What do we expect from a sugar cookie? Well, we’ve got the cookie basics of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, but the treasure is always the sparkling sugar crunch on the outside.

I’ve baked yet another sugar cookie. I tint these cookies pink, by mixing some strawberry dust with the white sugar. The “strawberry dust” is finely ground, freeze-dried strawberries. It’s a neat trick that cookie bakers have been using ever since I invented it (only kidding?).

This is a recipe inspired by one from Bake or Break.

While waiting for my butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature in my stand mixer, I grind the freeze-dried strawberries from a whole 1.2-oz. bag, into ¼ cup of strawberry dust in my food processor. Right away, I mix the dust with the ¾ cup of white sugar. This way, the dust doesn’t clump, as it easily will once ground.

After mixing the sticky dough, refrigerate it for an hour, so it’ll become manageable. Then, form 18 balls of dough in the palms of your hands. Roll each pink ball in a pile of sparkling sugar. I think the color of these raw dough balls makes them look like little meatballs.

Place the dough balls on two baking sheets, then flatten each with the palm of your hand. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the trays half way through.

Like sugar cookies should, these cookies do look wonderful. We get what we’re hoping for: a first bite of crispy, sugar exterior, then an interior that’s a bit more soft, more chewy, and more strawberry. That’s right, we get a strawberry surprise as we eat one cookie after another.