These natural strawberry gluten free chocolate chip cookies are made with white chocolate chips and freeze-dried strawberries—and no cake mix!
These incredibly tender chocolate chip cookies are packed with fresh strawberries and cream flavor. But they’re made without any fresh strawberries at all.
Baking with strawberries, it can be tricky to get true strawberry flavor without adding an artificial flavoring. Here, freeze-dried strawberries are the perfect addition.
What can you expect from this cookie dough?
The cookie dough in thick and chewy cookies like our Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies, our oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and these strawberry chocolate chippers is never wet. In fact, you might think that you should add some water to the dough as you’re making it.
Resist the urge to add anything else to the dough, as making thick cookies calls for a relatively dry dough that just barely comes together. It will hold together well when squeezed, though.
This cookie dough is unique even among thick cookies, though. The addition of finely ground freeze-dried strawberries makes the dough appear as if it may never hold together when you mix it. But squeeze it together between your palms and you’ll see that it holds together.
Why use melted butter?
You can make this recipe with softened (room temperature) butter, and beat it with the granulated sugar before incorporating the other ingredients. But if you follow the recipe as written, you’ll have cookies are soft and incredibly tender. Melted butter typically makes for chewier cookies, largely because there is less air in the cookie dough as a result.
This recipe is based on our recipe for gluten free soft batch chocolate chip cookies. In that recipe, we use a mix of butter and shortening, plus light brown sugar to achieve that perfect just-baked texture.
Here, the melted butter, along with an extra egg yolk, helps maintain the perfect texture. I’ve tried this recipe using oil, in place of melted butter, and I do not recommend it. The cookies are much flatter in both taste and texture. Plus, they taste oily no matter what you do to attempt to compensate for all that oil.
Can I use a different freeze-dried fruit?
Absolutely yes. I recommend freeze-dried blueberries or freeze-dried raspberries. But you must use freeze-dried fruit, as it has had tons of moisture removed.
I love baking with fruit, but it often provides quite the recipe development challenge as it typically has a significant amount of moisture. Moisture in baking affects the texture of the final baked goods at least as much as anything else.
You also often have to use more and more fruit for its true flavor to be prominent. There are artificial flavorings that can be really useful, but I prefer to be able to use the real thing. In this recipe, freeze-dried strawberries are the perfect solution.
I bet you could even use freeze-dried bananas to make these cookies into banana chocolate chip cookies. Instead of white chocolate chips, I’d use dark chocolate chips, though. Bananas just belong with dark chocolate.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: To make these cookies dairy-free, I’d recommend using half (56 grams) Earth Balance buttery sticks and half (56 g) nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening in place of the butter. In place of the cream, you can use canned coconut milk or even just a nondairy milk (but use a bit less).
If you can’t find dairy-free white chocolate chips, simply use dairy-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. You can also use another dairy-free mix-in if you prefer.
Egg-free: There are one egg and one egg yolk in this recipe. A single egg can often be replaced with a “chia egg,” but the egg yolk is a bit more difficult. You can try leaving it out or replacing it with another 7 grams (1/2 tablespoon) of unsalted butter, melted.
Corn-free: The corn starch is added for a more tender cookie. It can easily be replaced with arrowroot.
Freeze-dried strawberries: My local Trader Joe’s sells tons of freeze-dried fruits, including strawberries, all year round. They’re relatively inexpensive and great quality. They come in 34-gram bags, and you’ll use one entire bag for this recipe.