Has red velvet been around and popular for a long time? I feel like red velvet had a major revival right around the time that gourmet cupcakes became popular. Red cake with a huge dollop of cream cheese on top just works, both for a sweet tooth and the pictures to post online.
The concept, of course, can be easily ported over the cookies: make a red velvet cookie, then top it with cream cheese frosting. However, Sally takes the recipe up a notch by putting the cream cheese inside the cookie. It’s kind of like a filled cupcake.
I normally would consider this excessive work, but this whole cookie challenge was an effort to try new techniques, so the cream cheese goes inside.
As usual, I started by spreading all of the ingredients out across the island and setting up my tablet to read the recipe.
There were a few early mistakes in measurement. First, I had to open a new bag of brown sugar and dumped too much in. Then, I added the white sugar but missed the part about it being divided, so I had to carefully pick out some of both of those. And then I remembered that I had raised the beater slightly last week, so I had to adjust it down again.
The recipe called for 1 tbsp red food coloring in either liquid or gel. We happened to have gel, and boy, that stuff is potent. I didn’t even use a full tbsp, but I had red going everywhere.
When I later ate the cookies, I had red dye when I brushed my teeth. Next time, I would recommend adding the red food coloring a little bit at a time until it matches your desired color.
The recipe called for everything to be very cold for baking, so I stuck that in the fridge.
Next, I made the cream cheese filling. I considered using my hand mixer just so I didn’t have to clean my stand mixer mid-bake, but I figured I would need to wash it sooner or later.
I scooped those out into dollops, then popped them into the freezer.
Sally said to chill before rolling, so The following morning, I took the cream cheese out. I was skeptical, but it actually did roll quite nicely.
I planned to test and serve just a few cookies that afternoon, so I took the dough out as suggested and measured out 8 balls to be combined into 4 cookies.
I added the cream cheese filling, which seemed a little large, but I proceeded anyways.
Unfortunately, the dough was way too sticky, so I couldn’t easily encase the filling. Also, there was a lot of filling, so it all kind of formed a mass.
The resulting cookies spread a lot, and the cream cheese didn’t quite end up being the solid inside. They still tasted okay, but it wasn’t what the recipe led me to expect. I also completely forgot to roll in sugar, but I wouldn’t have been able to anyways.
Having learned a few lessons from the bake, I took another shot an evening later with a few adjustments.
First, I didn’t let the dough warm up on the counter. I used it from cold. Second, I picked away at the cream cheese balls a bit to make them smaller. I actually had left those in the fridge and probably wouldn’t have preferred them straight from the freezer.
These cookies were much easier to form and could be rolled.
These ones baked much more firmly. A few of the cookies leaked their contents out of the sides. The solid ones had a dimple in the middle as well, but they remained encased.
The second batch that evening turned out slightly differently. The bad news was that the dough and filling had warmed up, so they were harder to work with. The good news was that my technique was better. As such, it was a bit of a wash.
In the end, even the solid cookies didn’t end up with the huge dollop of cream cheese in the middle. The cream cheese spread with the cookies into a thin layer.
When I distributed the cookies to friends, though, they actually liked it this way: the cookies are already plenty sweet without biting into pure filling.
So the cookies don’t look like Sally’s, but they were still delicious. They definitely taste of red velvet, and the texture is nicely soft and crunchy in the right ways.
If you want to try to get that dollop of cream cheese perfectly in the middle, you can find the recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction