Strawberry and Cream Scones

Strawberry and Cream Scones.

Strawberry and Cream Scones.

After I finished making my Very Berry Strawberry Cookies, I had a partial package of freeze dried strawberries left, with no plan for how to use them up.  Then I noticed a packaged mix for strawberries and cream scones in a baking catalog.  That gave me the idea I needed for how to use the strawberries.

Warm, tender, and flaky.

Warm, tender, and flaky.

Since fresh strawberries can be difficult to incorporate into baked goods, adding too much moisture to the finished product, I reasoned that the freeze dried berries would provide the color and intense flavor of strawberries without the excess liquid.  I rehydrated the strawberries, squeezed out the extra liquid, chopped them up a little and proceeded with my standard recipe for cream scones.  The bright little bursts of flavor turn these into very delightful scones, especially served warm with some strawberry jam.   It was mid-day when I baked these, so when they came out of the oven I had one with a cup of tea, but they are also great for breakfast, too.

STRAWBERRY AND CREAM SCONES

Yield:   Makes 8 scones

Ingredients:

The essentials for strawberry cream scones.

The essentials for strawberry cream scones.

  • a generous 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour ( I use half whole wheat flour)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

1.  Place freeze-dried strawberries in a small bowl and cover them with warm water.  Leave to soften for about 5 minutes.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Chop coarsely and set aside.

2.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease lightly.

3.  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Cutting in the butter.

Cutting in the butter.

4.  In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and cream.  Add the cream mixture and chopped strawberries to the dry mixture.

Adding in the egg, cream and strawberries.

Adding in the egg, cream and strawberries.

Stir together lightly to make a sticky dough.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently about 6 times, just until it holds together.  Add a little flour if necessary.  Pat the dough into a 6 to 7-inch round, about 3/4-inch thick.  Cut with a sharp knife into 8 wedges.  Transfer to the baking sheet and brush the tops of them with a little cream.

Brush tops with a little cream before baking.

Brush tops with a little cream before baking.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until set and golden brown.  (Mine were perfect at 15 minutes).

Serve warm with butter and strawberry jam.  Delicious!!!

Asking for some strawberry jam!

Asking for some strawberry jam!

Heaven in the shape of a scone!

Heaven in the shape of a scone!

SOURCE:  adapted from a recipe for cream scones by Rennie Darling:  Muffins, Scones, and Quick Breads

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Very Berry Strawberry Cookies

Very Berry Strawberry  Cookies

Very Berry Strawberry Cookies

This is the time of year when strawberries are reappearing at the market and they look so beautiful; red, ripe and juicy.  They never fail to get my creative juices flowing.  The native berries that grow here where I live have not ripened yet  (usually not till the end of May), so until those are available I will use the California-grown berries available at the market.

However, I have found from past experience  that baking with strawberries does not produce a true, vivid strawberry flavor.  They are so much more enjoyable in their natural state, luscious and juicy with just a little sugar on them.  So for baking I have been exploring ways to get a true strawberry flavor.  I think I have found the answer, and it happened quite by accident.  One morning I was eating Special K cereal with Red Berries and was struck by how strong the berry flavor was.  These freeze-dried strawberries had the color and flavor I have been looking for.  So I searched the dried fruits section of the supermarket and there I found bags of freeze-dried strawberries.

Freeze dried strawberries can be pulverized into powder.

Freeze dried strawberries can be pulverized into powder.

Bingo!  I was on to something.  Reasoning that if I could crush or pulverize those freeze dried berries and mix the powder into the dough,  I could get the strong flavor I wanted.    I love to experiment,  so I was excited to give this a try.  The results, I’m happy to tell you, were quite good.   Using a recipe I had for a basic sugar cookie that also uses some cream cheese, and adding the strawberry powder to the dough,  I got a tender cookie with a pretty pink color and real strawberry flavor.  They are just great on their own, but you know what?   You can also mix this strawberry powder into cream cheese frosting and make sandwich cookies for a double-whammy of strawberry goodness.  (Notice that I’m not mentioning calories here!)    Ok, Ok, let’s be reasonable.  Let’s enjoy these cookies with a dish of strawberry ice cream instead!!!

The perfect accompaniment to Very Strawberry ice cream.

The perfect accompaniment to Very Strawberry ice cream.

VERY BERRY STRAWBERRY  COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 4 1/2 dozen 2″ cookies, or 27 sandwich cookies

For the Cookies:

  •  1 cup  ( 2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup  ( 4 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature.  Reduced fat version is OK.
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup strawberry powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups flour,  I used half white whole wheat flour;

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese  (4-ounces)
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons strawberry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon strawberry jam
  • milk or cream as needed for spreading consistency

To make the cookies:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

2.  Begin by crushing the dry strawberries.  I used a mortar and pestle and was able to get a fine powder with little or no lumps.  If you have difficulty getting it smooth, you can always sift the powder to remove any lumps.   Measure 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons if making the filling.

3.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, salt and baking powder, strawberry powder and sugars.

Mixing up the cream cheese, butter, sugars and strawberry powder.

Mixing up the cream cheese, butter, sugars and strawberry powder.

4.  Once the mixture is nice and light and fluffy, beat in the egg and then mix in the flour.

5.  Scoop by the tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets.  Flatten each cookie into a 2″ circle with the bottom of a glass dipped into sugar.

Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet and flatten into  2-inch circles.

Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheet and flatten into 2-inch circles.

Bake for 14 – 16 minutes, until barely golden around the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.  Makes about 54 cookies.

To make the filling:

1.  Beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy.  Add the strawberry jam, and blend into the cream cheese.  Add the sugar and strawberry powder gradually  along with small amounts of milk or cream to achieve a spreading consistency.

2.  Generously frost the bottom side of one cookie and top with another to make a tasty sandwich.  Makes about 27 sandwich cookies.

These are not going to last long.

These are not going to last long.

You can never have too much of a very good thing!

You can never have too much of a very good thing!

SOURCE;  a Carolyn Original based on a modified recipe for sugar cookies from Taste of Home