Make-Ahead Strawberry-Glazed Shortbread Cookies
These cookies span the seasons -- make them at the height of summer when strawberries are at their peak, or enjoy them at Christmastime with their subtle pink nod to holiday baking.
For a fun and colorful twist on classic shortbread cookies, try the strawberry shortbread recipe. Strawberry preserves are baked right into these tender cookies. Plus they get a double dose of berry flavor from a strawberry glaze. Start with 2 tablespoons of strawberry preserves in a large bowl. If they are any large chunks of strawberries, snip them into smaller pieces with kitchen shears. Add 1 cup of softened butter and a half teaspoon of almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until everything is well combined. Put the strawberry butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a 6-inch log. Freeze it until it's firm. It'll take about 1 to 2 hours. Now preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl with 2 and 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour, add a half cup of sugar and an eighth teaspoon of salt. Stir until it's combined. Now cut the chilled butter log into smaller pieces. And then cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter until the mixture looks like fine crumbs and starts to cling together. Knead the dough until it's smooth. It will become easier to work with as it warms up. Now shape the dough into a ball. Divide it in half. Lightly flour your work surface and roll 1 dough ball out to a 1 quarter-inch thickness. Cut out square or round cookies with a 1-1/2 to 2-inch scallop edged cookie cutter. Continue rolling the leftover dough. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake the cookies until the edges just begin to brown. It'll take about 12 to 14 minutes per batch. If you're baking 2 sheets at once, rotate them halfway through to ensure even baking. Once they're baked, move the cookies onto a wire rack and let them cool completely. While the cookies are cooling, let's make the glaze. Put one more tablespoon of strawberry preserves in a microwave at 50 percent power for about 30 seconds, just until it's melted. Add them to a medium bowl. With a small wire whisk, stir in 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. The glaze will be quite stiff. So to adjust it to a smooth spreadable consistency, whisk in a little more milk as it's needed. When the cookies are completely cool, spread or drizzle the tops with a glaze. If you like, sprinkle the cookies with coarse sugar for a little extra sparkle. Let the cookie sit until the glaze is completely set before you pack them in layers. Separate it by pieces of wax paper in an airtight container. These cookies are great keepers-- up to 3 days at room temperature or 3 months in the freezer.