Rose and Strawberry Shortbread Hearts

2/11/2019 08:19:00 AM

Rose and strawberry shortbread hearts. These are incredibly buttery and crisp shortbread biscuits, studded with beautiful crunchy crystallised roses, and sandwiched together with a strawberry buttercream. Total cuteness overload!

Rose and Strawberry Shortbread Hearts

I like to think that I'm too cool for Valentine's Day, but I can't resist a heart shaped cake or biscuit! And whilst I don't have much interest in the expensive, commercialised aspects of this "holiday", I think it's nice to have the excuse to do something thoughtful for a loved one, or to have a Galentine's Day catch-up with close friends, or to make something cute. Case in point: the chicken nugget bouquet of 2017, perhaps my greatest Valentine's Day achievement so far.

But let's get back to the biscuits!

Rose and Strawberry Shortbread Hearts

These rose and strawberry shortbread hearts sound fancy but are actually quite simple to make, albeit with a little specialised shopping involved. The biscuit component of these is a basic shortbread, with some crystallised roses folded through. (Those are the pretty pink specks!) The buttercream is a classic American-style buttercream (i.e. butter and icing sugar), with some freeze-dried strawberries added for a pretty pink colour and a pure strawberry flavour.

Freeze-dried strawberries, Crystallised roses

I got the freeze-dried strawberries at an Asian supermarket. The crystallised roses were actually a gift from a friend (Hi Clarice!), although I have seen them at speciality baking stores in Melbourne, and a quick Google search tells me that they can be purchased online in Australia as well.

The crystallised roses provided a beautiful colour and a lovely crunch to the shortbread, but not much in the way of fragrance or flavour. (Which is fine, I basically wanted them just for the colour and texture!) I don't know much about crystallised roses, and they had been sitting patiently in my pantry for quite some time (*ahem*... a decade), so I'm not sure if they're always mild like that, or if fresher ones or different brands might have a strong rose scent. I know that rose can be a divisive flavour - if you do go ahead and make this recipe, I'd suggest having a sniff of the crystallised roses first, and if you find them quite strong, simply use less.

Rose Shortbread Dough

They're soooo pretty though! I love the deep pink flecks throughout the dough.

Rose shortbread hearts, ready for baking

I have been watching a LOT of Great British Bake Off recently, so I was really pleased that the hearts all came out the same size and shape, and with a reasonably even colour.

Rose Shortbread Hearts, baked

For the buttercream, I whizzed the strawberries into a fine powder, and then added that to the buttercream mixture. Look at that light pink blush! Gorgeous.

Strawberry Buttercream

And then it was just a matter of sandwiching them together. You'll see I made both large and small hearts. In the recipe below, I've written that these quantities will make approximately 24 sandwich biscuit hearts (i.e. 48 single hearts), but this will depend on the size of the cutters you have.

Hearts! (And one circle from the last scraps of dough) Ready for icing

The eagle-eyed among you might recognise these as the heart cutters from the cookie cutter set from Nigella's now-defunct Living Kitchen range. I remember back in 2004 us Nigella fans were OBSESSED with this range and would spend loads on these egg-shaped powder blue and cream items. I still have quite a lot of the items - salt pigcake domegiant egg-shaped platters, ice-cream bowls, springform tins, salt and pepper pigletsstorage jars. Although they're all very pretty and many have lasted well, with the benefit of hindsight I can admit they were all overpriced and there were some items in the range that were of poor quality. I remember having to return the mixing bowls because they developed cracks in the glaze after the first couple of uses, and a mini whisk went rusty quickly. (I also remember a lot of chatter on the forum about metal implements rusting). But, on a more positive note, I am pleased to say the cookie cutters have lasted.

And speaking of sturdy items, the biscuits were pleasingly sturdy too - not a single one broke as I was icing them. But they're not hard or unpleasant; they're crisp and delicate and melt on the tongue.

Rose and Strawberry Shortbread Hearts

A few variations and notes. Crystallised roses are hard to come by, so if you can't find them this shortbread is still well worth making. It's crisp and buttery and delicious! With or without the crystallised roses, the shortbread also stands up on its own, so you can skip the icing if you prefer. (Indeed, I'll be using this recipe as my base shortbread recipe from now on, I loved it that much). The icing is on the sweet side, but I think that's appropriate for Valentine's Day. You may have some icing leftover, depending on how thickly you spread the frosting.

Rose and Strawberry Shortbread Hearts

These shortbread hearts were so cute and so delicious! I loved the gentle pink colour, the delicate texture of the biscuits and the soft icing, the lovely crunch from the pretty crystallised roses, and the sweet strawberry fragrance in the icing. They were so fun to bake and eat too! Happy Valentine's Day!

Rose and Strawberry Shortbread Hearts
Biscuit recipe adapted from Sweet Recipeas, Filling recipe adapted from Sugar and Sparrow

For the Biscuits
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
40 grams crystallised roses (feel free to use less if yours are very fragrant)
For the Filling
5-6 grams freeze-dried strawberries (or freeze-dried strawberry powder)
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 tablespoons (22.5 millilitres) milk
240 grams icing sugar
Pinch of salt

To make the biscuits, beat the butter and sugar in a free-standing mixer until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat for another minute or so. With the mixer on low, add the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Add the cornflour, and mix until combined. Add the crystallised roses and beat on low until combined. Turn the dough out onto a surface and form into a fat disc. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 150C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to approximately half a centimetre thick. (I like to use half the dough at a time, keeping the other half in the fridge). Cut the dough out using a heart shaped cutter. (Dip the cutter in flour to prevent the dough from sticking). Transfer the hearts to the lined baking tray.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Allow to cool slightly on the tray before transferring the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.
Continue rolling, cutting, and baking the remaining dough until it is all used up. Allow to cool completely before filling with icing.
To make the icing... if you are using freeze-dried strawberries, place them in a small food processor and process until powder. Set aside.
Beat the butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the milk and beat until combined. Add the strawberry powder and icing sugar, and beat until evenly combined and fluffy. Add a good pinch of salt and beat in.
To assemble the hearts, spread a heaped spoonful of the frosting onto a heart cookie, then sandwich with another heart. Continue until all the biscuits are done.
Makes approx. 24 biscuit sandwich hearts, depending on the size of your cutters.
Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

You can read back through my previous Valentine's Day posts here:

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  1. That's it! You've inspired me to make a cake using my freeze dried strawberries that I bought in Thailand (random yes). A few of my Nigella cutters have rusted. A shame about the range.

  2. Oh Yeaah. I love cookies with strawberry.



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