The amount of freeze-dried strawberries called for here totals at 1.2 ounces, the standard-sized bag. Don't substitute fresh strawberries! Their moisture would compromise the recipe. But you could substitute other freeze-dried fruit, from raspberries to blueberries. —Emma Laperruque
Start the glaze and sprinkles. Add the strawberries to the bowl of a food processor and blend until powdery. Divide between two small-ish mixing bowls and cover each with plastic wrap. No need to clean the food processor—we’ll be using it in just a sec.
Move onto the shortbread. Add the flour, powdered sugar, and salt to the food processor. Pulse to combine. Sprinkle the butter evenly on top. Pulse until the mixture is mealy, like you took pie dough a few pulses too far. Sprinkle the strawberries evenly on top. Pulse until a shaggy dough starts to form. It shouldn’t be one cohesive mass, but should easily hold together when you squeeze it with your fingers.
Divide evenly among the cups of a standard-muffin pan (roughly a heaping 2 tablespoons each). Press the dough down with your fingers to create solid cookies. Prick each one a few times with a fork.
Bake for about 26 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the edges are golden brown. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Use an offset spatula to wiggle out of the cups. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before glazing.
Make the glaze. Add the powdered sugar and salt to one of the strawberry powder bowls. Whisk with a fork to combine. Add the cream and whisk again until smooth. Add more as needed to yield a texture that’s somewhere between drippy frosting and thick glaze.
When the shortbread is completely cool, turn each cookie upside-down. Use an offset spatula to spread strawberry-cream glaze on each. You want it to just ooze over the edges of the cookie but mostly stay put. Once they’re all glazed, turn to the rest of the strawberry powder. Transfer to fine-mesh sieve and shake, shake, shake over the glazed cookies, like a light dusting of sprinkles. Alternatively, you could do this by hand.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.