry bag and applied in dots, then smoothed out)
Apply the other half of the cut-out hearts on top of each of the bottoms. Try to match the sizes of the tops and bottoms and clean up the edges as you go....oh wait, that's just me, sorry, I'm a bit OCD! LOL
Gently warm up ¼ C strawberry preserves in the microwave just for about 30 sec. Smash any large pieces with a fork. Place into a pastry bag fitted with a large hole (writing) tip. Fill the middle of each heart “well” with strawberry preserves. Carefully spread out to the sides with a toothpick or fondant tool.
Using a pastry bag filled with the rest of the butter cream, decorate the top pieces of each cut out heart with a star or flower tip (I used Wilton's #224, cute little flowers huh?) Uh oh, I see a few uneven ones, I better eat those!
This recipe makes about 30 heart (stacked) cookies and 40 smaller heart pieces. Store in an airtight container and the cookies will soften up a bit due to the butter cream.
Special message for Jamie (my daughter in college who is probably reading this)- I'd send ya some but your sisters and DAD ate them all. (yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)