For years, one of the things I most looked forward to about the month of December was the appearance of holiday baking magazines in the stores. I was obsessed, to put it mildly. I couldn’t stop at Target or BJ’s without grabbing at least one magazine, and by the time Christmas rolled around, I usually had a stack of holiday baking magazines about a mile high.
We have literally run out of room to store magazines and cookbooks – the floor of the guest bedroom has become something of a library at this point (I’d show you a photo if I wasn’t so embarrassed about it!), luckily we very rarely have overnight guests Anyway, for that reason I’ve been really good about buying fewer of each, even around the holidays. But last week I had jury duty and I figured that earned me the right to buy just one holiday baking magazine. I decided on a Christmas cookie magazine from America’s Test Kitchen, so I spent my time at jury duty flagging recipes and dreaming of all the cookies I’d bake once it was over.
First up? These red velvet cookies with cream cheese frosting! I remember the first time I had red velvet cake I wasn’t overly impressed, but I think that’s mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. It’s easily one of my favorites now, I make it at least a few times a year. And I actually had cupcakes on my agenda for this month until I came across these cookies. December is all about cookies, after all, so these seemed even more appropriate than cupcakes!
Isn’t the vibrant red color so festive for the holiday season? These would be perfect on any cookie tray! The cookies are slightly crisp at the edges and a bit cakey in the center. They’re not quite as fluffy as the cake-like cookies that you’d use for whoopie pies, though you could definitely make cookie sandwiches with these if you want. They have that classic red velvet tang, provided by sour cream rather than the usual buttermilk. And of course they’re topped with sweet cream cheese frosting – that’s a must for all things red velvet!
I sent them to work with my mom and apparently they lasted all of 5 minutes, so I’m pretty sure that means I have to make them again for Christmas, right?
PS – Today is the last day to enter the Amazon gift card giveaway. More info here!
Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
just barely adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Christmas Cookies
1 3/4 cups (8.75 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream (light is fine), at room temperature
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, softened (reduced-fat is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (5 oz) confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the cookies: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt (you could just whisk, but I really like to make sure the cocoa powder is lump free). In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the egg, food coloring, and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients, followed by the sour cream, and then the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until combined. The batter will be thick and sticky.
Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, portion the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for about 15 minutes (rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through if you do both sheets at once), or until the centers of the cookies spring back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool for a few minutes before removing to the racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Raise the mixer to medium-high, and beat for about 1 minute, or until the frosting is light and fluffy. Spread each of the cooled cookies with frosting.
Makes about 18-20 cookies