This recipe for Cut-Out Strawberry Sugar Cookies isn’t the quickest recipe you’ll make but the buttery, sweet cookies are worth the effort.
My house is in an in-between stage of living, or that’s what it feels like. We know we’ll be moving in the foreseeable future, but we don’t know when or to where. So we’re in a holding pattern of sorts in our outgrown current living space. Sometimes, it feels like we’re practically bursting at the seams. I can’t wait to be somewhere right sized for us, where I can better put my mark on things.
With decorating, I mean. Geesh.
In the meantime, I’m struggling with silly wonders — should I pack up the seldom used but beloved bowls to make room in the cabinet for teapots and tea cups that we’ll use more often? Or should those items just find a home in the basement? Should I pack my winter clothes … well, whenever winter ends … in a sealed box since we will hopefully, almost-certainly, well maybe be moved by the time winter comes around again? Is this a good time to get new furniture or would it be better to wait until we’re in the new space so I or we can choose accordingly?
In some ways, all of it seems frivolous. These thoughts are rooted in theoretical ideas — will we move? Absolutely. Will it be soon? Who knows. I want it to be and am actively working toward it. But there’s no guarantee of finding a new place. There never is, I guess.
It’d be pretty fair to say that these days I spent too much time sifting through listings on Realtor.com, Craigslist and a few local property management companies. I feel like if I don’t, I’ll miss something and the opportunity to move will slip right through my fingers.
In the meantime, in this in-between space, I’m dreaming of clean closets, organized bookshelves and sweet tea parties around our living room table with real tea and little cookies. And these Cut-Out Strawberry Sugar Cookies are perfect for fulfilling that last dream.
The cookies are reminiscent of those pink and green leaf butter cookies that bakeries would sell when I was a child (perhaps you remember them … a layer of chocolate sandwiches two cookies together). With a wonderful buttery strawberry flavor, these tender cookies are like a taste of childhood summers.
The secret to the lovely flavor of these cookies is strawberry extract, a specialty ingredient I found at a chef’s supply store in Connecticut. It’s a thick, dark red liquid that both turns these cookies into their sweet pink color and imparts the summery flavor of strawberries. It’s pretty awesome. And good news: if you can’t find strawberry extract locally, try ordering it online. It’s pretty commonly available.
As for making these cookies, it will take a little while. First you mix the dough — I do this in a stand mixer. Then you chill it for a few hours. Then you roll the dough out in smaller portions to cut into shapes. Be sure to cover any unused dough to keep it fresh.
And then bake. And bake some more. And continue baking until it’s all done.
And then, if you want, you can ice them. I used a strawberry icing that was a mix of powdered sugar, milk and strawberry extract — but I totally played it by ear making it. No recipe. I just looked for the right consistency. Once frosted, sprinkling it with coarse sugar made them look so perfect.
Strawberry Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp strawberry extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, strawberry extract and egg. Fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the ingredients together on the lowest speed until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and mix again on low to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix briefly once more.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a floured board, roll out half of the cookie dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes (take care to bake like-sized shapes together for even cooking).
- For 1-inch cookies bake for 4-5 minutes until the very edge of the bottom is golden. For 2-inch cookies bake for 7-8 minutes until the very edge of the bottom is golden. For 3-inch cookies bake for 9-10 minutes, until the very edge of the bottom is golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.
- Repeat until all the dough has been rolled, cut out and baked.
- Decorate with icing, if desired.
Note: For a vanilla version, eliminate the strawberry extract and add 1 more teaspoon of vanilla extract to the recipe (so 2 teaspoons, total).
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.