Taste the essence of strawberries in these beautiful gluten-free sugar cookies!
It’s strawberry season here in Massachusetts, and although these soft and tender Strawberry Sugar Cookies weren’t made with fresh picked strawberries, they are bursting with strawberry flavor. The secret ingredient is freeze-dried strawberries that have been ground into a powder and then incorporated into the cookie dough, giving it not only terrific flavor, but a beautiful pink color. The decorative almonds and cranberries are optional toppings so leave them off if you wish. But, if you have the time, they add a unique touch and make the cookies look extra pretty.
ALWAYS BUY ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES
Make sure you use “organic” freeze-dried strawberries in this recipe for Strawberry Sugar Cookies. Buying only organic strawberries – whether fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried – is of the utmost importance. Here’s why: The EWG (Environmental Working Group), established in 1993, is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for consumers’ rights to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Every year they publish lists that rank the pesticide contamination of popular fruits and vegetables. These lists are popularly known as “The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen”. The Dirty Dozen are the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue – these are ones you should always buy organic. The Clean 15 are fruits and vegetables with low levels of pesticide residue and these are ones you can buy conventional – in other words, they don’t need to be organic. For a few years now, the EWG has ranked strawberries #1 on its “dirty” list, meaning that conventionally grown strawberries have more pesticide residues than any other fresh produce, even after rinsing! You can read more about the EWG and the testing methods on which their lists are based HERE.) It’s not always easy to remember which fruits and veggies need to be organic and which ones don’t, so I keep a copy of these lists on my phone and refer to them often when I’m at the grocery store.
ORGANIC EVAPORATED CANE JUICE VS. WHITE TABLE SUGAR
Feel free to substitute white granulated sugar in this recipe for the organic evaporated cane juice if that’s all you have on hand. I almost never develop recipes using white granulated sugar because I prefer more natural, less processed sweeteners. Coconut sugar and maple syrup are my preferred natural sweeteners, but neither will work in this recipe. The sweetener for these cookies needs to be light in color so it won’t obscure the pink color of the freeze-dried strawberries. For this reason, organic evaporated cane juice works well as a sweetener in Strawberry Sugar Cookies. ECJ, as it’s commonly known, is a slightly less processed form of white granulated table sugar. It’s essentially the evaporated juice from the sugar cane plant that’s been crystallized and cured. In reality, it’s not all that different from white granulated sugar, but at least if it’s organic, you’ll know that it contains fewer pesticides.
ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
The tender texture of Strawberry Sugar Cookies makes them fantastic for ice cream sandwiches because even when they’re frozen, they’re soft to the bite. Stuff some Mason Jar Brownie Ice Cream (as pictured), or any kind of ice cream, in between two cookies, using this ice cream sandwich mold, to make a yummy, homemade, summertime treat. If you’d like to see more strawberry recipes check out: Maple Sweetened Strawberry Ice Cream, Strawberry Chicken Pecan Salad, and Sugar-Coated Rosé Strawberries.
If you make Strawberry Sugar Cookies, don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me over on Instagram @QueenofMyKitchen. I’d love to see your creation!
Strawberry Sugar Cookies
- 1.2 ounces freeze-dried organic strawberries
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice or white granulated sugar
- 1 1/3 cups (204 grams) Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup sliced almond
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon sparkling sugar
- Grind the freeze-dried strawberries into a powder using a blender or food processor.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder along with the remaining dough ingredients and mix well.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/6 inch. Using a 2½ inch round cookie cutter with scalloped edges, stamp out cookies and place on the baking sheets.
- Sprinkle with sugar and then decorate with cranberries and almonds if desired.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges turn light golden brown.
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