Happy Friday, dear friends & fellow baking-lovers! Today I have something to share that I'm sure will need to make an appearance in your kitchens this coming Valentine's Day (in only two short weeks, can you believe it?). I took one rainy afternoon and baked/frosted/sprinkled these lovelies with my three-year old. It went much better than I originally had planned out, and he still talks about when we frosted the "red cookies with aaaallllll the girl sprinkles."
The dough for these beautiful cookies is just gorgeous and seriously so incredibly soft. Yes, there is a little chilling time for making these cookies, but it's completely worth it. The batter at first is very soft and somewhat sticky. After chilling it in the fridge for a couple hours, it comes out perfect for rolling.
When we lived in Provo for a few years during our undergraduate degrees, and another three years when Ryan finished up law school, we lived in a couple different apartments, and then rented this teeny house on Center Street. As much as everyone raves about Provo, there were a few things about it I couldn't really stand: the constant moldy smell in our billion year old house, the borderline satanical landlords, the never ending giant spider battle, the lake that taunted us with beauty but was infested with bacteria and muck, the transient neighborhoods, the offensively high utility bills (we pay $100 less a month less now without even trying), and OH - THE LACK OF FREAKING COUNTER SPACE IN MY KITCHEN for instance.
It was a daily struggle, my friends. The counters were tiled, too, so if I needed to roll anything out (pizza dough, fondant, and oh - beautiful cookies like these ones, it was tricky). So when we finally were able to escape a little closer to Salt Lake City (where he works now), I made sure to be a diva when picking out our apartment (based on the kitchen, as usual). Now, I'm happy to say, we have a giant counter with plenty of space to roll out some dough the size of my three-year-old. When you roll out these cookies, you're going to need a huge counter or table to roll them out on. Because ladies and gentlemen, these cookies are the size of a giant saucer.
Smothering these cookies in that heavenly cream cheese is (literally) icing on the cake. It was actually really tricky for me to write down the recipe, because even after the millionth time making it, I never measure things out exactly every time. Everything is by feel, by sight, or just how I'm doing that day. Haha. I always laughed at how my Mom did this growing up, but now I understand. You make something so often, it just becomes a part of you, a piece of you, completely second nature. Anyway, I hope you all have a beautiful weekend, and that these amazing cookies can be added to your list for this year's holiday baking! Is Valentine's still considered part of "the holidays?" Oh well, go crazy anyway, I say! Happy weekending, and I'll see you back here on Monday with something oh-so savory, you'll want to throw it on for dinner asap. :)
Soft Red Velvet Sugar Cookies with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 12 large cookies
2 1/4 C cake flour
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t cornstarch
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 C unsalted butter
1/4 C vegetable shortening
1 C granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 t lemon juice
4oz cream cheese
1/2 C unsalted butter
1 t vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 t almond extract (depending on how strong you want the taste)
4-5 C powdered sugar
1/8 C heavy cream
pinch of salt
1. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (cake flour, cocoa, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt) until well blended, set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg with the speed on medium, and then egg white, vanilla, lemon juice, and food coloring.
3. With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4. Spread dough out over a heavily floured surface and gently roll out chilled dough (try to not mix in too much of the flour). Cut 3 inch circles with a cookie cutter or edge of a class/mug. Carefully transfer cookies to the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, remove from oven, allow to cool for 30 seconds on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. When the cookies have completely cooled, make the frosting. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese until there are zero lumps, and both are evenly incorporated. Add in extracts and a pinch of salt and mix in. Slowly add in powdered sugar (you may not need all of it), and then the heavy cream to thin, if needed. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream until you get your desired consistency for the cookies.
6. Spread cream cheese frosting on cookies, and immediately sprinkle with Valentine's Day sprinkles.
*I used one full Wilton gel "No Taste Red" food coloring
recipe adapted from: Cooking Classy