Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
These red velvet sugar cookies will make your day! Soft & tender, fun & brightly colored, with a hint of cocoa & a slight cream cheese tang.
Hi friend! It’s Valentine’s week! Are you excited?
I love making Valentine’s Day treats, and I’ve got tons of recipes on this site to prove it!
Yesterday I shared a sinfully decadent chocolate cheesecake that would be PERFECT for a sexy date night in. And today I’m here with a cute and fun idea for the kiddos!
These red velvet sugar cookies are the perfect thing to send in for your kids’ class parties. They’re colorful and festive, and they have a wonderfully soft texture and that signature red velvet flavor that everyone goes crazy for!
HOW TO MAKE RED VELVET SUGAR COOKIES
You’re going to love how easy and straightforward this recipe is. And the dough is super-simple to roll out, with no messy flour on your countertops! I love that because not only does it make the cleanup a snap, it allows you to re-roll your dough scraps without them becoming tough or dry.
Start by beating butter, cream cheese, and sugar together until smooth. You don’t need to spend a lot of time creaming and whipping air in, like you would with a lot of recipes. In fact, it’s better if you DON’T with this kind of cookie, because it could cause it to spread as it bakes, and you will lose your pretty shapes and sharp edges and corners. So, just as soon as everything looks smooth, you’re good to go on to the next step.
Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and food coloring and mix that in until just combined.
The final step is to mix in the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Cornstarch is a fine powder that is white and flavorless. It’s a pure starch and it helps to keep your cookies soft and tender. Please make sure to use “cornstarch,” not “cornmeal.” They are two very different things!
Mix the dry ingredients in just until barely combined, then roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment. I like my red velvet sugar cookies nice and chubby, so I rolled out to a thickness of 3/16-inch. You can be sure your cookies are the right thickness by using rolling pin rings.
The bake time listed below is approximate. Depending on the size of the cutter you use, your cookies may need more or less time to bake. Smaller cookies will bake faster, whereas larger cookies will need a bit more time. Use this as a rough guide, and know that your cookies are done when they feel firm and set around the edges, but are still a bit soft towards the center. If you like a softer cookie, it’s best to err on the side of underbaking, because they will continue to cook and firm up as they cool.
HOW TO DECORATE RED VELVET COOKIES
Because it’s Valentine’s Day, I was inspired by the conversation heart look. I used royal icing, tinted with soft pastel colors, to mimic those iconic candies I remember from all the elementary school class parties. Here are some of the tools you’ll see me using in the video below:
- Rose pink icing color
- Orange icing color
- Leaf green icing color
- 12-inch disposable piping bags
- Number 3 round decorating tips
- They’d be awesome with a swirl of sour cream icing.
- You could also use a simple American-style buttercream.
- Make it easy on yourself and just dust them with powdered sugar. This is especially pretty if you use a doily as a stencil!
- Or dip them in melted white chocolate.
- You could use the same royal icing, but give them more of a Christmas-y treatment.
- They’d also work really great for the fourth of July!
CAN THESE RED VELVET SUGAR COOKIES BE MADE AHEAD
These cookies can totally be made ahead! Kept in an airtight container, they’ll stay soft and fresh for days.
They can also be frozen. They’ll keep in the freezer (tightly wrapped) for at least a month or two.
The dough DOES NOT require any chilling. But if you’d like to make it ahead, you can. Just be aware that it will become drier as it sits (even when wrapped tightly; the flour just absorbs moisture over time). Because of this, I’d recommend using a bit less flour if you aren’t planning on rolling, cutting, and baking right away. Keep it in the fridge for no more than a few days.
Here’s wishing you a fun and special Valentine’s Day! Hopefully this red velvet sugar cookie recipe will make it extra memorable for you!
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Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, (2 sticks)
- 4 ounces (113.4 g) cream cheese, (half a brick)
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 (1) egg yolk, , large
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) red food coloring , (liquid)
- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (32 g) cornstarch
- 1/4 cup (21.5 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon ) kosher salt
- Place the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium-low speed until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and food coloring and mix on medium speed until combined.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the flour, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt.
- Mix on medium-low speed until a stiff dough forms (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). The dough should gather itself into a ball and come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough seems too sticky, try mixing in a little more flour.
- Roll the dough to 3/16-inch thick (rolling pin rings ensure an even and exact thickness) between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
- Remove the top sheet of parchment, and cut shapes with a 3-inch heart cookie cutter.
- Peel the shapes from the bottom layer of parchment, and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, or until set around the edges but still a little soft towards the center.
- Cool completely, then frost with royal icing.