These keto and gluten-free strawberry cream sandwich cookies are flavored with vanilla and butter, with just a hint of salt, which contrasts beautifully with the creamy strawberry filling.
They are beautiful and delicate, and perfect to serve at a high tea or be given away to your loved ones! These keto strawberry cookies are so much better for you than anything store bought: At less than 1 net carb per cookie, you can eat them with no regrets!
The vanilla bean and strawberry sandwich cookies used to be my absolute favorite growing up, and it’s about time I tried to ketofy them.
There’s something magical about the strawberry artificial flavorings from the 80’s children’s treats that I you can’t get anymore. All the pink, strawberry sweets – chocolates and biscuits with creamy strawberry filling, yogurt desserts and jellies, 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. Little me felt incredibly cool eating strawberry flavored bugs, though. Maybe the flavor that all the 80’s strawberry sweet treats had in common is just… nostalgia.
For these beautiful vanilla & strawberry cream cookies you’ll need very basic keto ingredients that if you are baking keto for some time you’ll surely have in your pantry:
1. Keto sandwich cookies
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 – The perfect base for all flavor, it compliments the strawberry and gives the cookies a delicious aroma!
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!
2. Strawberry cream filling
Keto sweetener – Any sugar equivalent sweetener can be used here. It can be granulated, no need to be powdered, because you are going to dissolve it in water first. Choose sweeteners based in allulose or xylitol, because it generally combines better with creamy textures and it doesn’t crystalize, like erythritol.
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.
Strawberry flavor and color – With just a tiny bit of pink color for the keto strawberry filling. If you prefer to take the natural, wholesome route, use freeze dried powdered strawberries for color and real strawberry taste.
But if you miss the authentic 80’s childhood taste: use whatever cheap artificial strawberry powder you can find. It can be any strawberry jelly or artificial juice powder, such as Kool-Aid. Even better with the little bugs: look in the ingredients list for cochineal extract, carmine or carminic acid, or the flavoring code E120. If you can’t find a sugar-free version, don’t sweat. The whole recipe needs just half a teaspoon.
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.
What is egg white powder?
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, so it keeps for a long time without spoiling. 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.
How to make sandwich cookies
Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix really well, then add in the cold butter, cut into pieces. Then, 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. Until now, this is exactly how you can make keto shortbread. But let’s go on.
Whisk the egg lightly, just with a fork, and add the vanilla extract to it, if using. Add the beaten egg and vanilla 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… don’t 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 to avoid mess and sticking cookies. Parchment or wax paper will work as well.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, in a preheated oven set to 170 °C (340 °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 keto strawberry cream.
Keto strawberry cream filling
How to get a smooth (not gritty) cookie filling
Homemade sandwich cookie filling can be tricky to get really smooth and creamy. Sometimes, they are gritty, and you get the sandy sensation of chewing on the sugar (or in this case sweetener). That sucks.
Erythritol and xylitol, even when powdered, do not dissolve well in fats. Traditional recipes for cookie 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 or allulose might function the same way, as they dissolve much easier than erythritol does, but they still fell short of expectations.
The solution I found was: dissolve the sweetener in boiling water before adding it to the creamed butter. This will get the keto sandwich cookie filling completely smooth!
The keto sandwich cookie filling made this way is smoother, and the texture resembles store bought sandwich cookies more than the traditional recipe for homemade ones, most of which are simply buttercream.
Step by step
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.
Then, add the egg white powder and strawberry flavoring of your choice and mix it briskly with a fork or mini whisk 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.
Using a hand mixer or standing mixer, cream 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 the pink strawberry cream is smooth and evenly colored.
Fill a piping bag (8) with the sugar-free sandwich cookie cream (no metal tip needed, just make a small cut on the bag when ready to start filling), and take it to the refrigerator to firm for at least 15 minutes before filling the cookies.
The cookies must be completely cooled down before filling.
Storage and keeping the cookies fresh
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!
It’s best to keep them refrigerated. It’s fine if you need them out for a few hours, they won’t go bad or anything, as we used egg white powder which is pasteurized. But the filling starts softening after it gets warm. It keeps the shape inside the cookie, don’t worry – it won’t melt away! – but when warm it might be squeezed out when you bite into the cookie. Just… lick the other side!
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