Dye Free Strawberry Cookies & Pink Icing
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and these strawberry cookies are just perfect for your sweetheart, school party, play date, or just to have around the house. Not only are they simply beautiful (and they truly are) but they are oh so very delicious. Other than a chocolate chip cookie, they are seriously my absolute favorite tasting cookie. And that’s saying something!
When Christmas and Valentine’s Day come around I’m always faced with the challenge of what to do to produce the colors red and pink in my baked goods. I try to avoid red dye (google it – it’s scary stuff). This recipe solves that problem completely. I use freeze dried strawberries in the cookie batter which turn them a lovely shade of pink and produce a yummy strawberry flavor. I add beet juice (which has no flavor when you use a small quantity) to the icing to achieve various shades of pink and red. The color it produces is stunning. Much stronger then you’d probably expect! Whether you want a light pink, dark pink, or red – beet juice can do it all. It’s a perfect healthy way around the red dye dilemma and it’s not hard – I promise!
I hope you have fun plans for this Valentine’s Day and enjoy this sweet treat as much as my family does!
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 oz freeze dried strawberries
- Medium beet
- 8 tbsp butter, softened
- 4½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- 1½ tsp vanilla
- In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on medium to high speed.
- Add your sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until all combined.
- Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla.
- Beat in flour.
- Crush your freeze dried strawberries until they are a fine powder. I do this in a ziplock bag. Add your strawberries into your cookie batter. Stir until completely mixed.
- Store your finished dough in your refrigerator for 20 minutes. You can store it longer if needed, you'll just need to work a little harder to roll the dough after.
- Divide dough in half. The dough you're not using at the minute should go back in the fridge.
- On a lightly floured surface roll half the dough until it's approximately ⅛ inch thick.
- Using your preferred cookie cutter shape (I used a heart) cut dough. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes. (10 minutes is the sweet spot for my oven)
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Peel your beet and cut into 4-6 pieces. Place in a small pot with ½ cup - ¾ cup of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium. Cover loosely so a little steam can escape. Cook until your beet is soft when pierced with a fork. This can take 5-10 minutes. Once your beet is soft, remove it. You should have 2 - 3 tbsp of glorious dark red beet juice. Place your juice in the freezer just for a few minutes so that it cools. You do NOT want to freeze it. You want it to be lukewarm before we add it to the rest of our icing.
- In a mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on medium to high speed.
- Add sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until completely mixed.
- Add 1 tbsp of beet juice. Mix. You can add more to achieve the shade of pink you desire just be sure to add it a little at a time.
- Spread your icing on the cookies once the cookies have completely cooled.