Sandwich cookies: Incredibly fattening and unhealthy. Specially back when trans-fats were used in bulk to form the filling.
But not all was bad. There’s something magical about the strawberry artificial flavorings from the 80’s children’s treats that I don’t think you can easily find anymore. All the pink, strawberry sweets – chocolates and biscuits with strawberry filling, yogurt desserts, had the same aftertaste. I think it probably came from cochineal, the insects from which the carmine dye comes from. What, you thought it was strawberry?
Or, I might be wrong, I don’t really know if cochineal has a taste. I did feel incredibly cool as a child when I found out I was eating strawberry flavored bugs, though. Maybe the taste that all the 80’s and 90’s strawberry sweet treats had in common is just… nostalgia.
The strawberry flavored sandwich cookies used to be my absolute favorite, and it’s about time I tried to ketofy them. The Bono de morango ones, a famous brand in Brazil, were the best. Bono sandwich cookies are still made by Nestlé. These specific strawberry sandwich cookies that I loved have a sweet and salty quality, which contrasts beautifully with the sweet strawberry filling.
The same brand also offers a doce de leite (dulce de leche) version that’s amazing as well, with the same sweet and salty flavor contrast. And a chocolate flavor, of course. Which is, weirdly, the least fun. Surprisingly, sandwich cookies in chocolate flavor are not my first choice, as it usually is for almost everything else.
What are the ingredients for the keto strawberry cream sandwich cookies
For the cookies, you’ll need very basic keto ingredients that, if you are baking keto already, you’ll surely have in your pantry:
- Almond and coconut flour – We mix these two keto flours for the best possible cookie texture
- Powdered erythritol – This great keto sweetener is the best option for this recipe, because if its crunching properties. The keto biscuits are not really super crunchy, but they aren’t soft, either. They do come out of the oven super soft, though. As they cool down, erythritol helps hardening up the cookies.
- Butter – The butter will be mixed in with the dry ingredients by hand, and form a buttery flour.
- Vanilla extract – It gives the cookies a delicious aroma! It’s not required, if you don’t have it or prefer not to use it.
- Salt – The original sandwich cookies that I tried to copycat through this recipe are slightly salty. The sweet and salty contrast, from the cookies and the strawberry filling, is the best thing about these cookies! You can instead use salted butter, and skip on the salt.
- Xanthan gum and baking soda – Just a little bit of each!
And the ingredients for the sugar-free sttrawberry cream filling are:
- Butter and coconut oil – For the best texture, that doesn’t get too hard and flaky when refrigerated, we combine these two fats. The coconut oil taste won’t really be noticeable, I promise! To be on the safer side, avoid using super extra virgin coconut oil, as they tend to have a stronger taste.
- Keto sweetener – Any keto sweetener that you enjoy can be used here. It doesn’t even have to be powdered, because we are going to dissolve it in water first, anyway. I personally chose xylitol, because it generally combines better with creamy textures.
- Egg white powder – It will give the right texture to the filling, replacing some of the thickness lost by the water, without adding any carbs.
- Strawberry flavor and color – With just a tiny bit of either freeze dried strawberry powder or sugar-free, keto friendly strawberry jelly or juice powder, you will be able to give a lovely pink color and strawberry flavor to the keto sandwich biscuit fillings.
You can chose to make this low-carb strawberry sandwich biscuit filling 2 ways: going the natural, wholesome route, using freeze dried powdered strawberries for color and real strawberry taste. Or, for the authentic 80’s childhood taste: using whatever cheap artificial strawberry powder you can find. Even better if it has the little bugs in it: look in the ingredients list for cochineal extract, carmine or carminic acid, or the flavoring code E120. It can be any strawberry jelly or artificial juice powder, such as Tang.
To keep the cookies sugar-free and keto friendly, try to get a strawberry jelly or juice powder that contains sweetener instead of sugar. But don’t sweat if you can’t find it, as the amount of powder used when divided per cookie isn’t going to result a significant quantity of carbs anyway – we are using just 1/4th of a teaspoon of the strawberry powder to flavor for the whole recipe!
What is egg white powder, and is it keto?
Egg white powder is a terrific keto ingredient to have on hand. It sounds a bit arcane, but it parts from the same principle as milk powder, which is something most people are used to. It’s basically a protein powder, and when you mix it with water it reconstitutes into egg white, but it’s safe to keep it in room temperature for a longer time without worrying about contamination because it’s pasteurized.
Dried eggs are nonperishable, so you can buy a bag and just forget about it. It’s the perfect food to keep in your prepper pantry, because it doesn’t spoil. It’s also great when you do a lot of recipes that take egg whites – like meringues, angel food cakes and pavlovas – so you don’t have to find an immediate use for the yolks.
How to get a smooth keto sandwich cookie filling – no sweetener grittiness!
Erythritol and xylitol, even when powdered, do not dissolve in fats. The super simple recipes online for normal sugary filling that involve only beating sugar and butter probably work because sugar, although it doesn’t dissolve in fat either, dissolves easily enough in water that the small water content in butter is enough. I thought maybe xylitol might function the same way, as it dissolves much easier than erythritol does, but it still fell short of expectations.
The solution I found was: dissolving the sweetener in boiling water before adding it to the creamed butter!
Dissolving the sweetener in boiling water first, we get rid of the grittiness. Then, adding egg white powder to the water, we get a nice foamy texture that works well when adding the mixture to the creamed butter and coconut oil.
The keto sandwich cookie filling made this way is smoother, and it has a texture more akin to the industrial sandwich cookie fillings than the homemade ones, usually made with fat and sweetener only, which is basically buttercream.
How to make the keto strawberry sandwich cookies
Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix really well, then add in the cold butter, cut into pieces.
Squeeze the butter and dry mixture through your fingers, until it all comes together into a humid sort of flour. You should feel no pieces of butter left.
Beat the egg lightly, just with a fork, and add the vanilla extract to it, if using.
Add the egg and vanilla mixture to the buttered flour mixture, and work it until it becomes a soft, slightly sticky, smooth cookie dough.
Shape the dough: Cut a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper, and shape the cookie dough into a log at the center of the paper. Roll it up tightly, twist the sides, and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until the next day. When the keto cookie dough log is cold, the butter will re-solidify and make it easier to keep the cookie slices in shape when cutting them.
Cut the cold dough with a sharp knife, into slices of approximately 0.5 centimeters (1). Yes, I used a ruler… you don’t need to be crazy like me. The dough is a bit fragile, but very malleable, so if the cookie crumbles 😁 while being sliced don’t despair. Just put it together with your fingers.
It can be hard to make the log perfectly round, and, even if you manage to do it, the cookies might lose a bit of their circular shape as they are sliced and transferred to the cookie sheet. To help make their shape rounder after being cut, you can use any round, flat bottomed object that has a diameter similar or a little under than that of the cookie. I used a protein scoop. Start by pressing the bottom of the object against the cookie with one hand, while using the fingers of the other hand to shape the cookie, following the round contour.
Spread the cookies onto the cookie tray – I use a silicon mat on top of the cookie tray, but parchment or wax paper work as well.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, in a preheated oven set to 170 °C (338 °F), static. The cookies are done when the tops are very lightly golden and the bottom edges start browning. Remove from the oven immediately at this point, and transfer to a cookie rack to cool them down completely before filling in with the strawberry cream.
How to make the sugar-free strawberry cream filling
Boil the water in a glass bowl in the microwave (it’s just easier). Add sweetener, them mix with a spoon until it’s completely melted. Then leave it aside to cool.
When the water and sweetener mixture is just warm, add the egg white powder and strawberry flavoring of your choice and mix it in with a fork until smooth (4, 5).
A quick note: The quantity of sweetener added to the filling can be more or less according to your taste, the upper limit is how much of it can be dissolved in 15 grams of water. After passing a certain amount – 30 to 40 grams of xylitol, but it varies per sweetener and even what kind of solids (minerals) you already have in suspension on your water – the sweetener crystals will stop dissolving and accumulating at the bottom.
If you want a completely smooth sandwich cookie filling, you don’t want to have any of these undissolved sweetener crystals in your mixture, as the will give a sandy texture to the cream.
Cream together the butter and the coconut oil until fluffy and doubled in size (6). It’s best if the coconut oil is cold to begin with, it will cream better. The butter can be either cold or room temperature. Not soft, not melted.
Add the pink mixture to the creamed butter and coconut oil (7), and continue whipping for about 10 more seconds, until a heterogeneous pink sort of buttercream is formed.
Fill a piping bag (8) with the sugar-free cream (no tip needed, just make a small cut on the bag when ready to start filling), and take it to the refrigerator for 15 minutes before filling the cookies.
The cookies must be completely cooled down before filling.
How to store and keep fresh the homemade keto sandwich cookies
These keto strawberry cream sandwich cookies should be stored in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, and will keep good for about one week – but I doubt they will last that long!
They should be kept refrigerated because the filling starts softening after it gets warm. It will keep its shape inside the cookie, don’t worry – it won’t melt away! – but when warm the keto filling will be squeezed out when you bite into the cookie. Still delicious, and it doesn’t really go bad, as we used egg white powder which is pasteurized. So if you need to have your keto sandwich cookies out of refrigeration for a few hours, it’s no problemo!
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For the keto cookies
- 100 grams almond flour
- 40 grams coconut flour
- 40 grams powdered erythritol (sugar equivalent)
- 40 grams butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
For the sugar-free strawberry cream filling
- 50 grams butter, room temperature
- 15 grams coconut oil, cold
- 30 to 40 grams powdered keto sweetener
- 15 grams water
- 7.5 grams egg white powder
- ½ teaspoon sugar-free strawberry jelly or juice powder OR 1 teaspoon freeze dried strawberry powder
For the keto cookies
- In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients really well.
- Add in the cold butter, cut into pieces.
- Squeeze the butter and dry mixture through your fingers, until it all comes together into a humid sort of flour, with no pieces of butter remaining.
- Beat the egg lightly, and mix it with the vanilla extract.
- Add the egg and vanilla mixture to the buttered flour mixture, and work it until it becomes a soft, slightly sticky, smooth cookie dough.
- Cut a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper, and shape the cookie dough into a log at the center of the paper. Roll it up tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until the next day.
- Preheat the oven to 170 °C (338 °F), static.
- Cut the cold dough with a sharp knife, into slices of approximately 0.5 centimeters.
- Spread the cookies onto the cookie tray – I use a silicon mat on top of the cookie tray.
- Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies are done when the tops are very lightly golden and the bottom edges start browning. Remove from the oven immediately at this point, and transfer to a cookie rack to cool them down completely before filling in with the strawberry cream.
For the sugar-free strawberry filling
- In the microwave, boil up the water with sweetener, them mix with a spoon until the sweetener is completely melted. Leave it aside to cool.
- Cream together the butter and the coconut oil until fluffy and doubled in size.
- When the water and sweetener mixture is just warm, add the egg white powder and strawberry flavoring of your choice and mix it in with a fork until smooth.
- Add the pink mixture to the creamed butter and coconut oil, and continue whipping for about 10 more seconds, until it's a heterogeneous pink buttercream is formed.
- Put the strawberry filling inside a piping bag (no tip needed, just make a small cut on the bag when ready to start filling), and take it to the refrigerator for 15 minutes before filling the cookies.
The cookies must be completely cooled down before filling!
US Cups approximate conversion:
For the keto cookies: Use 1 cup almond flour, 4 tablespoons coconut flour, ¼ cup erythritol, 3 tablespoons butter. Other ingredients as indicated.
For the sugar-free strawberry filling: Use ¼ cup butter, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon powdered keto sweetener, 1 tablespoon hot water, 1 tablespoon egg white powder. Other ingredients as indicated.
You can add sweetener to the strawberry filling according to your taste. The 30 grams of xylitol I used made a sweet enough cookie. I don't recommend going over 40 grams because it will get hard to dissolve it in the water and you might get a grainy cream.
The recipe makes 40 individual cookies, which makes 20 filled sandwich cookies. Nutrition information is for each sandwich cookie.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83Total Fat: 7.5gCarbohydrates: 1.7gNet Carbohydrates: 0.9gFiber: 0.9gSugar: 0.5gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is provided as a guideline only. Different brands of ingredients may have different nutrition facts. If tracking macros, remake the calculations using the nutrition facts from the labels of the ingredients you selected. Net carbs calculated exclude carbs from insoluble fiber and sugar alcohols.