A Simple, No-Mess Way to Add Fruit to Baked Goods

August 18, 2017

Here's a very good question for you to ponder: Why bake a regular cookie when you bake a pink one? I've long loved coconut macaroons, both store-bought and homemade. As a baker, I love their simplicity (a mere three ingredients required!) and how quickly they come together. As a cookie lover (by which I mean a human), I'm drawn to their nutty, moist interior and chewy, golden crust.

Photo by Posie Harwood

But while coconut macaroons are fantastic on their own, I sometimes have the traitorous thought that they can skew a little bit too sweet and too one-note. Introducing another flavor, particularly a bright, fruity one, could tame the nutty edges of the coconut and balance out all the sugar. So last summer, when I saw that Deb from Smitten Kitchen had made a raspberry version of the classic coconut macaroon, I thought: brilliant. (Deb's recipes never let me down.)

Photo by Posie Harwood

But I also thought: There must be a way to transform my beloved macaroons without using fresh fruit, as Deb does. Enter freeze-dried fruit: an ingredient I've recently been playing around with in baking recipes to spectacular effect. Not only does freeze-dried fruit help eliminate the problem of texture (fresh fruit usually adds a lot of liquid to your recipes, which you need to compensate for in some way), but the color of freeze-dried fruit tends to stay more vibrant in baked goods.

Photo by Posie Harwood

You can use any sort of freeze-dried fruit you like, although raspberries will make your macaroons pretty and pink. I like to crush the fruit partially, leaving some larger chunks for crunch, and some streaks of freeze-dried raspberry powder for color. It's not an exact science, but it'll taste delicious no matter how you go about it!

I'm dreaming of endless ways to use freeze-dried fruit now. Pink-tinted frosting? Pink ice cream? Pink pastry cream? Prepare yourself for an onslaught of Pretty in Pink: the Dessert Edition.

Have you used freeze-dried fruit in baking before? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Winness
  • Lisa Palmer Llewellyn
    Lisa Palmer Llewellyn
  • Nanda Garber
    Nanda Garber
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


Winness September 4, 2017
I love Deb from Smitten Kitchen, too! I keep freeze dried blueberries, strawberries and raspberries in my kitchen but not for cooking. Don't laugh, but my little parrotlet loves them crumbled into her seed mix. Now I have another reason to keep a supply. Thanks for this great idea.
Lisa P. September 3, 2017
I used freeze dried fruit for a few cheesecakes - perfect for color & flavor!
Nanda G. August 19, 2017
This is how I make delicious pink icing for cut-out cookies and even buttercream frosting for cakes/cupcakes/brownie cutouts! I used either dehydrated strawberries or raspberries. My kids love it!