One of the best parts about living in Northern California in the spring is…the spring!
Having lived in South Florida for most of my life, I am more acquainted with the Floridian four “seasons:” Hot, Hellish, Hurricane, and Slightly Cool Sometimes. But here? I’m happy to say that I slept with my window open and woke up to the sound of birds chirping, while the scent of flowers wafted in on the breeze.
Oh yes…did I mention the flowers? I love flowers. Roses. Orchids. Baby’s Breath, even. The little Dutch girl in me goes mad every time I see a tulip. And then there are the birds of paradise.
Amazing. Unique. Perfect. While winter is undisputedly my favorite season, April showers and (almost) May flowers make spring my close second.
And with spring also comes some equally amazing and unique produce…which, of course, it would be a culinary sin to leave out from any spring cookie recipe. Produce like rhubarb.
Never heard of it? Don’t worry: I hadn’t either; at least not until I first came upon the strange pink stalks at a New York City farmer’s market a few years ago. The stalks are the only edible portion of the plant (the leaves, however, will kill you…), and when reduced to a gel in an oven along with a little strawberry, sugar, and cornstarch or flour, they produce an absolutely delicious sweetly tart filling that’s perfect for pies, crumbles, crisps, and…cookies!
I came up with these cookies back in NYC, after my rhubarb discovery. They are based on a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, which means that they have a brown sugar and (vegan) butter crumble on the top. They have a tendency to spread while baking, so I like to make them in mini-muffin tins–but don’t be fooled when they look more like tarts than cookies! The strawberry rhubarb filling just adds a great level of flavor and consistency to an already awesome sugar cookie, and the crumble is an added bonus.
Rhubarb season, like those perfect spring days on which I have time to bake with it, is short-lived. But man, oh, man, if you can get your hands on a stalk or two, do NOT pass up the opportunity.
Love and cookies,