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.
Strawberry Gluten Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups (34 g) freeze-dried strawberry pieces
1 7/8 cups (260 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
10 tablespoons (140 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) + 1 egg yolk at room temperature, beaten
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside. In a blender (nothing fancy, any blender will do) or food processor, place 1 cup (17 g) of the freeze-dried strawberry pieces and grind into as fine a powder as possible. Break up any larger pieces of the remaining freeze-dried strawberries, and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the all purpose gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, cornstarch, ground strawberry powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, egg, and egg yolk, and mix until just combined. The dough will seem somewhat dry. Add the cream, and mix again to combine. Add the chips and freeze-dried strawberry pieces, and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Divide the dough into pieces of about 2 1/2 tablespoons each, roll each tightly into a ball, press into a disk, and then place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or just until the cookies are no longer shiny in the center. They will be very lightly brown around the edges. Be careful not to over bake the cookies. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet or until firm.
I made these cookies this morning and they are delicious! I followed your recipe exactly, using a scale to weigh ingredients and Red Mill baking flour (which contains Xanthan gum). I am not the best baker so I am especially pleased. The only substitutions I made were out of necessity..I could not find freeze dried strawberries so I used dried julienned cranberries and whole milk (because I forgot to buy cream). They are still wonderful and I will make them again with the strawberries as soon as I find them and will remember the cream! Thanks for the recipe.
Wow, I would never have thought to make something like this. I have freeze dried fruit from Trader Joe’s just languishing in my pantry. I’ll have to give these a go this weekend.
Kali Perrone says
Oops my comment did go through twice ?☺️
Thanks for your reply and tips!! I’m excited to try a few different variations of this idea ?
And tell your editor as someone who has copies of all your books and I would totally by multiple copies of a GFOAS cookie or holiday-themed cookbook ?
Nicole Hunn says
Haha Kali, I’m actually done with traditionally published cookbooks (it’s just a terrible no good way to make money and I can’t afford to keep doing it for the love!), but I’m thinking of at least creating a gf cookie cookbook (with a better name than that!) in 2019 to sell directly. It would probably have to be an ebook, though, since a self-published full-color cookbook would cost me close to $10,000 to make. Thank you so much for your support though, and the encouragement!!
Kali Perrone says
These look delicious! Your recipes are always amazing. Do you think it would work out to add macadamia nuts or will it be too crumbly? I’m thinking it would be super yummy to swap the strawberry for raspberry and add nuts! Are they a tad bit fragile or will they hold up in a cookie box? I’m probably going to make these next week as soon a my new oven gets here ? Thanks for all your hard work Nicole, looking forward to your best of holiday cookies 2019 ?
Nicole Hunn says
I love how you’re planning to riff on these. I think you could definitely swap out some of the chips for macadamia nuts (although I’d chop them, since whole they’ll interrupt the dough too much (I’m not sure if that’s clear, but it would make them break open too much during baking)). They’ll definitely hold up in a cookie box (I plan to put them in about 20+ cookie boxes!) but I’d bake them a bit more than 10 minutes if you’re at all concerned about breakage. That way, they’ll be 100% stable. And I love that you’re looking forward to the Best of 2019 Cookies!! I’m planning to stuff the blog with plenty more cookies between now and then so there’s lots to choose from. :)
Kali Perrone says
I’m was planning on a classic white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie but now I’m wondering if I should add freeze dried blue berries….