Red Velvet Cake is a real childhood memory for me. I have an aunt who makes a great one. But it was definitely not trendy or cool or in. Red Velvet was seriously down-home, real country food. It wasn’t even a standard on diner menus. But that all seems to have changed. I am dubious about this hipsterfied version. I have had some really, really bad red velvet made by places that charge huge amounts for small cupcakes, and advertise that it’s the best-selling flavor. I even had a red velvet cupcake in London, but it was an abomination. In fact, it seems that anything with a little red food coloring in it is now called “red velvet” and earns a premium and a lot of attention. No, I don’t like this trend at all.
But Christmas is different. We all love fun and whimsical at Christmas, and bright red sweets just fit the bill perfectly. These cookies with their chocolate-y richness, ruby color and festive white snowdrops will delight kids, but they will also make an impression at a cookie swap.
Red Velvet Polka Dot Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring
1 (11-ounce) white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light-colored. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy and light.
In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Use the fork to break up lumps of cocoa powder. Add the dry ingredients to the butter in the mixer a little at a time, mixing well after each addition and occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, add the food coloring, beating until the dough is a dark red color. If you have some place important to be or just had a manicure, I’d recommend wearing gloves. That red food coloring will show up in the oddest places. When the dough is evenly colored, stir in all but about ½ cup of the white chocolate chips until mixed in.
Scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheets using a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop or spoon. Place the cookies apart from each other to allow room for spreading. You will have enough dough to use on a third pan of cookies after these have cooked. Wet your fingers and lightly press down the top of each cookie mound, then press the remaining white chips into each cookie to create the polka dots. The cookies spread, so press a lot of chips into the cookies.
Bake the cookies for 10 – 12 minutes until firm in the center. Cool on the pans for a few minutes until firm, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. When one pan has cooled, repeat with the rest of the cookie dough. Stored in an airtight container, the cookies will keep for several days.
Makes 30 cookies