Make your own Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping with just three ingredients! This quick and easy dessert topping will remind you of those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars you loved as a kid!

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping on vanilla ice cream in a bowl with strawberry on top from themerchantbaker.com

I’m on a bit of a roll this summer with homemade ice cream toppings. Can you blame me? It’s been a hot, hot summer and I’m all about no bake options when it comes to treats.

I just posted Chocolate Hardshell Ice Cream Topping, so I thought I’d move in a different, non-chocolate direction for this next recipe.

I also just posted a whole Summer Berry Recipe Round Up and that got me thinking to one of my favorite desserts…Strawberry Shortcake!

A top view of Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping on vanilla ice cream in a bowl with strawberry on top from themerchantbaker.com

I love the taste of strawberries and cream and shortcake in all of its forms. Whether it’s a biscuit based shortcake, or a buttery fresh strawberry scone or strawberry tres leches cake…You name it. It’s a treat that always makes my list of faves.

So, it makes perfect sense that I would post a recipe that gets straight to those favorite flavors in the quickest way possible. 

Remember those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars you used to buy from the ice cream truck? Or, from your school lunch line? Or, that you currently ;) buy by the box from your local grocery store? Yep…they are the inspiration for this quick and easy topping.

You’re not going to believe how easy this recipe is!

Pouring Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping on to vanilla ice cream from themerchantbaker.com

All you need is three ingredients:

  • Freeze dried strawberries
  • Vanilla cream filled sandwich cookies
  • Shortbread cookies

If you’ve been through some of my recipes, you know that I’ve experimented a bit with using freeze dried fruit. Using freeze dried fruit is like using a flavor bomb in your recipes. It perfect when your recipe calls for fruit flavor, but where the moisture in fresh fruit would compromise the texture or structure of your recipe.

Clearly, we can’t make crumbs using fresh, juicy strawberries, so we use freeze dried fruit instead.

Shortbread cookies, dried strawberries and cream cookies for Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping from themerchantbaker.com

What is freeze dried fruit?

  • Unlike typical dried fruit, like raisins, all the moisture has been removed through a process of freezing and evaporation.
  • Because moisture has been fully removed from the fruit, it is dry and crispy, instead of moist and chewy, like raisins.
  • The process of freeze drying gives foods a very long shelf life without the use of any added sugars or stabilizers. You get all the concentrated flavor of fruit, without any extra “stuff.”

Freeze drying isn’t new. You’ve actually seen it over the years in categories like coffee and drink mixes. But I digress. Let’s get back to our ice cream.

A view of Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping on vanilla ice cream in a bowl with strawberry on top from themerchantbaker.comThe following paragraphs may contain affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

Where can I buy freeze dried fruit?

  • I generally buy mine at Trader Joe’s. They stock it in bags in the nut aisle.
  • I’ve seen it in the produce section of major grocery stores.
  • You might also find it in the bulk section of the grocery store.
  • Of course, you can find it online as well.

(I always check the ingredient list to insure the only ingredient listed is the fruit.)

A spoonful of Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping with vanilla ice cream in the background from themerchantbaker.com

What kind of recipes use freeze dried fruit?

Here are some of the recipes where I’ve used freeze dried fruit and absolutely LOVED the results:

So, the freeze dried fruit is what adds all that yummy real strawberry flavor. Now we need to add the “cake” portion of this Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping.

The strawberries can be a bit tart, so to sweeten them up, we’re going to use vanilla cream filled sandwich cookies. I used Trader Joe’s brand, but there are plenty of other choices out there. I like Trader Joe’s because there’s no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors listed in the ingredients.

But, we’re also going to use shortbread cookies…

Pouring Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping on to vanilla ice cream from themerchantbaker.com

Why use two kinds of cookies?

  • The vanilla cream filled sandwich cookies add sweetness and vanilla flavor.
  • The shortbread cookies add another buttery element without adding more cream filling. It gives the topping more flavor and better overall texture.
  • The dry shortbread helps balance the moisture from the cream filled cookies and helps keep the topping crumbly.

Vanilla ice cream covered with Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping from themerchantbaker.com

What kind of shortbread cookie should I use?

  • I thought about adding vanilla wafers, but I decided to go with shortbread. I used Walker’s Pure Butter Shortbread Cookies
  • Just like the cream filled sandwich cookies, all shortbread cookies are not created equal. I like Walker’s because there are four ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and salt. 
  • You might find Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookies in the cookie aisle. I don’t use them because they don’t actually contain any butter. I know. Shocking. They also contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. 

Walker’s shortbread cookies were perfect for both the texture and flavor I wanted. (No, this is not a sponsored post for Walker’s. Just sharing my preferences here.)

What’s the best ratio of cream filled to shortbread cookies?

  • For me, if I added too many cream filled cookies, the sweetness took away from the natural strawberry flavor.
  • If I added too few, then the strawberry flavor was too tart.
  • For my small batch, I decided 3 cream filled cookies and 1 shortbread cookie worked best. 

Shortbread cookies, dried strawberries and cream cookies in a chopper to make Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping from themerchantbaker.com

How do you make Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping?

  • Put all the ingredients into a small food processor like this one and pulse it until you get your desired size of crumb. I opted for a small crumb, but I still wanted to maintain some texture and to see bits of cookie and berry in it.
  • While I was testing the whole concept, I also just placed everything into a sturdy zip top bag and hit it with a rolling pin to start the process and then gently rolled the pin over the mixture until I had my desired size of crumb.
  • Either way works. Whichever you choose, the process is still pretty quick.

Chopped Shortbread cookies, dried strawberries and cream cookies to make Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping from themerchantbaker.com

Okay. So when you’re done, you’ll have a about a 1/2 cup of ice cream topping. And then, you’re going to want to grab a scoop of vanilla ice cream to try it out.

So, we did just that and proceeded to top our scoops of ice cream with generous spoonfuls of the Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping.

Vanilla ice cream in a bowl on a dish for the recipe Strawberry Shortbread Ice Cream Topping from themerchantbaker.com

After eating through the first layer we had spooned on the top, everyone was reaching for more to insure every last bite of ice cream was adequately coated with the yummy crumbs.

Pouring Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping on to vanilla ice cream from themerchantbaker.com

Actually, scratch that. We were eating it by the spoonful before I could even GET to the ice cream!

We’ve also enjoyed it sprinkled on top of frosting and on top of whipped cream….

Seriously, this stuff is good! I had a friend taste a spoonful without knowing what it was and she said, “Mmm. Tastes like strawberry shortcake!” 

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping on vanilla ice cream in a bowl with strawberry on top from themerchantbaker.com

And then she said, “You know what this reminds me of? You know, those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars? Yeah. This tastes just like that!”

A jar filled with Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping from themerchantbaker.com

Mission accomplished!

***One more tip: It might be fun to bring this topping as a little gift to your next ice cream get together with friends! Package it up with a little ribbon and let the scooping begin!

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping

Yield: 1/2 cup
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Topping is easy to make with just three ingredients! It will remind you of strawberry shortcake ice cream bars!

Ingredients

  • 3 vanilla cream filled sandwich cookies
  • 1 shortbread cookie
  • scant 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries

Instructions

  1. Break up cookies into smaller chunks.
  2. Add broken up cookies and freeze dried strawberries to a food processor and pulse to small crumbs.
  3. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a strong zip top plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush the ingredients into crumbs.
  4. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and use within a week. For longer storage, store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Notes

*I used Trader Joe's Vanilla Joe Joe's, but you can use your favorite cream filled sandwich cookie (like Golden Oreos etc.)

*I used Walker's shortbread cookies. I think vanilla wafers would also be a good choice.

*You can find freeze dried strawberries at Trader Joe's. Many grocery stores now carry them in the produce section or in the bulk foods section.

*You can easily double or triple this recipe for a larger batch.

*See post for more details, information and tips for this recipe.