Did you see the piles of snow around and on top of our house? I love SNOW DAYS! I feel like I am eight years-old and school is canceled. The timing of the storm couldn't have been better. It gave me a chance to just hang in the kitchen and make these delectable sugar cookies. I used this cookie recipe from Smitten Kitchen, using cream cheese and cold butter, and processing all the ingredients in a food processor. Note: it makes a lot of dough, so you will want a larger processor, or cut your cold butter up into smaller pieces and mix in an electric stand mixer. They were fast to make and the cream cheese is the key ingredient, I think. Makes them a little softer. I added about two-three tablespoons of dehydrated berries (raspberry and strawberry) to the sugar prior to processing. First, I ground some of them in a mortar, then passed the raspberry grounds through a fine sieve to get out the seeds. (Pet peeve: seeds in my teeth.) Strawberry seeds are not a problem. I am not sure it really mattered, but I rubbed the berry "dust" together with the sugar, like I would to flavor sugar with fruit zest.
For months, these dehydrated berries have been hanging out in my cupboard. I forgot that I had gotten them at my last voyage to Trader Joe's in Portland (ME). This was the perfect way to use them. Their color was appropriate to the holiday, and their bright taste was a compliment to the subtler sugar cookie. I also mixed a tablespoon or two into the frosting, as well as sprinkling them on top for decoration--and more flavor!
See the snow that built up on the window screen while I baked. Abstract snow art.
These are sooooo good. The berries are the showpiece here. I have found a new favorite cookie.
My adaptations to Deb's recipe: added two-three tablespoons of the ground berries (process as explained above); used 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I don't have vanilla beans) and 1/2 tsp raspberry extract.
For the icing, I made a standard buttercream frosting:
1 c unsalted butter, 3 c powdered sugar, 1 T whole milk, 1/4 tsp raspberry (I don't have real strawberry extract and the imitation stuff stinks!). Divide frosting in half. Then, I poured a T or more of the ground berries into each half of the frosting, I used more in the strawberry frosting to compensate for not having strawberry extract.
Then, I used whole, partially ground, and completely ground berries to decorate.