Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies

There’s not a drop of food dye in these Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies…

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

REAL raspberries take full responsibility for all that color. But more importantly, real raspberries are a total flavor bomb in these cookies. How do we add all that raspberry flavor to a sugar cookie? With freeze dried raspberries, of course!

Freeze dried fruits have become a flavor revelation in this house. I remember when I first started seeing them in stores…bags of light as air freeze dried fruit. I could have thought all kinds of things at the time, but my first thought was, “Hey, I think those are the same kinds of fruit they use in cereal boxes! We can add them to cereal and stuff!” But I never really ended up using them much for cereal. (I actually first bought freeze dried fruit to make Strawberry Chocolate Bark. That was a fun and tasty experiment.)

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

Then, inspired by the Lemon Powder that I love to use for baking, I started grinding up freeze dried fruit to use the same way…as a powder…to add to any recipe I wanted! And that whole idea gave birth to a bunch of recipes we’ve been testing in our house for the past year.

Why is this a revelation? Because you can’t simply add fresh fruit or fresh fruit puree to just any recipe and have it come out the same. There’s extra moisture in fresh, canned or frozen fruit. Baking is a science and moisture is a variable that has all kinds of effects on a recipe. But with freeze dried fruit? You get all the flavor without any of the moisture. And it’s concentrated flavor.

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

My husband has gone crazy over this idea. While I’ve been working on developing other recipes, he’s been working on fun flavor combos in recipes that I hope to share with you soon. He hasn’t kept the best of notes though :/ I usually offer adjustments to the recipe as he’s working…more flour, less flour, more sugar, less sugar…try adding “this” and add it at this time and not that time. He took some bits of advice and passed on others. I’m not confident that all of those adjustments were captured in the recipe notes.

Let’s just say that I’m type “A” and he’s type “B.” I can’t blame him. Even as a type “A” girl, sometimes I miss a recipe note and have to go back and make the recipe again to insure I’m delivering the result I intended. I think one more round with those recipes and they’ll be ready for prime time. Stay tuned.

Today, I’m sharing a recipe that wasn’t part of that development process, though it certainly was inspired by it. I always make sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day. It’s fun for us to decorate them, and it’s kind of a no brainer when you’re sending in treats for a school party. I’ve also baked them to use as edible valentines for my kids to share with their friends. As the kids grow older, though, we don’t have school parties anymore and the days of decorated shoe boxes to collect valentines have now passed :(

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

However, we do like to keep our traditions going. We still put up decorations and make sure there’s an air of festivity around the house. As I mentioned in my last post, we make homemade valentines and little gifts for each other. It’s fun. It’s festive. It’s creative. And…I still make cookies…shaped like hearts.

But this year, those hearts are flavored with raspberries, soooo, you’re going to need to find freeze dried raspberries. Over the years I’ve seen freeze dried fruits become more common place in grocery stores. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s, but you’ll often find them in the produce section of the grocery store or with dried fruits/nuts or sometimes with the cereals. Just remember that you need fruits that are “freeze dried,” not just “dried.” Freeze dried fruits are light as air and crispy, not chewy like raisins.

The bag I buy comes in a 1.2 ounce size and I used a little more than half of it. I just empty the bag into my mini food processor and process the dried berries until they have been pulverized into a fine powder. Because raspberries have seeds and I don’t want seeds in my cookies, I take the extra step to sift them out and discard them. What’s left is a gorgeous deep pink powder that almost looks like it should be at the cosmetics counter as a color choice for blush or nail polish or lipstick. Seriously, the color was almost mesmerizing. And it’s as intensely flavorful as it is colorful. We’re going to take advantage of both of those qualities.

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

Since it’s a powder, you might think it would get added with all of the dry ingredients. But after working with my husband on many tests, I’ve found that it’s best to add it with the wet ingredients. It will incorporate into the dough better and yield a better texture.

Once mixed, I usually roll the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and then refrigerate it. I like to give it 30 minutes to an hour, but I often just let it chill until the next day and then cut and bake them whenever I have time. Roll them thicker for a soft cookie, thinner for a crispier cookie.

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

Because I wanted all the raspberry pink”ness” to show through, I decided not to frost these cookies. Instead, I sprinkled some with sparkling sugar before baking. I baked others plain and simply dipped them into melted white and dark chocolate. They were all good. But, as much as I love berries and chocolate, I liked the cookies sprinkled with sugar and the ones dipped in white chocolate the best. The raspberry flavor adds a tartness to the cookie which was balanced nicely by the sweet sparkling sugar and the creamy white chocolate. Had I dipped the others in milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate, I might have felt differently. In any case, sweet toppings work well here, which means the cookies would be really yummy spread with some fluffy frosting or glazed with icing, should you decide to go that route.

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

Naturally pink, naturally raspberry, with that buttery sugar cookie flavor you love. A little flavor magic from freeze dried fruit takes a traditional sugar cookie to a fun new place.

If you read my Chocolate Chip Dulce de Leche Bars post, you know I love a homemade Valentine’s day. Homemade from the decorations to the gifts and the cards, and of course, the sweet treats. Consider these Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies…

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies. Real raspberries add lots of natural color and flavor in this delicious twist on traditional sugar cookies.

my valentine to you :)

 

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 20-24 (3 inch) cookies

Raspberry Valentine Sugar Cookies

I had a recipe glitch on 2-14-17 and had to re-enter the recipe. I just found a typo that has now been corrected. In the recipe, it had stated 5 Tablespoons of raspberry powder. The correct amount is 5 TEASPOONS.

Ingredients

  • 1.2 ounce bag freeze dried raspberries (you'll use a little more than half)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Optional toppings/decorations (melted white or dark chocolate, frosting, sprinkles etc.)

Instructions

  1. Make raspberry powder. In a food processor, process freeze dried raspberries until they become a fine powder. Strain the powder through a sieve to remove seeds. Discard seeds and set powder aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and 5 teaspoons of the raspberry powder.
  5. Beat until well combined. Add flour mixture and beat on low until combined.
  6. Spread a couple of sheets of overlapping plastic wrap on your work surface to create an area large enough for you to roll you dough. Flatten into a disk and cover with another sheet or two of overlapping plastic wrap.
  7. Roll the dough between the two pieces of plastic wrap to desired thickness. Occasionally lift the plastic wrap to release any wrap that gets caught under the dough. I roll mine to about 1/4". Roll it thinner for a crispier cookie (about 1/8")
  8. Wrap the edges of the plastic wrap up over the dough and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes or until dough is firm.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and use flour dipped cookie cutters to cut desired shapes. I dip the cutter in flour in between each cut or two.
  11. Place cut out cookies a couple of inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. If topping with sparkling sugar, sprinkle on before baking.
  12. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Time will depend on how thinly you rolled your cookies and how hot your oven runs. I baked mine for about 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms edges were just beginning to get lightly browned.
  13. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to finish cooling. If you haven't already baked with a sugar topping, dip in melted chocolate, or frost and decorate as desired.

Notes

*I like to roll my cookie dough between sheets of plastic wrap right after it's been mixed. It's cleaner and easier to work with. This only works well if your plastic wrap sticks to your work surface. You can also just wrap the ball of just mixed dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate, then roll it out on a floured surface and cut out your shapes as you traditionally would with sugar cookies.

*I rolled my dough 1/4" thick and baked for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden on the edges. This gave me a firm, but soft cookie. For a crispier cookie, roll thinner and bake longer.

*You will have raspberry powder left over. Keep it in an airtight container and use it to flavor other recipes.

*I baked some of my cookies topped with sparkling sugar. You can also use raw sugar, but if you want the sugar to show up after baking, it must be a coarse sugar.

*I dipped some of my baked cookies in melted chocolate. I didn't provide any measurements because you may need different amounts depending upon your decorating plan. For every 2 ounces of chopped chocolate, place 1 teaspoon of shortening or coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high, stirring at 15-30 second intervals, being careful not to burn the chocolate. If you use 4 ounces of chocolate, use 2 teaspoons of shortening, for 6 ounces, use 3 teaspoons of shortening. The shortening will help keep your melted chocolate fluid and ready for dipping. You can add more or less depending upon the fluidity you want. I use organic non-hydrogenated shortening.

*Store cookies in an airtight container remembering that chocolate or frosting will keep the cookies soft. Mine were still soft on day 5. It's more difficult to keep them crispy since any topping with moisture in it will soften them. If you're only topping with sugar and you rolled and baked them using the crispy tips I've provided, I would store them in an airtight container layered with paper towels to help absorb any excess moisture. Please note that this recipe isn't engineered to bake up super crispy cookies. The different methods simply offer you an option to go a little crispier or a little softer.

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