Bake 'Em Up: Strawberries

Sometimes when I'm baking I get a little overexcited at the thought of different flavor combinations and forget to consider the chemical reactions that often occur when you add something new to a recipe. One of the most common examples of this is adding something like fresh fruit and not compensating for the change in the liquid ingredient to dry ingredient ratio.

At work yesterday I noticed we had quite a few fresh strawberries lying around that needed to be used up. I decided to make cookies, and so here we have the very dilemma I described above. Fresh fruit has a lot of water content and can really change the consistency of a baked good. But not to worry, the answer is simple... Dry it out!

If you have a dehydrator, great! If you don't, just use your home oven at 200 degrees. I sliced my strawberries about 1/4" thick and placed them on a lined cookie sheet. I baked them for about an hour and a half, taking them out of the oven every 20-30 minutes to flip them. You don't want them completely dried out, just with about 2/3 less moisture than when they were fresh.

After they had cooled, I folded them into my favorite shortbread cookie dough- voila! Strawberry Lime Shortbread Cookies (strawberries, lime oil, lime zest) and Strawberries & Cream Shortbread Cookies (strawberries, white chocolate). These are currently available at The Quarters  in Hadley (2 for $3.00) - go grab yourself a little taste of summer!