With all good intentions, I started a project to try using powdered freeze dried raspberries to flavor Springerle cookies. After finding the freeze dried fruit readily available on line, I ordered both freeze dried raspberries and strawberries, and also raspberry and strawberry flavorings to test by using the fruit alone or in combination with the liquid flavorings. The idea to use freeze dried fruit for Springerle flavoring was given to me by Andrea Estes Riesling when I taught a molded cookie class at Cooking at the Cottage in November. I have also been seeing in foodie magazines that the use of freeze dried fruit is somewhat trendy and my curiosity begs me to explore this trend.
I really had no idea about how much of the freeze dried fruit to use. I decided to make a first test making a one-half batch of my Nini's Perfection Springerle. To begin, I weighed out 1.25 ounces of the freeze dried raspberries and ground them to a fine powder using my mini food processor. The result was a very fine powder with lots of seeds, which I was able to strain out of the powder using a fine mesh strainer. When I weighed the resulting seeds, I found that there was .45 ounce of seeds. Hmmm...thought I, this probably needs more flavoring, so I made the decision to add the raspberry powder and 1/4 teaspoon of the raspberry flavoring to the dough. I added these flavor ingredients at the same time that I would add anise oil or any selected flavoring and mixing it into the dough, and thereafter added the flour as usual and sealed the dough in a zipper freezer storage bag as usual. The next morning, I formed cookies with the dough in my usual manner, let them dry for 24 hours and baked the cookies.
Strangely, the first tray of cookies did not rise. I could smell the raspberry flavor though. Second tray, same problem, the cookies did not rise. Oven thermometer was put into the oven to reveal that the temperature was about 50 degrees lower than the oven setting. I reset the oven and waited for the temperature to rise, watching the thermometer all the while. Not to be. Ok, so I finished baking them off, knowing they would not rise properly. Connie, remember the biscuits that didn't rise two weeks ago and the lasagna that look an extra 30 minutes?? And yet when the repair guy came last week, the oven worked perfectly. Then the muffins that were raw in the middle. Then the next batch of muffins that were fine. Bottom line: I am unable to be without a reliable oven!
Now, back to the experiment with freeze dried raspberries. The resulting cookies are leaden, having not risen, and they taste too strongly of raspberry. Is that the result of their heaviness or that I added the extra flavoring unnecessarily? The pink color isn't exactly as I hoped it would be. Was that too a result of the fruit powder or the flavoring? The edges of the cookie of the larger cookies are browner than I would like them to be. Is that the trick oven?? Good questions!
Stay tuned. More experimentation to come and I'll check in with Andrea to see if she has tried working with the freeze dried fruit in the Springerle. In the meantime, if you want pink Springerle for Valentine's Day, add some pink food coloring gel in your dough.Remember, a little gel goes a long way.
MY NEW OVEN ARRIVES TOMORROW!
Stay Warm and Happy Baking,