These strawberry almond mushroom cookies are quite possibly the most adorable cookies you’ll ever make. Dipped in red white chocolate and sprinkled with almonds, they look just like mini red mushrooms. The cap hides a delicious jelly almond crumb filling.
We have this saying for when the sky is orange-red at sunset. Something you start hearing as a kid and then it just sticks, even though it doesn’t make much sense. The saying is “St. Nicholas is baking cookies.” Ever heard of it?
St. Nicholas is one of the three Santas of Slovenia that brings gifts in December. A lot of gift-giving, I know. This podcast episode from 99 Percent Invisible does a deep dive into this Slovenian tradition, if you want a fun listen.
Without exaggeration, I honestly do always think of cookies when I look at a burning orange sky in late Fall and Winter. I have a lot of simple cookie recipes, like these apple oatmeal cookies or my pistachio shortbreads. Or the always popular chocolate and peanut butter cookies.
But sometimes I want to make cookies that could fit into an episode of Gilmore Girls. Whimsical, fun, cute, over the top (maybe). And that’s what these red mushrooms are all about.
About the recipe
Strawberry almond mushroom cookies are a more vibrant version of my chocolate walnut mushrooms, which are a very popular cookie in Slovenia. We are a mushroom-foraging nation after all, so of course we’d make mushroom shaped cookies.
But this version of the recipe is lighter. The caps and stems use just one type of dough instead of two. It is a simple sugar cookie dough, that tastes like vanilla and butter. The caps are hollowed out and then filled back in with a mixture of cookie crumbs, almond flour and strawberry jelly. A slam dunk of a combination if I may say so.
The cherry on top, the most eye catching part of the cookie, is the dyed white chocolate that the cookies are covered in. It not only works flavor-wise, it’s also so gorgeous. I don’t use a lot of food coloring in my baking, but sometimes a recipe just calls for it and this is the one.
The spots on the mushrooms are made with coarsely chopped blanched almonds. I buy these pre-cut, but you can also make them yourself. For a less rustic look, you can also use white sprinkles.
While these cookies are a labor of love and take some time and some artsy skill, they aren’t too complicated. But let me guide you through the process of making these, to hopefully make things easier on you.
You start with making a simple sugar cookie dough. It has to be smooth and pliable, but not sticky or crumbly. I like to chill the dough for about 30 minutes once it’s done. It allows the butter to firm up which makes rolling easier.
Next, divide the dough in 3 equal parts. Set one part aside and first roll the 2/3 portion into 23 balls of dough. These are your caps. Then take the remaining 1/3 portion of the dough and roll it into 23 logs, about 2 1/2 inches (6 cm) long. These are your stems. Place them on two baking sheets about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
Press down the cookie balls (the “caps”), to flatten the bottoms. Bake these caps first, in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C), for 10-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown. The tops will remain pale. As you take the caps out, put the stems in and bake them for 10-15 minutes.
Once you put the stems in the oven to bake, start working on the caps immediately! You have a short window here as they need to be warm as you scoop out the crumbs. Cut a circle in the bottom of each cookie and scoop out about 2 teaspoons of crumbs. Do this with all the cookies and set the crumbs aside.
Once your caps are hollow and stems baked, you can assemble the cookies. Combine cookie crumbs with almond flour and strawberry jelly. You want a compact, thick filling. If it’s too loose and spreadable, add more almond flour.
To assemble each cookie, take one mushroom cap and fill the hole with the crumb filling. Then take a stem and stick it into the cap. Some of the filling will start to come out of the cap, so try to push it back in and then wipe away any excess. Do this with all the cookies and place them on a plate upside down. Let them set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.
Once you’re ready to finish the cookies, prepare the chocolate. To make the chocolate, place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Add the chopped chocolate. Once about 2/3 of the chocolate melts, remove it from heat and stir the remaining chunks with the already melted chocolate. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, add red food coloring, to get your desired shade of red.
A note on food coloring: Use oil-based food dye made specifically for chocolate. Any other type of coloring can cause your chocolate to seize and you do not want that.
Take the cookies out of the refrigerator. Dip each cookie in the chocolate, deep enough to cover the entire cap. Sprinkle almonds on top and transfer the cookie to the lined baking sheet.
Chill cookies for 1-2 hours, until the chocolate hardens. Then enjoy! Keep them in an airtight container for up to a week. I personally like to keep them in the refrigerator, to keep the chocolate from getting too warm, but they are fine at room temperature too.
More cookie recipes to explore
- Italian peach cookies with ricotta (Another whimsical cookie that is shaped like a peach. Very popular throughout Europe.(
- Lemon crinkles with rose water (Pink cookies with aroma of lemon and rose water. They are so pretty and light.)
- Soft apple oatmeal cookies (Perfect Fall cookies.)
- Italian almond cookies (Also called Castagnelle, these are perfect for dipping into coffee. They are also accidentally vegan.)
- Thick chocolate chip cookies with mini eggs (You can use M&Ms instead of mini eggs for a year-round version.)
- Pistachio shortbread cookies (These are so delicious with bits of chopped pistachios and some rose water.)
Strawberry almond mushroom cookies
For the cookies
- 2 3/4 cups (370 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (170 g) powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2/3 cup (150 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling
- 1 cup cookie crumbs
- 1/2 cup (55 g) almond flour, or almond meal
- 1/2 cup (150 g) strawberry jelly
- 10.5 oz (300 g) white chocolate, broken into small pieces
- red food coloring for chocolate
- 1/2 cup (60 g) chopped blanched almonds
Make the cookies
- In a large bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and salt.
- In a smaller bowl, mix flour with baking powder. Add flour to the butter mixture in 2-3 additions, whisking well after each addition, until you get a smooth dough. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add a tablespoon of milk until you get a kneadable dough.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured working surface and knead it for a minute, making sure it’s smooth and compact. If the dough is sticky, add more flour. (The dough should be soft enough for you to make an indentation in it with your finger, but not sticky.)
- Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Set the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Take out the dough and divide it into 3 equal parts. Set one part aside. Take the other two and make 23 smaller lumps of dough.
- Roll each lump into a smooth ball. Place dough balls on a baking sheet about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Gently press each one into the baking sheet to flatten the bottom.
- Split the remaining 1/3 portion of dough into 23 equal parts and roll each one into a log, about 2 1/2 inches (6 cm) long. Place them on the other baking sheet, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart and set it aside.
- Bake cookies in the center of the oven for 10-15 minutes, until they rise and get slightly golden brown around the edges (the tops will stay pale).
- As you take out the first cookie sheet (the “mushroom caps”), put the second one with the “stems” in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes (until golden brown on the bottom).
- Immediately start prepping the first batch of cookies, while they are still warm (this is important!). Cut a circle in the bottom of each cookie and scoop out about 2 teaspoons of crumbs. Do this with all the cookies and set the crumbs aside.
Filling and assembly
- In a bowl, mix cookie crumbs with almond flour and strawberry jam. You want a compact, thick filling. If it’s too loose (this depends on the amount of cookie crumbs you were able to get), add more almond flour.
- To assemble, take one mushroom cap (a scooped out cookie) and fill the hole with the almond-jelly filling. Then take a stem and stick it into the mushroom cap. As the filling begins to slide out, try to push some of it back in, and wipe away the rest.
- Continue with the rest of the cookies. Place assembled cookies on a plate upside down. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or covered overnight), while you prepare the chocolate.
- Line a baking sheet (or a few plates) with parchment paper and set aside on your work surface. Along that, place coarse almond meal in a small bowl and place it next to the baking sheet.
- To make the chocolate, place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Add the chopped chocolate. Once about 2/3 of the chocolate melts, remove it from heat and stir the remaining chunks into the already melted chocolate. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, add red food coloring, to get your desired shade of red.
- Take the cookies out of the refrigerator. Dip each cookie in the chocolate, deep enough to cover the entire cap. Sprinkle almonds on top and transfer the cookie to a lined baking sheet. Continue with the remaining cookies.
- Chill cookies for about 2 hours, until the chocolate hardens. Once the chocolate is hard, you can transfer the cookies to airtight containers and store them at room temperature or in the refrigerator (if your home is very warm) for up to a week. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving, if kept in the refrigerator, as they taste better when not completely cold.
Last updated: October 30, 2023