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Strawberry Fields Forever

California is blessed with berries all year round. But, February is when strawberries start to really pop with flavor. Treat yourself or someone special to one of these strawberry-based recipes.

Make a sweet spritzer by adding strawberry simple syrup, muddled mint and strawberries to San Pellegrino Limonata.

Strawberry Sugar Cookies
–    Mixing bowl + wooden spoon or Kitchenaid stand mixer
–    Measuring cups + spoons
–    Rolling pin
–    Baking sheet
–    Cookie cutter
–    Oven

–    2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
–    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
–    1/4 teaspoon salt
–    1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
–    1 cup granulated sugar
–    3 Tablespoons strawberry powder (Just Tomatoes, Etc. Strawberry Powder is ready-to-use or simply crush freeze-dried strawberries, available at Whole Foods, Mother’s Market or Trader Joe’s.)
–    1 large egg
–    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.     Using a Kitchenaid (or the old-school wooden spoon method), cream the butter, sugar and strawberry powder. Translation: mix these three ingredients together until they form a smooth, soft paste.
2.     In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
3.     Add vanilla extract and egg to the creamed sugar mixture
4.     Gradually incorporate the flour (a third at a time)
5.     Roll dough into a ball and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
6.     Once the dough is firm, divide into two equal parts. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll out the dough into 1/2” thick layer. Using a cookie cutter, punch out the cookies.
7.     Line cookies on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 6 minutes or until edges brown slightly.
8.     For decorating, brush the cooled cookies with simple syrup and a dried strawberry slice.
Strawberry Powder
–   Dehydrator
–   Small paring knife
–   Coffee or spice grinder

–   1 lb. fresh strawberries

1.  Slice fresh strawberries into 1/4-inch pieces.
2.  Line the slices on a dehydrator mat.
3.  Leave in the dehydrator at the "fruit setting" overnight or until the berries are completely dried like chips.
4.  Take your dehydrated strawberries or use store-bought freeze-dried strawberries (available at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Mother's Market) and using a clean grinder, pulse the berries until they reach a powder-like consistency.

Strawberry Simple Syrup
–    Pot for boiling water
–    Measuring cups
–    Strainer

–    2 cups sugar
–    1 cup water
–    1/3 cup strawberries

1.     Bring water to a boil and whisk in sugar and strawberries. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Cool.
2.     Strain and save syrup for up to one week in the fridge. Use berry pulp for mixed drinks or as a dessert topping.

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