It’s strawberry season and unfortunately, my obstinate strawberries did not receive the message. No worries; I refuse to let their procrastination stop me from dreaming of them in all of their ruby red glory. They’ll pop out eventually; most likely when the strawberry rock-thieving squirrels are at their most rampant, and then I shall be reluctantly forced to fight tooth and nail for each and every one that I harvest.
For those of you not in the know, strawberry rocks are a brilliant invention, or else they would be if the damn squirrels would quit stealing them out of my strawberry planters. They are meant to stop birds, or in our case squirrels, from eating ripe strawberries out of deck and patio planters. You can see an example of them on my Instagram, or get a better look at them HERE. That last picture is of one of the few surviving rocks that has not been buried deep underground or hidden away in a tree nook as of yet.
I first made strawberry rocks a few years ago and never had any issue with them being taken by our ever-present conniving squirrels. After a few years, they were beginning to lose a lot of their paint and needed to be replaced. I also noticed that they had all suddenly gone missing over the winter, and just assumed that B.O.B. Bob or I had tossed the old ones out in the fall while prepping the deck and the flower pots for the long winter months ahead. Tossing out peeling and chipped no longer attractive strawberry rocks would have made sense at the time, and could easily have been forgotten.
Sometime around Easter, my Mom came for a visit, and she and I spent a lovely afternoon chatting as we painted a new set of rocks to go in my outside planters. The new rocks lasted a day or two before they suddenly started disappearing a few at a time. At first, I thought B.O.B. Bob was trying to play a trick on me, but eventually, I accepted the fact that our lovely backyard squirrels are just little assholes; they appear to be so sweet and innocent when in reality they are wicked, thieving, strawberry rock-hoarding rodents.
Occasionally a rock in strawberry disguise pops up when B.O.B. Bob is mowing the lawn or is unburied while planting in one of our many summer garden beds, but I have come to accept that the time my Mom and I spent painting them was not very well spent. Don’t be lulled into the belief that squirrels are harmless little critters; they’ll steal your strawberry rocks, eventually pilfer your strawberries, and then most likely toss them in the yard after just one tiny bite. Squirrels are jerks.
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
- 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- Strawberry Preserves
- 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Toasted Pecans
- Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream butter and sugar together on medium speed for 3 minutes.
- Add salt and vanilla; mix 1 additional minute.
- Add the flour 1/2-cup at a time, just until evenly incorporated into the dough.
- Use a spatula to bring the dough together, cover with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Form the dough into 1-inch balls using the palms of your hands, place each dough ball onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet, and then use your thumb to make a well in the center of each dough ball.
- Fill the well of each cookie with preserves.
- Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly on a baking rack.
- Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and water together in a small bowl.
- Use a decorating bottle, plastic baggie, or the tines of a fork to drizzle the icing on top of each cookie.
- Sprinkle pecans over the center of each cookie, followed by a little bit of sea salt.
- Allow the icing to set completely before packaging in an airtight container.
- Make Small-Batch Strawberry Refrigerator Preserves to use in this recipe.
- When storing, place a piece of wax paper between each layer of cookies to prevent them from sticking.
- Drizzle with melted chocolate in lieu of powdered sugar icing.
- Replace the pecans with almonds.
I’ll be joining the Fiesta Friday Link Party today. Head on over HERE to see what everyone else is bringing to the celebration.
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