Sugar’s favorite of the plating/styling combos. © Sugar + ShakeWhen I was a kid, I was obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake. I had a Strawberry Shortcake dress my mom made me, a Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag for school naptime, Strawberry Shortcake board games, Strawberry Shortcake lotions and nail polish and, of course, little smelly Strawberry Shortcake dolls. But I don’t think I ever ate a real strawberry shortcake until I was in my late teens or early twenties.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere in particular, except that it’s strawberry season—I noticed because it seems like every fourth pin on Pinterest I run across lately has featured strawberries, and, as a friend of ours pointed out, “Strawberries are, like, two boxes for $10 at the grocery store now.” And so, I figured it was time to bust out a favorite: Strawberry Shortcake Cookies, a recipe I found in Martha Stewart Living. (Please click the link to get the recipe; I won’t be sharing it here. Why? Read our About page. Thanks.)

Strawberries from Upcountry Maui—mmm, soooo sweet! © Sugar + Shake

To make these berry-filled cookies, I used fresh strawberries from Kula Country Farms, in Upcountry Maui. Seeing as how you’re just going to bake them up inside the cookies, you don’t really need to use top-of-the-line strawberries, but (a) these happened to look way better than the non-local ones (not surprising, since they’re picked closer to ripe and didn’t get banged around for 3,000 miles) and (b) my ulterior motive was that I fully planned on eating a bunch of them not in the cookies, so I wanted good berries.

Enough with the ingredient photos, let’s get down to business: Add the diced strawberries to the dough mixture. © Sugar + Shake

Gently mix the strawberries and dough together. © Sugar + Shake

You need a gentle hand with these cookies, as you don’t want to smush the berry pieces into oblivion, and the dough, when baked, is a bit delicate, kind of like regular shortcakes. They have a slightly crunchy outside, but very moist inside. You can’t just fling these puppies around like your standard chocolate chip cookie.

After baking, cool on racks. © Sugar + Shake

One thing you need to know about these cookies, particularly here in Hawai‘i, where it’s pretty humid: because of the moisture in the fresh berries, these cookies get soggy quickly. They lose their crisp outer texture within a day. The solution, of course, is to consume as many as you can as soon as they’re made. If you can’t demolish the entire batch in one sitting, store them in airtight containers; do so as soon as they’re cool so they don’t absorb too much excess moisture from the air. Don’t leave them out on the counter for more than a day or two; like smushy berries, they’ll develop mold quickly. They’ll be fine in the fridge for several more days, but no matter what, they tend to end up with a Fig Newton-like texture by the next day. Doesn’t hurt the taste, but they’re really best right out of the oven.

In other words, these are probably not the best option for a bake-sale, but would make a lovely dinner party dessert. Or tea-time cookies, if you’re that sort of person. (I’m just jealous—I wish I threw tea parties.)

Sugar got rather carried away with different platings... © Sugar + Shake

I don’t normally get a chance to spend all the time I want photographing my food in daylight, so I got a bit carried away with playing with all kinds of setups and styling. You can see all of the photos in this gallery. The shot at the beginning of this post is my personal favorite.

OK, just one more:

Last one! This one’s pretty cute, right? © Sugar + Shake

And what’s a huckleberry, anyway?

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