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Raspberry Sugar Cookies

These raspberry sugar cookies are like regular cut-out sugar cookies, but with two major upgrades in the dough: tangy cream cheese and freeze-dried raspberries. Naturally colored, these pretty pink cookies are beautiful right out of the oven, but feel free to garnish with melted chocolate or any of our other recommended toppings. You’ll love these for Valentine’s Day or any occasion where you crave a fun, berry flavored cookie.

heart raspberry sugar cookies dipped into dark chocolate

 

Have you ever baked our regular sugar cookies before? They’re a traditional sugar cookie with soft centers and slightly crisp edges– definitely a favorite around here. We also have a published recipe for cut-out cream cheese cookies with Nutella glaze, which totally take sugar cookies to the next level. The cream cheese provides a creamy-like texture and slight tang in each bite. I actually prefer them over our regular sugar cookies!

I took the same cream cheese sugar cookie dough and experimented with freeze-dried raspberries. The result was an extra tender berry flavored cookie with the most gorgeous (and natural!) pink/magenta color. I figured you’d enjoy trying these at home.


Tell Me About These Raspberry Sugar Cookies

  • Texture: These raspberry sugar cookies have a soft and almost creamy-like texture, which is unique for a cut-out sugar cookie.
  • Flavor: If you’re ever craving FLAVOR in your sugar cookies, start here. We have a slight tang from the cream cheese, but most of the flavor comes from raspberries. I appreciate that we’re using real berries that have been freeze-dried, not artificial raspberry flavoring. Almond extract is completely optional, but it adds another level of flavor. You can skip it if desired. The plain cookies have so much flavor– and are naturally pink– that you don’t really need icing or decoration. (Though who can resist a dip or drizzle of chocolate?)
  • Ease: Cookie cutter sugar cookies, of any variety and flavor, aren’t quite as easy as drop cookies. However, if you’re comfortable using a rolling pin and cookie cutters, the process won’t seem arduous. This recipe requires an extra step but it’s pretty simple: grind the freeze-dried berries into powder before using.
  • Time: The cookie dough comes together quickly. Roll it out, then chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Without chilling, the cookies will completely lose their shape– so, yes, it’s a crucial step. After that, cut the dough into shapes, re-roll the scraps, then bake. Set aside a few hours to complete this recipe.

 

 

Freeze-Dried Raspberries are the Secret

We love using freeze-dried berries in frostings. Have you tried this strawberry buttercream before? When you grind freeze-dried strawberries into a powder, you can easily use it in frosting. Freeze-dried berry powder or “dust” is perfect because it’s not wet and, therefore, doesn’t mess with the consistency of frosting. Real berry flavor without compromising texture. As it turns out, you can do the same thing with sugar cookie dough as long as you don’t go overboard with quantity. 2 cups (about 56g) of freeze-dried raspberries grinds down into 1/2 cup of powder, which is the perfect amount for this sugar cookie dough.

  • Where to buy freeze-dried raspberries: I always find them in my regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Keep your eyes peeled– they’re more common than you think. We like Trader Joe’s brand and Target carries a nice selection, too. You can also purchase them online and here is a brand we’ve tested before. (They are much cheaper in stores if you can find them!) You need 2 cups, which is a little more than 1 standard 1.2 ounce (weight) bag.
  • Can I do this with another type of freeze-dried fruit? Yes, absolutely. I’ve tested this sugar cookie dough with freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries, and mango. The mango flavor wasn’t as intense as the berries, though. Use the same amount– 1/2 cup of the ground powder.
  • Can I do this with regular dried fruit or frozen fruit? No, do not use chewy/gummy dried fruit and do not use frozen fruit. You need freeze-dried raspberries, which are raspberries with all of the moisture removed– that way they can grind into a powder.

two side-by-side photos of freeze-dried raspberries in a food processor

 

side-by-side photos of raspberry cookie dry ingredients and the finished dough

 

Overview: How to Make Raspberry Sugar Cookies

  1. Grind freeze-dried raspberries into powder.
  2. Make sugar cookie dough. The recipe instructions below include creaming the butter and cream cheese together before adding sugar. You also need 1 egg and vanilla extract. Almond extract is optional, but a tasty addition if you have some on hand. The dry ingredients include flour, your raspberry powder, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Divide in two pieces.
  4. Roll out cookie dough. Roll each section out to 1/4 inch thick. Have extra flour on hand because the dough is sticky.
  5. Chill rolled out dough for at least 2 hours.
  6. Cut into shapes. Re-roll all your scraps– you’ll be surprised how many cookies you get from this amount of dough.
  7. Bake & cool. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets before decorating.

The Trick is the Order of Steps

Notice how we roll out the dough BEFORE chilling it in the refrigerator? Let me explain why. To prevent the cookies from over-spreading, the cookie dough must chill in the refrigerator. Roll out the dough right after you prepare it, then chill the rolled-out dough. (At this point the dough is too soft to cut into shapes.) Don’t chill the cookie dough and then try to roll it out because it will be too cold and difficult to work with. Divide the dough in half before rolling it out because smaller sections of dough are simply more manageable.


After chilling, cut into shapes:

rolled out raspberry sugar cookie dough on parchment paper

 

Arrange 2-3 inches apart on lined baking sheets, then bake and cool:

heart-shaped raspberry cookies on a baking sheet

 

heart-shaped raspberry cookies on a cooling rack

 

heart shaped raspberry cookies dipped in dark chocolate

 

Decoration & Topping Ideas

I love using royal icing on regular sugar cookies. That icing would definitely work here, but I didn’t want the raspberry and cream cheese flavors to be overpowered by super sweet icing. So instead I dipped some into melted dark chocolate and drizzled others with melted white chocolate. So simple, so delicious. Here are some options:

Garnish the chocolate or icing with sprinkles or leftover freeze-dried raspberry powder:

heart-shaped raspberry cookies with white chocolate drizzle on top

 

Raspberry Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 36 3-inch cookies
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Ground freeze-dried raspberries add color and flavor to this cream cheese sugar cookie dough. You can leave the cookies plain, but we love them garnished with melted chocolate.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (56g) freeze-dried raspberries
  • 3 cups (410g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 ounces (112g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200ggranulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional: 1 teaspoon almond extract

Optional Chocolate Topping

  • 4-ounce bar (113gsemi-sweet or white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried raspberries into a powder. You’ll have around 1/2 cup.
  2. Whisk the raspberry powder, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium-high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat until mixture is fluffy and combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Dough will be very soft and creamy.
  5. Generously flour your hands and rolling pin. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Lightly dust one of the rolled-out doughs with flour. Place a piece of parchment on top. (This prevents sticking.) Place the 2nd rolled-out dough on top. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  7. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Carefully remove the top dough piece from the refrigerator. If it’s sticking to the bottom, run your hand under it to help remove it. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. (I like these heart cookie cutters.) Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd piece of dough. Note: It doesn’t seem like a lot of dough, but you get a lot of cookies from the dough scraps you re-roll.
  8. Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes until very lightly browned around the edges. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
  9. For optional chocolate decorating: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or use the microwave. Microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each until completely melted. Dip cooled cookies in the melted chocolate or drizzle each with melted chocolate, then place back onto the baking sheets. Allow chocolate to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
  10. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the chocolate/icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 4, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 5, then chill rolled out dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes – 1 hour before cutting into shapes and baking.
  2. Cream Cheese: Want to leave out the cream cheese? Use our regular sugar cookies recipe and add 1/2 cup of the raspberry powder to that cookie dough. Whisk it in with the dry ingredients, just as you do here.
  3. Freeze-dried raspberries: I always find them in my regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Keep your eyes peeled– they’re more common than you think. We like Trader Joe’s brand and Target carries a nice selection, too. You can also purchase them online and here is a brand we’ve tested before. (They are much cheaper in stores if you can find them!) You need 2 cups, which is a little more than 1 standard 1.2 ounce (weight) bag.
  4. Can I do this with another type of freeze-dried fruit? Yes, absolutely. I’ve tested this sugar cookie dough with freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries, and mango. The freeze-dried raspberries gave the most potent flavor. Use the same amount– 1/2 cup of the ground powder.
  5. Can I do this with regular dried fruit or frozen fruit? No, do not use chewy/gummy dried fruit and do not use frozen fruit. You need freeze-dried raspberries, which are raspberries with all of the moisture removed– that way they can grind into a powder.
  6. Other Toppings: See Decoration & Topping Ideas in blog post above.
  7. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

 

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