While I was shopping at Target recently, (one of my favorite stores!), I came across this awesome cookie cutter that you can insert text in, and stamp it when you cut the dough at the same time. How cool is this?! (It's by Chicago Metallic- "Heart Cookie Notes Cutter".) Since you are stamping the cookie and want to be able to read it, frosting the cookie isn't really an option, so I decided to make these "Red Velvet" cookies to try out the new cutter! I have to say, I really love it! It's fun, you can virtually spell out anything you want, and decorating is a breeze! Do you even have to decorate? No! There's nothing wrong with leaving the cookies plain, but just piping a simple design on the edges in white chocolate sounded like a great way to finish these, and make them just a bit more special! Even if you can't locate this cool new gadget, any traditional cookie cutter will work for this dough. These cookies are so delicious- takes your basic sugar cookie to the next level, and so festive too! **The cocoa you use will make a difference in how much red you add to the dough. Since I had a dark cocoa on hand, that's what I used, and it added more deeper color to the red when combined. Also, adding the buttermilk is completely optional. It isn't necessary for the recipe, but adds that extra tenderness/ flavor, and is a traditional ingredient in Red Velvet cakes. So if you don't have it on hand, don't worry about it!
Yields: 14 large heart cookies (or about 24 traditionally cut cookies)
2 sticks (1/2#) of unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 cup of sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
**optional: 1 T. buttermilk
red gel food coloring
1 T. cocoa powder
1 t. salt
2 1/2 cups of flour
Additional flour for rolling
**optional for finishing: about 1 cup of melted white chocolate, frosting, sugars or sprinkles, etc.
1) In a mixing bowl, (either by hand, or using a paddle attachment in a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the buttermilk, (if using), vanilla, and the cocoa powder. Start adding in some red gel coloring, (about 1/8 t. to start), and add as much as necessary to get the desired color you wish. Add in the salt, and about 1/2 the flour until dough begins to form. Mix in the rest of the flour.
2) Remove the dough from the bowl, form in a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap well. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
3) When ready to roll out cookies, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and allow to set for about 10min. Prep your cookie trays by lining them with parchment paper or a silicone mat. When ready, on a clean and floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2inch thick. (Use additional flour if necessary.) Cut out your cookies, and place them on the lined cookie trays. **You could also dip the text side of the cookie in plain sugar for extra "sparkle"! Repeat until all dough has been used. Place the trays in the refrigerator for about 10-15min. to chill.
Preheat oven to 350F. Remove the trays from the oven, and bake at 350F for 10-14min. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
4) If you would like to add decorations, simply melt your chocolate according to package directions, place the melted chocolate in a parchment triangle, and pipe on whatever design you like! **You could also use royal icing, or even purchased frosting in a can. You could give these away as gifts/ treats, or serve on a platter for a party, or store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
Happy Valentine's Day!