These elegant, buttery shortbread cookies are filled with an amazingly aromatic roasted strawberry buttercream that wonderfully showcases one of summer’s tastiest berries.
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I still remember the first time I visited Paris, 12 years ago. I’d been dreaming about it for so long! Landing after a six-hour red eye flight, bleary but wide-eyed, felt almost mystical. E and I were staying in a tiny hotel with tiny rooms—I remember we couldn’t roll our suitcase between the foot of the bed and the wall—that was hidden in a side street right between the 2nd and 9th arrondissements. As soon as we had dropped our bags, we headed back out for breakfast. So many things were exactly as I imagined they would be: the breathtaking architecture, the seemingly natural elegance of Parisians rushing to work, the mouthwatering bakeries everywhere we looked. But so many things surprised us, too: the noise, the smells, and all that there was to see, everywhere we looked. Our senses were saturated; we were infatuated.
We strove to make ourselves at home on the Rive Droite, and apparently we succeeded because we’ve returned to that same neighborhood every time we’ve traveled to Paris since, including when we lived there for six months in 2009. Feeling at home in Paris is one of the intangible things I hold dearest in my life. I consider myself lucky, I feel spoiled. Paris, to me, feels just as magical after seeing it a hundred times as it did the first time I walked its streets. Every visit to the city feels too short, and when I haven’t visited in a while, I ache because I miss it so much. It’s my soul city: I love it, for better or for worse.
A friend of mine feels just as strongly as I do about Paris, and—lucky for her—she’s been living there for over ten years now. She even found love there. And she’s now written a book that is essentially, I think, her love letter for her adoptive city. Lindsey Tramuta is an American writer and the creator of the blog Lost in Cheeseland. She’s been writing about Paris for prestigious publications including The New York Times and Condé Nast Traveler for years. The book she just published, The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement, promises to be my guidebook of choice for years to come. But don’t get me wrong: The New Paris is not a guidebook, but rather a window into what makes Paris exciting and relevant, right now.
The New Paris is an impressively researched and elegantly written book that covers several creative fields, including food, fashion, and architecture. Through its pages, generously filled with the gorgeous pictures of photographer Charissa Fay, Lindsey highlights the work of locals who make the city feel fresh and vibrant. I’ve seen the transformation of Paris with my own eyes: shops and restaurants that felt stale and old-timey ten years ago have given way to small designer boutiques, innovative restaurants, third-wave coffee shops, and mindblowingly good pastry shops. Every time I return to my favorite Parisian neighborhood, I know I’ll discover new and exciting spots. Lindsey, in The New Paris, offers insight into what brought this renaissance movement to life and builds an incredibly strong case for traveling to the city, if you’ve never been, or returning, if it’s been a while since your last visit.
Pssst… American and international readers: Make sure to follow Lindsey on Instagram. Her feed is gorgeous, and great for keeping up-to-date with what’s happening and delicious in Paris!
Today’s Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies with Roasted Strawberry Buttercream recipe was inspired by Bontemps Pâtisserie, a North Marais pastry shop featured on pages 144 and 145 of The New Paris. Bontemps Pâtisserie elevates shortbread-making to an art form, and since I’ve yet to visit, I instead bake cookies I hope to be a worthy homage.
My hazelnut shortbread cookies are crisp and buttery and great on their own—but inspired by Bontemps, which sandwiches its shortbreads with fruit curds and fillings, I filled mine with a dreamy roasted strawberry buttercream. That buttercream is liquid gold: in fact, it may be the very best thing I’ve ever made with fresh strawberries. It’s so good I plan on freezing batches of it while strawberries are in season. I imagine this buttercream to be a delicious way to enjoy the sweetest berries all year long, much like jams are. The colorful buttercream is fantastic in these cookies—hazelnuts and strawberries are so perfect for each other!—but it would also be fabulously memorable on a cake.
Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.
Disclosure notice: I was offered a copy of The New Paris by Abrams and the opportunity to host a giveaway on my blog by the Canadian communications agency, eleven05. As always, companies never dictate the content I create, or the opinions I express. I only use products I genuinely believe in, or feature books I truly love.
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