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

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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.

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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.)

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.

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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!

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