Red Velvet Cookies

Pin It DLD: Red Velvet Cookies

I have a bone to pick with red velvet. One does not simply make red velvet by adding red food coloring to an otherwise vanilla batter and call it good. Red velvet is so much more than it's color. Of course, I can't really blame anyone for this mistake because there is so much misinformation out there on what red velvet actually is. So, to set the record straight, and for my own peace of mind, I am going to set in stone (or bits and bytes) what I firmly believe red velvet to be.

After searching the internet for many red velvet recipes in an attempt to come to some sort of consensus, I concluded that red velvet is a mildly chocolate cake with background notes of both vinegar and buttermilk, also containing some form of red food coloring to heighten the already-present red anthocyanin present in the cocoa powder. There, I've said it. Red velvet is first and foremost a chocolate product. True, it is not as chocolaty as an Oreo©, but it is chocolaty nonetheless.

Well, on to the point of this post. The internet is riddled with red velvet in the form of cakes, cupcakes (shudder), brownies, crepes, pancakes, waffles, cake-mix cookies, etc. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these things (except for the cupcakes. I don't like cupcakes), but I don't have a great love for any of them. What I really wanted was a cookie that I could roll out and cut into shapes, like sugar cookies. And don't you dare tell me that I can just put red food coloring into a sugar cookie. Didn't we already go over the fact that red velvet is chocolate at heart? No, I discovered that if I wanted a rolled red velvet cookie I would need to make my own recipe from scratch. So I did.

One more comment before I begin; it took me many tries to come up with this recipe, mainly because I wanted to get a good amount of chocolate flavor without making the cookie too brown. The solution is to use black cocoa, which is highly dutched or alkalized cocoa, in conjunction with natural cocoa powder. If you don't want to buy black cocoa you could probably get away with just using normal dutched cocoa, but please do not just use natural coca by itself. The flavor just isn't the same.


Skip the tutorial and go straight to the recipe.

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Step 0:

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Step 1:

Sift together 5 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder, 4 tsp black cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt.
You certainly can sift together the dry ingredients with a sifter or fine mesh strainer, or do what I do, and just put them all in a zip-top bag and shake to combine. It's easier, faster, less messy, and a lot more fun.

Step 2:

Cream together 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until they are light and fluffy.
It really is important to cream the fat and sugar together for a long time. Creaming creates countless tiny bubbles in the fat, which are later inflated by the chemical leavening during baking to make light, fluffy cookies. The cookies will still have some lift if you don't cream long enough, but they will never reach their full potential if you don't beat them for a long time.

Step 3:

Add 3 large eggs, one at a time, waiting to add the next egg until the previous has been completely incorporated.

Step 4:

Combine 1/4 cup buttermilk, 4 tsp white distilled vinegar (i knew there was a use for it), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 4 tsp red food coloring.
Slowly add the combined wet ingedients to the creamed mixture.
You definitely want to go slow here. The goal is to create an emulsion, like mayonnaise, and that process is aided by going slow.
Another note: this recipe was formulated using the liquid food coloring you buy in the grocery store. This stuff is mostly water, so if you substitute another type of food coloring remember that you may have to add back some water to replace that which you are taking out.

Step 5:

Slowly add the blended dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until combined, but make an effort to not overmix the dough.
Why not overmix the dough? Well, aside from making it tough, keep in mind that you are going to be rolling this dough out, and that extra manipulation already tends to toughen things like cookies and biscuits. In addition, there really isn't that much reason to mix this too much—it comes together fairly easily.

Step 6:

Roll the dough 1/4" thick on a lightly floured surface, or between layers of parchment or waxed paper. Cut the dough into your desired shapes.
Lightly press the scraps together repeat the process as needed.
One quick aside here: use as little flour for dusting as you can possibly get away with. The dough may be sticky, but too much flour will make it tougher.

Step 7:

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly springy.
You may have noticed that I don't give a definite bake time, but I say bake them until they are done. With chocolate chip cookies I could say bake until slightly golden, but that doesn't work with a red cookie. There is a trick to knowing when they are done though, and all it takes is a little poke. That's right, I am asking you to lightly poke your cookies to see if they are done baking.
What you are looking for is a slightly springy, soft yet firm texture, just like a perfectly baked cake. You don't want the cookie to feel doughy, or for it to compress too much when you bake it. I know this seems somewhat difficult to understand, and it takes practice to know what you are feeling for, but if you can master this technique you will never question whether or not your cookies or cakes are cooked.

Step 8:

Leave the cookies on the sheet for a couple of minutes before sliding them to a wire rack to cool completely.
When completely cool, frosting with your favorite cream cheese or white chocolate frosting.

Red Velvet CookiesYields: 24 cookies

Wet Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
Wet Ingredients Dry Ingredients

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients with a sifter or whisk, or shake in a closed zipper-top bag.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Combine the remaining wet ingredients and slowly add to the creamed mixture.
  6. Slowly blend in the dry ingredients, taking care to not overmix the dough.
  7. Roll the dough out 1/4" thick and cut into the desired shapes.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly springy when touched.
  9. Cool a couple of minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to coo completely. Frost with cream cheese or white chocolate frosting if desired.

This recipe was printed from Dinner in the Life of a Dad (
Red Velvet Cookies 24 Cookies Sweet, rich, and chocolatey rolled red velvet cookies. Top with your favorite frosting. Devour by the handful. 1 cup Butter 2 cups Sugar 3 Eggs 1/4 cup Buttermilk 4 tsp White Vinegar 4 tsp Red Food Coloring 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract 5 3/4 cups Flour 1/4 cup Cornstarch 1/4 cup natural or dutch cocoa powder 4 tsp black cocoa powder 1 Tbsp Baking Powder 1/2 tsp Baking Soda 1/2 tsp Salt

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