It’s always a bit unfortunate that the Edible East Bay publishing calendar strands Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day between issues. When our Winter Holidays edition comes out in mid-November, it’s too early to present those themes, and our Spring issue release date of February 21 makes it a near miss for those holidays. To rectify the situation, I’ve decided that Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day are fair game for this Spring 2023 issue, and I have some good backup on that:
“Even late February is still the season,” wrote our dim sum story’s co-contributor Bridge Ho as a vote for extending the celebration into this issue. Mooncake artisan Annie Wang of Annie’s T Cakes, whose story starts on page 26, might second that.
And why only a one-day celebration of love? I’d like to establish the Strawberry Holiday as a long season of love that lasts the length of California’s strawberry harvest, which Tami Chu, publisher of Edible Ojai & Ventura County, says runs nearly year-round in her region. Please enjoy the strawberries on our cover, this cake recipe, a compote, and the little recipe feature below, which shows how to loop the Strawberry Holiday through the entire year.
When trying times come to roost, the happiness and connections we derive from sharing in holiday joys matter all the more, and each harvest throughout the year brings a new reason to celebrate.
—Cheryl Angelina Koehler
STRAWBERRY CREAM WAFERS
In late December, my sister, Charmaine, and niece, Jera, had successfully made it home from grocery shopping on the south shore of Lake Erie just as the infamous holiday bomb cyclone of 2022 was bearing down on Buffalo.
“We saw these dehydrated strawberries at the Erie Food Co-op,” Jera said. “I grabbed some on a whim because they smelled like summer, and who doesn’t need a bit of that at the darkest time of the year?”
Picking up my old, stained Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book (first edition, 1963), Jera came up with the following inspired reinterpretation of the Cream Wafers recipe using those dehydrated strawberries—pulverized to a powder—to replace some of the sugar in the filling. She used a pastry bag to pipe filling onto the bottom layer and then added more of the dreamy pink stuff onto the tops.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies
For the wafers
- 1 cup butter
- ⅓ cup whipping cream
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- White granulated sugar
For the buttercream filling
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup pulverized dehydrated strawberries
- ½ cup powdered sugar
Mix butter, cream, flour, and salt thoroughly. Chill dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll dough ⅛ inch thick on a lightly floured board and cut into shapes of choice. Transfer to a plate heavily sprinkled with sugar, turning to coat both sides. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Prick each wafer in 4 places with a fork. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until slightly puffed. Remove to a rack to cool. Cream together the buttercream filling ingredients and assemble wafers with a layer of filling.