Did you ever watch Steal Magnolias? The Julia Roberts movie that came out in 1989? No? You should put it on your Netflix list. My sister and I watched it over and over. We were obsessed with the movie and with Julia Roberts. If you did watch it you might remember the groom’s cake: a red velvet cake shaped like an armadillo, covered in gray frosting. This was my first introduction to red velvet. Many years later when the cupcake craze hit Boston, I ate my first red velvet cupcake. After taking a single bite I understood the obsession and, well, I became obsessed. I ordered red velvet anything whenever I got a chance. At my brother’s wedding two years ago, I stood in my beautiful, pewter colored bridesmaid dress and devoured two red velvet cupcakes during the course of one song. I’m not ashamed; they were best I ever had!
The combination of the cream cheese frosting and the cocoa are amazing together, but the thing that gets me every time is the bright, red crumb. It’s not magic, I know. The cookies get their vibrant color from red food coloring and natural cocoa powder. It’s just magical baking science.
Last December, I saw a recipe for frosted red velvet cookies in Cook’s Illustrated. I dog-eared the page, but never made the cookies. This year I made sure they were in my holiday cookie rotation.
Bubba and kids went nuts for them. C asked, just before she shoved a cookie into her mouth, “Umm, are they red velvet?” My girl is hooked. I know this is the season of sharing, kindness and generosity, but we didn’t share these cookies. We ate them as if they were about to vanish. Before long one cookie and a few crumbs remained.
Frosted Red Velvet Cookies
Recipe barely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Christmas Cookies
makes about 22 cookies
1 + 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup of 2% Greek yogurt
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
11/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
holiday sprinkles for decorating, optional
Pre-heat your oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of softened butter. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes or so. Next add your egg, food coloring and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat until combined.
Lower the speed and add half of the flour mixture, then the Greek yogurt and ending with the rest of the flour mixture.
Scoop up 2 tablespoons of dough and drop on prepared baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches in between each dough mound. Bake each sheet, separately, for about 16 minutes or until the centers are set. Be sure to rotate the pan halfway through baking. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet pans for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cookies cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Use a clean, dry bowl! With a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla on medium speed for about a minute. Lower the speed and add the confectioners’ sugar. Mix for a minute. Increase the speed to medium/high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Spread a spoonful of frosting on each cookie and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. The cookies taste best the day they are made, but taste great the next day too! If you have any left over, store them in an air-tight container at room temperature. Enjoy!
5 Can’t Miss Holiday Cookie Recipes
Love white chocolate? How about peppermint? Check out Not Without Salt’s white chocolate peppermint cookies with vanilla salt. That’s right, vanilla salt. Yum!
My kids love hot cocoa. Hot cocoa with a handful of marshmallows floating on top is their favorite winter-time drink. I think I will blow their minds when I make Laura’s, at Fork Knife Swoon, recipe for flourless hot cocoa cookies!
Chocolate, caramel and salt need to happen during the holidays. Head to Bakers Royale for salted chocolate caramel snickers cookie recipe. My mouth is watering.
If you love thumbprint cookies, check out mini chocolate thumbprint cookies at Pinch of Yum. They look like just the dessert to serve at your next holiday gathering!
My most pinned recipe: lemon ricotta cookies. They will make your family swoon this holiday season!
The Great American Milk Drive is taking place now. Feeding America will donate a gallon for a gallon until December 31st. Consider making a donation today!