Strawberries and Cream Melting Moments

Strawberry Melting Moments with Freeze Dried Strawberries

If you read the recent Wall Street Journal article, you know that I’m not a big fan of following recipes. That’s not to say that I don’t look at them though. Recipes can be inspirational, and as long as you remember to ask “why”, they can be a great way to learn new techniques.

The other day, I saw Syrie’s post on Chocolate Melting Moments and was so enamored by the name and photo that I had to try this different approach to shortbread cookies for myself.

strawberry_melting-2

Baked goods are almost always some combination of fat, sugar, a binding agent (flour, eggs, etc) and a leavening agent (baking powder, eggs, yeast, etc). Different ratios and mixing techniques will turn these basic ingredients into everything from angel food cake to scones. Mess up the ratios, or mix it wrong though, and you could end up with a flat chewy ring of dough, or a rock hard puck that could send you to the dentist.

That’s why I love shortbreads as a platform for experimentation. Since there is no leavening, there’s one less variable to consider, and there’s little danger of over mixing it because there’s almost no liquid to aid in the formation of gluten. These melting moments use cornstarch in addition to flour which makes the cookies literally melt in your mouth.

Melting moment batter

Curious as to why this happens, I did a bit of research. As it turns out, cornstarch contains a compound called Amylose which is responsible for the thickening effect of starch. When heated with a liquid, the Amylose forms long chains that intertwine to restrict the movement of liquids, making them more viscous. In the absence of a liquid though, starch granules are just hard particles that physically interfere with the formation of gluten chains in the flour. With no protein web to bind things together, these cookies are only held together with fat and sugar. This explains why these dissolve so readily when they hit your warm mouth.

To heighten the effect, I like to keep the cookies in the refrigerator, which gives them an ephemeral snap, followed by a near instant liquification into a pool of sweet creamy strawberry flavour.

Cream filled strawberry melting moments

While Syrie’s Chocolate version looked delightful, I wanted to see what other flavours could be carried in this new vessel, so I turned to my stash of freeze dried fruit. The freeze drying process removes all moisture, so they can be powderized in a food processor to add the flavour of fresh fruit, without adding any liquid.

Freeze dried apricot and peach were both contenders, but I’ve always had a soft spot for strawberries and cream, which is where I decided to head with this batch of melting moments. If you close your eyes after taking a bite, you can almost imagine a big spoonful of summertime strawberry shortcake with a dollop of vanilla chantilly in your mouth.

Next up, I think I’ll do an apricot one filled with an apricot curd, and I’m also contemplating its use as a base for a savoury amuse-bouche. Parmesan melting moment with char grilled ramps and crème fraîche anyone?

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 C powdered sugar
1/4 C powderized freeze dried strawberries
1/3 C cornstarch
1 1/3 C of all-purpose flour

for filling
5 Tbs unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes until it is white and fluffy. Add the powderized strawberry and beat to incorporate.

Sift the cornstarch and 2/3 C flour into the mixing bowl and mix until combined. Sift the remaining 2/3 C flour into the dough and mix until just combined.

Spoon small teaspoon sized balls of dough into the palm of your hand and roll into a sphere then place it on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls about 1 1/2″ apart until there is no room left on the sheet. Pat the balls into 1/4″ thick cookies with your fingers, or use a fork dipped in powdered sugar.

Bake for about 15 minutes, but do not let them turn brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a minute on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Whisk the filling ingredients until light and fluffy. When the cookies are completely cool, spread a dab of filling on one cookie and sandwich with another.

Serve chilled for the most satisfying melting effect.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Very cute Marc…they look really delicious. I can’t wait to see what other flavours you play around with!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Very cute Marc…they look really delicious. I can’t wait to see what other flavours you play around with!

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    Very clever. I saw some freeze dried strawberries at Costco today. Now I’m regretting not picking them up!

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    Very clever. I saw some freeze dried strawberries at Costco today. Now I’m regretting not picking them up!

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek from kitchensidecar

    This is brilliant! You productiveness scares me. Actually it doesn’t. It makes me envious.

    Think of all the great things you could do with freeze dried foods! You could go with something savory too! freeze dried corn pulvarized. It would complement the cornstarch. Something along the lines of corn pudding and chives.

    eeee!!!

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek from kitchensidecar

    This is brilliant! You productiveness scares me. Actually it doesn’t. It makes me envious.

    Think of all the great things you could do with freeze dried foods! You could go with something savory too! freeze dried corn pulvarized. It would complement the cornstarch. Something along the lines of corn pudding and chives.

    eeee!!!

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Freezedried strawberries is a great idea, and these look delicious! The savory variation sounds great too.

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Freezedried strawberries is a great idea, and these look delicious! The savory variation sounds great too.

  • http://www.deglazeme.blogspot.com/ Christina@DeglazeMe

    I appreciate your scientific explanation! You are so creative.

  • http://www.deglazeme.blogspot.com Christina@DeglazeMe

    I appreciate your scientific explanation! You are so creative.

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com/ Ginny

    awesome! glad to know! :) Thanks!

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com Ginny

    awesome! glad to know! :) Thanks!

  • http://sakura-lovebaking.blogspot.com/ sweetipie

    wow!the cookies look delicious and beautiful.can’t wait to try it :)

  • http://sakura-lovebaking.blogspot.com sweetipie

    wow!the cookies look delicious and beautiful.can’t wait to try it :)

  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ elra

    So this “freeze dried fruit” is actually frozen dried fruit? I checked the link, I think they are just dried fruit. Did you just buy the dried fruit then freeze them your self? What if I only use dried but not freeze will it still give the same effect? I can get dried fruit easily here, but never really seen the one you’ve describe (freeze-dried). I am sorry for all of this question, this is because I am interested of trying your recipe. And I thing the recipe sounds really good.
    Cheers,
    elra

    • marc

      Hi Elra, the process is different from drying. Drying changes the the structure and composition of fruit (that’s why dried fruit doesn’t taste like fresh fruit).

      Dried fruit also has some moisture still in it, which is why it’s chewy instead of crispy.

      Freeze drying is a process that was developed by NASA as a means of preserving food for astronauts. It involves freezing food then putting it under a vacuum to remove all water content while it is still frozen.

      The result tastes and looks like the original fruit but it has a crisp texture similar to crisp meringue. It also maintains all the original vitamins and nutrients you loose if you dry by other means.

      Unfortunately because of the differences, I don’t think you can substitute regular dried fruit.

      • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/ elra

        Got it Marc, but the link that you’ve provide don’t seem to carry this freeze-dried fruit, have I mistaken? Is there any other company that I can buy the product?

      • marc
  • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com elra

    So this “freeze dried fruit” is actually frozen dried fruit? I checked the link, I think they are just dried fruit. Did you just buy the dried fruit then freeze them your self? What if I only use dried but not freeze will it still give the same effect? I can get dried fruit easily here, but never really seen the one you’ve describe (freeze-dried). I am sorry for all of this question, this is because I am interested of trying your recipe. And I thing the recipe sounds really good.
    Cheers,
    elra

    • marc

      Hi Elra, the process is different from drying. Drying changes the the structure and composition of fruit (that’s why dried fruit doesn’t taste like fresh fruit).

      Dried fruit also has some moisture still in it, which is why it’s chewy instead of crispy.

      Freeze drying is a process that was developed by NASA as a means of preserving food for astronauts. It involves freezing food then putting it under a vacuum to remove all water content while it is still frozen.

      The result tastes and looks like the original fruit but it has a crisp texture similar to crisp meringue. It also maintains all the original vitamins and nutrients you loose if you dry by other means.

      Unfortunately because of the differences, I don’t think you can substitute regular dried fruit.

      • http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com elra

        Got it Marc, but the link that you’ve provide don’t seem to carry this freeze-dried fruit, have I mistaken? Is there any other company that I can buy the product?

      • marc
  • http://www.theitaliandish.blogspot.com/ The Italian Dish

    Wow – these will go great this spring with my homemade strawberry ice cream!

  • http://www.theitaliandish.blogspot.com The Italian Dish

    Wow – these will go great this spring with my homemade strawberry ice cream!

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com/ Hayley

    These sound absolutely perfect! And a very informative post. That melting attribute must be heavenly. I love anything pink, so these are definitely next up on my list. Thanks Marc!

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com Hayley

    These sound absolutely perfect! And a very informative post. That melting attribute must be heavenly. I love anything pink, so these are definitely next up on my list. Thanks Marc!

  • http://wanderluck.wordpress.com/ Kate

    These look lovely, but I have to confess – if you do the savory version, I want to see that! Just the thought of Parmesan, ramps and crème fraîche? Send some my way, please!

  • http://wanderluck.wordpress.com Kate

    These look lovely, but I have to confess – if you do the savory version, I want to see that! Just the thought of Parmesan, ramps and crème fraîche? Send some my way, please!

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com/ giff

    this is pretty cool. thanks for sharing your research Marc

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com giff

    this is pretty cool. thanks for sharing your research Marc

  • http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/ tokyoastrogirl

    You sold me- I need to try these. I can’t remember the last time I had a strawberry cookie. It’s one of the flavors I miss most since in Japan we had strawberry milk, cookies, candy, cake, cocktails, everything! I love the savory idea.

    Now a chemistry question- I wonder if you could make cheesecake melting moments? It’d be easy enough to make the creamy filling with cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest, but how does one “flavor” the cookie part taste like cheesecake since that flavor comes from cream cheese? I guess it would change the texture of the shortbread. OK, now I am just rambling.

    Anyway, love the blog as always.

  • http://tokyoastrogirl.blogspot.com/ tokyoastrogirl

    You sold me- I need to try these. I can’t remember the last time I had a strawberry cookie. It’s one of the flavors I miss most since in Japan we had strawberry milk, cookies, candy, cake, cocktails, everything! I love the savory idea.

    Now a chemistry question- I wonder if you could make cheesecake melting moments? It’d be easy enough to make the creamy filling with cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest, but how does one “flavor” the cookie part taste like cheesecake since that flavor comes from cream cheese? I guess it would change the texture of the shortbread. OK, now I am just rambling.

    Anyway, love the blog as always.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com The Duo Dishes

    You’ve shared great info…can you share the moments too? The melting moments that is.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    You’ve shared great info…can you share the moments too? The melting moments that is.

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    1) Magical Melting Cookies=Awesome
    2) Please fill the apricot ones with chocolate ganache. You could call them Sacher melting moments. Thanks.
    3) I wonder if the additional moisture in the parm would throw off the recipe. I’ll be interested in seeing how your experiment goes.
    4) Thank you, god, for ramps.

    • marc

      1) Thanks
      2) Great idea, although I have to admit I’m not a big fan of chocolate & fruit together.
      3) I thought about this, but I think Parm-Reg is dry enough that it shouldn’t matter, I could also great it a day in advance and leave it out to dry even more.
      4) The season is coming up here, I’m headed out next week to go scouting.

      • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

        RE: 2)You can send them to me, if you’d like;)
        RE: 4)Ditto.

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    1) Magical Melting Cookies=Awesome
    2) Please fill the apricot ones with chocolate ganache. You could call them Sacher melting moments. Thanks.
    3) I wonder if the additional moisture in the parm would throw off the recipe. I’ll be interested in seeing how your experiment goes.
    4) Thank you, god, for ramps.

    • marc

      1) Thanks
      2) Great idea, although I have to admit I’m not a big fan of chocolate & fruit together.
      3) I thought about this, but I think Parm-Reg is dry enough that it shouldn’t matter, I could also great it a day in advance and leave it out to dry even more.
      4) The season is coming up here, I’m headed out next week to go scouting.

      • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

        RE: 2)You can send them to me, if you’d like;)
        RE: 4)Ditto.

  • http://memoriesinthebaking.blogspot.com/ Marysol

    Well, I can just imagine the punch of flavor the freeze-dried fruits provide here! It’s a beauty for the senses.

  • http://memoriesinthebaking.blogspot.com Marysol

    Well, I can just imagine the punch of flavor the freeze-dried fruits provide here! It’s a beauty for the senses.

  • sallyanne

    I love the idea! I can already see it: Weight gain! :-)
    Thanks for the web site. I heard the report on NPR and now I am a fan. I am not much of a cook, but I love to bake, and I rarely follow a recipe very closely.

  • sallyanne

    I love the idea! I can already see it: Weight gain! :-)
    Thanks for the web site. I heard the report on NPR and now I am a fan. I am not much of a cook, but I love to bake, and I rarely follow a recipe very closely.

  • http://zencancook.com/ Zenchef

    Very cool idea to use freeze-dry fruit in these. I like!

  • http://zencancook.com Zenchef

    Very cool idea to use freeze-dry fruit in these. I like!

  • Steph

    I have some freeze dried bananas that I picked up at Trader Joe’s and I’m thinking they would be awesome here. Now to make the filling with brown sugar and rum somehow….

    Thanks!

  • Steph

    I have some freeze dried bananas that I picked up at Trader Joe’s and I’m thinking they would be awesome here. Now to make the filling with brown sugar and rum somehow….

    Thanks!

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek @kitchensidecar

    ok. So. I have to make my sister’s wedding cake and she wants strawberry.
    I am fighting the inner urge to go with jello pudding mix, but it is common in the strawberry cake world. freakishly so. The “from scratch” recipes, leav emuch to be desired due to the moisture of purreed berries trade off.

    As I was eating special K with berries, I remembered this post and how you were able to work in pulverized flavor without any added liquid. I also was reminded of your beet cupcake post.

    So here is my plan: Strawberry cake using freeze dried strawberry powder, coloured with beet juice. brilliant!

    Do you have any recommendations on:
    1. Should you substitute the volume of dry ingredients with the volume of strawberry “powder”? (ej, replace 1/2 c flour with 1/2 strawberry)
    2. How much is too much? At what point is structure an issue?
    3. Are there any other adjustments I should consider? Does the tartness of the strawberry throw off baking soda v powder equilibrium?

    No pressure if these are unanswerable questions. I will be test-kitsching through and through.

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek @kitchensidecar

    ok. So. I have to make my sister’s wedding cake and she wants strawberry.
    I am fighting the inner urge to go with jello pudding mix, but it is common in the strawberry cake world. freakishly so. The “from scratch” recipes, leav emuch to be desired due to the moisture of purreed berries trade off.

    As I was eating special K with berries, I remembered this post and how you were able to work in pulverized flavor without any added liquid. I also was reminded of your beet cupcake post.

    So here is my plan: Strawberry cake using freeze dried strawberry powder, coloured with beet juice. brilliant!

    Do you have any recommendations on:
    1. Should you substitute the volume of dry ingredients with the volume of strawberry “powder”? (ej, replace 1/2 c flour with 1/2 strawberry)
    2. How much is too much? At what point is structure an issue?
    3. Are there any other adjustments I should consider? Does the tartness of the strawberry throw off baking soda v powder equilibrium?

    No pressure if these are unanswerable questions. I will be test-kitsching through and through.

  • http://www.dashofnutmeg.com/ Megan

    These look wonderful. I can’t wait to try them myself!

    I just found your site today using Stumble Upon and I really love it! I added you to the blogroll on my own blog, A Dash of Nutmeg.

  • http://www.dashofnutmeg.com Megan

    These look wonderful. I can’t wait to try them myself!

    I just found your site today using Stumble Upon and I really love it! I added you to the blogroll on my own blog, A Dash of Nutmeg.

  • Kathy

    NutriFruit makes freeze dried fruit powders available for purchase in 4.7 ounce cans. Available in 9 flavors, strawberry, banana, mango, blueberry, cranberry, black raspberry, pomegranate, red raspberry , and marion blackberry. I was searching for recipes to use these and found your website. Thanks, I was just thinking smoothies until you came along. “Big Smile”

  • Kathy

    NutriFruit makes freeze dried fruit powders available for purchase in 4.7 ounce cans. Available in 9 flavors, strawberry, banana, mango, blueberry, cranberry, black raspberry, pomegranate, red raspberry , and marion blackberry. I was searching for recipes to use these and found your website. Thanks, I was just thinking smoothies until you came along. “Big Smile”

  • http://www.bestbreadmachines.org/cuisinart-cbk-200-review-read-this-before-buying.html bethbara882

    So cute and nice pictures! Thank you for sharing.the recipe.

  • http://twitter.com/matchamilk Linda Kusumo

    Just made this and the cookies taste so lovely :D Absolutely love them!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

  • Pingback: Pretty in Pink « The Novogastrian

  • Anne

    Hello Marc. I’ve stumbled upon your site unexpectedly. Want to know if there is another substitue for powderized freeze dried strawberries since can’t find any of it in my area or if its possible to substitute it with liquid strawberry flavor instead? Thanks

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Anne, if you live in the US, you can order freeze dried strawberry powder online, just do a search on Google, some of these vendors may ship internationally. As for using a liquid flavoring, I would not recommend it as it would add a liquid to dough

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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