Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Red Velvet Sugar Cookies

Red Velvet Sugar Cookies - made dough June 27, 2015, recipe modified from Creme de la Crumb
Know the great thing about red velvet baked goods? They’re good across multiple holidays. The first obvious one might be Valentine’s Day – all that red frou frou schmaltzy hearts stuff going on. Then you can also make red velvet desserts for Christmas. Pair with green decorations and you have a seasonal winner. But wait, there’s more – patriotic holidays! The red is a natural foil to go with blue and white. Well, as natural as anything with red food coloring in it is going to be; but you get my meaning.
I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for red velvet sugar cookies for awhile. I have a plethora of red velvet recipes but have not made a sugar cookie version until now. At first I was going to just halve the recipe as the full recipe seemed like it made a lot and I’m (usually) all about the portion control. But I decided in for a penny, in for another 5 pounds.

The dough was really easy to mix together but I ended up using a little more red food coloring than the recipe called for before the dough was a red color that lived up to my finicky standards. Because you can’t have a wimpy red or anything verging on pink. Or red swirls in a chocolate dough. It has to be red. At first I worried it might be a tad too dry. Be sure to add the flour slowly, especially the last cup. Add in ¼ cup increments and make sure to incorporate it completely. If your dough is getting too dry, ease up on the last ¼ cup. You also don’t want to beat this too much after the flour is added while you’re trying to get the red food color evenly dispersed. In fact, if I were to make this again, I would add the red food coloring right before the dry ingredients. If, by the time you incorporate all of the dry ingredients, you’ve lost some redness, just add a few more drops of the food coloring and beat just until the additional color has been incorporated. At least this minimizes the (over) beating of the cookie dough trying to get the flour added and the right shade of red accomplished.
Anyway, the dough was great to work with, not too sticky and not quite too dry so I could shape it easily into large dough balls then press down with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Don’t press down too hard as you don’t want thin cookies. These spread very slightly but not much so make them the thickness you want your cookies to be. I shaped the balls and pressed into thick discs before freezing them, stacked with wax paper between the layers, in a freezer bag.
No need to thaw them before baking. Simply remove from the freezer and arrange them on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper while your oven preheats. Allow at least an inch or inch and a half between cookies. And make sure you watch the baking time since, if you’ve achieved the right shade of red, you can’t tell if these are done just going by the color. Because, you know, red. And because the dough is thick and not really “wet”, you can’t quite go by how the middles look and whether they’re no longer raw shiny cookie dough because they don’t even get quite like raw shiny cookie dough when baking. I baked these for no more than 10-11 minutes, max, in my oven then took them out and let them cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving them to wire racks.
Let them cool completely before frosting. I didn’t use the frosting recipe in the original blog but made up my own to go with a more traditional cream cheese frosting: just butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. And the sprinkles; don’t forget the sprinkles which will turn these from Valentine’s Day and Christmas into 4th of July cookies. I had the blue and white sprinkles plus the red colored sugar from the FireworksPudding Cookies so these were easy to decorate by literally sprinkling the colors on top of each frosted cookie.
Because of the frosting, these aren’t ideal cookies to bring to hot summer barbecues and picnics in the blazing sun but if you do, make the frosting at the last minute or refrigerate the frosting before using on the cookies then serve shortly after frosting. I would not advise frosting the cookies then refrigerating them as, while refrigeration might preserve the frosting, it’ll also dry out your cookies. And you don’t want that. If you have an evening barbecue in anticipation of watching fireworks, then these would work just fine. All you need to do is keep them out of direct sunlight and store at cool or room temperature.
I love the texture and thickness of these. Can’t say they were really very chocolaty because they weren’t nor were they all that sweet but the sweetness of the cream cheese frosting goes well with the moist, chewy texture of the cookie and provides the sweetness you need. This is one of those cookies that I got a lot of compliments on at work so I wasn’t the only one who liked them. Or, maybe because one full recipe made almost 3 dozen large, thick cookies and I only ate a taste test cookie, more people got to try them. Either way, it’s a keeper.
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 eggs
5 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk or enough to achieve desired consistency
Sprinkles, optional, for garnish
  1. In a large bowl cream together butter, vegetable oil, 1½ cups sugar, powdered sugar, water, and eggs.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. 
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add red food coloring 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing after each, until desired color is achieved. Cover and chill for 1 hour. 
  4. Remove dough from fridge and uncover. Roll dough into balls (slightly larger than a golf ball) and place on a lightly greased baking sheet about 3-4 inches apart. 
  5. Place remaining ¼ cup sugar on a plate. Use the bottom end of a tall glass cup (or the bottom of a small jar) for pressing the cookies. Spritz the bottom of the glass/jar with cooking spray then dip the bottom into the sugar. Use the bottom sugar-coated end of the glass to press cookies to about ½ inch thickness. Let the edges of the cookie dough squish out past the edges of the glass. 
  6. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a clean flat surface or a cooking rack. 
  7. When completely cool, place in airtight containers (if stacking, separate layers with parchment or wax paper) and keep chilled in the fridge. 
  8. For the frosting, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add salt, vanilla, powdered sugar and milk; mix until smooth, alternating between powdered sugar and milk until you achieve the desired consistency. Frost cookies and garnish with sprinkles, if desired.

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