Soft Red Velvet Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Soft red velvet sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting

February is my month to host the group, What’s Baking.  With Valentine’s Day and all, I thought red velvet would be appropriate.  I don’t think I have ever made anything red velvet. I’m really not sure why. But, it’s been on my baking to do list for a long time, so let’s cross this one off.

I had a hard time figuring out what to bake. Brownies, cookies, cake, cupcakes?  So, many to choose from. But, if you’ve been here before, you know my family’s love for soft, frosted sugar cookies. You know, the Lofthouse style ones? I finally came across these red velvet cookies with cream cheese frosting and immediately knew they were it.  Have you ever visited the blog Cooking Classy?  If not, you totally should.  Jaclyn’s pictures are just beautiful and everything she bakes looks amazing.  I can’t tell you how many things I’ve pinned.  Now, I just need to find the time…

These cookies were easy enough to make.  But, I think I should have used regular cocoa versus the Dutch processed.  The color would have been more red and a bit less muddled. But, I guess that’s just aesthetics and I need to get over it. For Jaclyn’s cookies, it looks like she frosted them by hand. I can never make my cookies look nice that way, so I chose to pipe them instead.  I pulled out like 10 different colors of sprinkles, but I loved the white against the white frosting.  Then, I decided white sprinkles weren’t enough, so I added some disco dust for sparkle. Disco dust…say what?  I have never heard of it before either. It’s edible glitter and it will make your cookies look beautiful.

The verdict? My husband and kids absolutely loved them. I had 21 cookies yesterday and only 4 today.  These cookies are really soft, with just a hint of chocolate which pairs perfectly with the sweet cream cheese frosting.  If you haven’t made anything red velvet, or you have and you’re crazy for it, make these cookies. You’ll love them. Promise.  Another keeper for me.

Stay tuned for the round up of all the yummy red velvet desserts….I can’t wait to see what everyone made!

Whats Baking Badge

Soft Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield:  16 cookies ( I got 21)

Cookies:

2 1/4 cups cake flour

3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder    I used Valrhona Dutched

2 tsp cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1/4 cup vegetable shortening  I like Crisco sticks- more accurate and less mess

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract   (I used 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp vanilla paste)

1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar

Red food coloring   I used ~ 1.5 tsp of AmeriColor Super Red Gel Paste

Sprinkles,  if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened (I used unsalted and added a pinch of salt)

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder and salt until well combined.  Although the directions didn’t say, I sifted the mixture because my cocoa was lumpy. Set aside the flour mixture.

In the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer, blend the butter, shortening and sugar with the paddle attachment until light-colored and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes.  Mix in the egg, then the egg white, vanilla, vinegar (or lemon juice) and food coloring.

With your mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure every last bit is incorporated.

Cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Chill x 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Shape the dough into ~ 3 Tbsp balls. I got 8 cookies per sheet. Grease or lightly wet your hands and press the dough down to about 1/2-inch high.

Bake ~9 to 11 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through the bake time.  Remove the sheet from the oven and cool the cookies on the baking sheet ~2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

In the bowl of your KitchenAid, with the whisk attachment, whip the cream cheese and butter until light-colored and fluffy.  Blend in the vanilla. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, blending until well combined and fluffy. I added about 1 tsp half and half to thin the frosting out a bit to make piping easier. 

Source:  Cooking Classy

Soft red velvet cookies with cream cheese frosting

Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodle bars

Yes, you guessed it, another Pinterest find.  Whenever I see the word snickerdoodle and it’s not a cookie, I am immediately interested. Why? Well, because it’s my husband’s favorite cookie.  But, you can only have so many snickerdoodle cookies.  Or, maybe not, if you are a die-hard snickerdoodle fan.  I have seen quick breads, cupcakes, muffins, even pancakes.  All are worth trying because who doesn’t like just about anything covered in cinnamon sugar?

It was Thursday night and I was supposed to make these snickerdoodle bars for a coworker’s last day in my department.  But, my husband is back coaching volleyball, so by the time I fed and bathed the kids, and then prepared everything for school the next day, I was way too tired.  My husband gets up for work at 5am and I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I don’t start work until 9, so I got up to make the bars.  Let me warn you, the first layer of batter is really hard to spread.  The problem is sticky batter and a well-greased pan are not conducive to spreading.  But, by dolloping and a lot of patience, something I didn’t have much of at 5am, it will spread.  The rest is easy. You just cover it with a generous layer of cinnamon sugar and dollop on the remaining batter.  Luckily, there is no more spreading. You want to see that cinnamon peaking through.  After the bars bake and cool, you drizzle them with a quick vanilla-scented, powdered sugar glaze.  That’s it.

Everyone at work was raving about these bars. I had to grab a small piece, you know, for quality control.  How else could I tell you how they taste?  And, I must say, they taste pretty amazing.  Hands down one of the best things I’ve baked in a while. So, good in fact, I made a another pan for my husband the very next day because I just couldn’t keep the deliciousness of these bars from him.  Justin proceeded to eat 6 bars for dessert, stuffing himself until he was sick.  These bars are so good, he went ahead and did the same thing at breakfast. I guess they’re worth it.

Snickerdoodle Bars
Yield: 13×9 pan

2 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon filling

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 tsp of melted butter  Optional   (Note tsp not tbsp)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom only of a 13×9-inch baking pan with Pam. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat butter on high until creamy. Beat in both sugars.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the vanilla.  On low, beat in dry ingredients until combined.

Spoon half of the batter into pan by the dollop.  Spread evenly. It takes awhile to spread the batter since it is sticky and the pan is slick. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar evenly over batter.

Dollop the remaining batter by the teaspoon evenly over cinnamon-sugar

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, turning the pan at 10 minutes.  Test with a toothpick inserted in center. The bars are done when the toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, ~ 1 hour.

In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.  I put the glaze in a Ziploc bag, cut off the corner, and drizzled over the bars.

Source:  Betty Crocker

The Treats Truck Sugar Dots

I live in a Chicago suburb, but I don’t get to the city much.  So, unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to sample some of the gourmet fare that food trucks are now offering.  Of course, I am most interested in the trucks that sell cupcakes, bars, cookies, really any baked goods.  I came across The Treats Truck Baking Book and I was instantly drawn to their slogan “Not too fancy, Always Delicious” because that’s how I like to think I bake.  They sell the treats that we all grew up with, but probably a little better.  (Sorry mom! :D)  Homemade chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes baked into ice cream cones, frosted sugar cookies, brownies…these are all comfort foods.  You see these treats and they instantly make you happy.  That is a big reason I love baking.  If I had a food truck, this would be it.

If you haven’t noticed yet, we love frosted cookies in my house.  Oh, and let’s not forget the sprinkles.  So, I knew that the Sugar Dots, one of the Treats Truck’s signature cookies, would be a perfect choice.  Usually I try to steer away from rolled cookies, just because they take a lot of time, which I don’t have.  But, looking at the picture of these sugar dots, I thought they would be worth the effort.  The dough was easy to put together and it rolled pretty easily with a bit of flour from time to time.  I used a shot glass (Classy, I knowOpen-mouth smile ) to cut them into circles because somehow with all the cookie cutters I have, I do not own a small round one.  So, my cookies were a bit smaller, about the size of a silver dollar.  But, that’s okay because I got more cookies with more frosting.  Never a bad thing!  The frosting is a basic buttercream, spread with an offset spatula, and decorated with sprinkles before the frosting sets.  I have to say, these cookies are crazy delicious. The sweet, creamy buttercream is a perfect complement to the buttery, tender, melt in your mouth cookie.  And, these two-biters are so cute!  Are they worth the time and effort?  The answer is easy as I take in Jack and Sammie’s Mmmms and their smiles through frosting covered lips.  Red heart

I had to make a rainbow for Sammie.

The Treats Truck Sugar Dots

Yield:  1.5 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size you make them. (I made mine small. and probably got more like 6 dozen)

Cookies

3 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix and set aside.

Use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy Add the egg and mix well.

In a measuring cup, combine the heavy cream and vanilla.

Mix the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture in three parts, alternating with the cream and vanilla mixture, starting and ending with the flour.

Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a block, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick.  I floured the table, the top of the dough and the rolling pin. Using a cookie cutter (or shot glass)  cut out the cookies and place them 1 inch apart on a greased or parchment paper–lined baking sheet.  They don’t spread much so I was able to get 25 small cookies/sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until very lightly golden at the edges.

Allow the cookies to cool completely. Frost with buttercream using an offset spatula. If decorating with sprinkles, do so immediately after frosting each cookie or they won’t stick.  Let them sit out for at least 30 minutes to set.  I would pack them between wax paper to prevent from sticking and ruining the frosting.

Buttercream

Yield: 2 cups ( original recipe made 4 cups…way too much frosting)

1/2 stick of butter softened

3 cups sifted powdered sugar– to get out the lumps

1/4 cup whole milk

3/4 tsp vanilla

In your mixer bowl, cream the butter.  Add 1/2 of the powder sugar, mix well. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, mix well.  Add the milk and vanilla.  Mix until smooth and creamy.  Stick the frosting in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up a bit before using.

Note: The buttercream recipe is already halved.

Source: The Treats Truck:Cookies, Brownies, and Goodies Galore!

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