Every summer I think about the previous winter and its shivering and bundled layers and it seems like an odd novelty. Boots? Hats and mittens? Silliness. And that's because I forget just how cold 20 degrees Fahrenheit can be... or 10... or zero. From inside a sundress, it seems impossible to think of 2 pairs of socks. But nonetheless here we are, peeking our heads out of our wool and triple-insulated down igloos at each other on the streets with watery, wind-struck eyes. And now it seems impossible to think of seeing people with bare toes on the sidewalks. The sign at the old diner boasting about "air conditioned" seating sounds odd, like maybe in 1956 they needed that sort of thing, but certainly not these days. Buried under a crust of Chicago snow, summer seems like decades ago right now.
Which is why I needed to make these cookies. Not simply because having an excuse to turn the oven on in my drafty kitchen, but because they're Mojito-inspired. And Mojitos are the sort of thing you drink when you're outside in weather that doesn't require you have some purpose to be outside, other than to "enjoy" it.
So to keep alive the notion of sunshine on bare skin, and kind breezes... even sunburns and humidity-frizz-hair, I had to make these. To remind me that the boots will go back in the closet for the next half of the year, when I'll stumble across them while searching for a rogue sandal and they will seem alien to that version of me: a relic, and I'll marvel at how precious they seemed just a few months before.
Recipe: Goodbye Winter Strawberry Mojito Cookies
For the cookies...
1/2 pound unsalted butter (softened)
2 1/3 cups AP flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (room-temperature is best)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the glaze...
1 pint fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup white rum
1/2 cup water
Small handful fresh mint leaves, minced fine
What to do with it all...
Cookies: Beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add all other ingredients except flour and beat until well combined. Reduce mixer to low and add flour slowly until well combined. Divide dough in half and wrap and put into fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove one half and place on a well-floured rolling surface. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out cookies with about a 3-inch cutter (or use a tin can!) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat 1 inch apart. Bake on mid or upper rack for 6 - 8 minutes or until golden. Repeat with second half of dough. Set aside cookies to cool.
Glaze: In a medium saucepan, heat all ingredients except mint on medium, stirring occasionally until strawberries are soft and giving off color into liquid. If there is too little liquid, just add a little more water. Puree mixture with emulsion blender or standard blender and return to saucepan. Simmer until thick. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in your minced mint. Add a tea spoon's worth of glaze to each cookie and spread until shiny and lovely.
Finish with powdered sugar if desired.
Hello Spring. Oh how I missed you.