These Strawberry Shortbread sandwich cookies shaped in hearts make the cutest Valentine’s Day treat. Filled with strawberry jam and dipped in a strawberry glaze the star is the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. Delectable!
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Line one or two baking trays with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and cream for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed until pale and light. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl half way through. Add in the vanilla extract and mix again.
Add in flour beat them together. Sift in the flour and add the salt then mix on low speed until they are combined and the dough starts to come together. The dough will look quite raggedy but you’ll know it’ ready when it starts to clean the sides of the bowl and clumps in the middle.With your hands, squeeze the shortbread dough together into a mass. Shape it into a rough disc.
Roll out the shortbread dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll it out to a ½ cm (¼ inch) thick. Note: if the dough is too soft at this point then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or longer until it firms up slightly and makes it easier to roll out. Keep an eye on it as if the dough is too hard, it will crack when you try to roll it out.
Cut out cookie shapes and chill. Once the dough is rolled out, use a cookie cutter (I used a heart-shaped one) to stamp out the cookies. Lay the cut outs onto the prepared baking tray. Bring together any scraps, re-roll and stamp out more cookies. And then, do it again if needs be. Just be aware that every time you re-form the dough, it will pull in the flour from the benchtop and hence may dry out the dough. Add a couple of drops of water to the dough if this happens. Try not to overwork the dough by kneading it. Just press it gently together each time.Now refrigerate the stamped cookies for 30 minutes minimum or until the cutouts have hardened. This means the butter has resolidified and will give you the best possible chance of the cookies retaining their shape in the oven.
Bake. Preheat the oven to 170°C (335°F) whilst the cutouts are chilling. Remove the cookies from the fridge, then bake for 10-12 mins or until just golden around the edges. Cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make glaze and assemble cookies
Mix glaze ingredients together. Place the powdered icing sugar, pureed strawberries and melted butter into a bowl and stir until smooth and lump-free. It's a thick glaze but you can pop it in the microwave for a maximum of ten seconds to loosen it up a bit if need be. Fresh strawberries can have varying degrees of juiciness depending on their variety and how ripe they are. If the glaze still needs loosening, then add in a bit of the milk (or lemon juice or water) at a time until you have the perfect consistency.
Dip cookies into glaze. Divide the hearts into two so that you have equal number ‘tops’ and equal number ‘bases’ to sandwich together later on. Dip the ‘top’ hearts into the glaze letting any excess drip off. Place on a wire rack or back on the baking tray for icing to set.
Fill strawberry shortbread cookies with jam. Spoon or pipe a teaspoon worth of strawberry jam onto the underside of the shortbread ‘bases’. Cover the jam with the glazed top heart and gently squeeze together. Eat immediately or let sit at room temperature for the jam and glaze to fully set in place.
Step-by-Step Photos: My blog post includes helpful step-by-step photos to help guide you through making this recipe.If you don’t have fresh strawberries for the glaze: Use 1 tablespoon of strawberry jam or 1-2 tablespoons of freeze-dried strawberries in the glaze instead.Alternatives: If you don’t fancy turning these into shortbread sandwich cookies then simply dip each heart in strawberry glaze. To store: Strawberry Shortbread Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.To freeze: Undecorated shortbread can be stored in a freezer-safe container layered between parchment paper and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature. Fill and decorate according to the recipe.TIP 1: Re-roll the dough. Once you've cut out the first round of cookies, make sure to bring the dough back together again with your hand, re-shape it then re-roll and cut out more cookies. I do this twice to get the maximum number of cookies from the dough.Tip 2: Flour your cookie cutters. This stops the dough from sticking to them and avoids you having to peel the dough from the cutter, ruining the cookie shape.Tip 3: Refrigerate the cookie dough. Unless you what a tray of odd-shaped cookies that have spread all over the place, the dough needs to be chilled.TIP 4: Keep an eye on the bake time. Everyone's oven runs at a slightly different temperature. With such a short bake time, a minute or two, either way, will make a difference.