Red velvet, while synonymous with Valentines Day and now popular for weddings, is just plain gorgeous to look at. To be totally honest, red is my absolute favourite colour and any chance I get to wear it, look at it or eat it I do. Not that many red foods around when you think about it… and I don’t really eat very much red meat.
Sooo let’s get busy and make some delicious red velvet cookies to be enjoyed and shared all year around. But wait, just think how cute they would be for Christmas or Valentine’s Day as well!
This recipe calls for Dutch Processed Chocolate. So what’s the difference between that and regular unsweetened cocoa powder you ask? First off, Both types of cocoa powder are unsweetened and therefore bitter when tasted alone.
| Dutch-Process Cocoa or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder:
Has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity. Because it’s neutral and doesn’t react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used. It has a reddish-brown color, mild flavor, and is easy to dissolve in liquids.
|| Unsweetened Cocoa:
Has a complex chocolate flavor while the Dutch-process is darker and more mellow. Its intense flavor makes it well suited for use in brownies, cookies and some chocolate cakes. When natural cocoa (an acid) is used in recipes calling for baking soda (an alkali), it creates a leavening action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven.
Ok, on to our recipe:
3 1/4 cups (355 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons of Red Food Coloring.. I used the gel type
For Red Velvet Cookies:
1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and the food coloring then beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.
3. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough toroll.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out desired
shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookiesto the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.
Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you may want to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with crystal or sparkling sugar.
Bake cookies for about 10 – 12 minutes (depending on size) or until they are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure that the frosting on the cookies dries completely before storing. (This may take several hours.) Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight
container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.
Makes about 36 – 4 inch (10 cm) cookies.
BEST frosted with a cream cheese frosting. I use the recipe on my site here and thin it with some milk to make it more like a glaze if I don’t want heavy frosting. Also, I have rolled out fondant into the same shape as the cookie and placed it on top of a thin layer of the frosting which gives a nice finish!
For a final finish on my fondant covered cookies I used an impression mat to make pretty patterns.. and then dusted with pearl dust.. there is no limit to what you can do with these or any other cookies! Happy Baking!
After many emails and requests on how to do this I am going to do a quick post. I have used coloured sugars on many cookies and cupcakes and it’s really simple to make your own. I’ve even made it with a pearlized sheen. It all depends on the food colouring you choose. The main thing to keep in mind is that you must use a POWDERED form of food colouring. Any liquids or gels will just melt the sugar and you’ll have a colourful but sticky mess.
I try to buy a coarsely ground sugar for my decorating sugars just so it gives a little more impact, or you can always use regular white sugar if that’s all you can buy or have on hand.
To be on the safe side you should probably start off with just a little of the food coloring and see what shade you get after you shake it (with the lid on tightly of course!). You can then adjust it and make it darker by adding a little more coloring until you get the desired shade you are after.
Store your sugars in a dry space so they don’t clump up from moisture.
Hubby has a work Holiday party tomorrow so I decided to make cookies instead of cupcakes for a change. Plus, who can resist some of the great cookie recipes synonymous with this time of year. I went with a tried and true favourite – the peanut butter cookie with a chocolate kiss pushed into the top. While at the store buying kisses I saw the white and red striped peppermint variety and thought how fun they would look in a chocolate cookie, so I made those also.
Here are the two quickie recipes which will have you rolling in cookies in very short order:
Like I said, after seeing how cute the peppermint kisses were I just had to make a chocolate cookie to put them on. I had some red decorator sugar in the pantry and rolled just the tops of the cookie balls into that before baking for some extra holiday sparkle.
1. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and place aside.
2. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
3. On low speed, beat in flour mixture a little at a time, until well blended and smooth.
4. Drop chocolate cookie dough onto greased baking sheets or silicone mat by rounded teaspoons, about 2 inches apart. I rolled mine in coloured decorator sugar before placing them on the tray.
5. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes, or until set.
Gently push a kiss into each cookie as soon as they come out of the oven.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
***TIP*** If you don’t have the coloured decorator sugar available you can make your own but you will still need powdered food colouring to add to regular white sugar. Place 1 cup of white sugar into a container with a tight fitting lid and to that add about 1/4 teaspoon of powdered food colouring. Shake the container until the white sugar turns coloured. Of course you can adjust the amount of food colouring to make stronger or paler colours.
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Cream together butter, both sugars and peanut butter.
3. Add the egg and vanilla.
4. Add flour, baking soda and salt.
5. Form into small walnut sized balls.
6. Roll in white sugar and place them on a cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
8. Press Hershey Kiss into each cookie when fresh out of the oven.Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.
***TIP*** It really helps to have removed the foil wrappers from the kisses BEFORE the cookies come out of the oven. I did it for the first batch but was scrambling to get them unwrapped for the second batch before the cookies cooled too much as they break up more when pushing in the kisses if too cool.
Also, some recipes say to return the cookies to the oven for a minute once the kisses are on the cookie but I really don’t prefer this as the kisses lost their point and looked more like the teats off a baby bottle… um no. You can see the difference in the two photos since I didn’t do it on the chocolate peppermint cookies.
Have a wonderful time making these cookies for your family and friends! I know I did. As always, your email questions are most welcome.