This has been a very birthday weekend. So birthday in fact, that I feel it necessary to use “birthday” as an adjective. I think it’ll catch on. I spent Saturday afternoon making two kinds of cookies for two different people. I’ll show you one today and another very soon. So here we go: Red Velvet Black & Whites.
To make a not-so-long story even shorter: My cousin’s bat mitzvah was this weekend in Atlanta and my cousin Amy (amongst many others) came in from Florida for the occasion. It came to my attention that a) Amy’s birthday was the following Monday (today) and b) Amy loves red velvet cake. She says it’s her absolute favorite and she’s a red velvet snob.
Well, I’m no fool. I’d be crazy to try to make a red velvet cake when I know Amy is very particular about it and I’ve never made one before. Plus, she was staying in a hotel. You can’t give a cake to someone on vacation. It’s just not right. What is right is to find a clever variation on red velvet that travels well. Enter the black and white cookie.
The recipe comes from Rachael Ray, and I’ve seen it made by many food bloggers. The cookies turned out amazingly. The icing was the real challenge though. The icing from the original recipe was a traditional black and white cookie icing made with water and powdered sugar. But come on! This is supposed to be red velvet! These cookies needed cream cheese. I took ideas from a few different places and came up with a sort of cream cheese glaze. Unfortunately, I lost track of measurements while I was adjusting to taste, but I’ll do my best to explain the method later.
Ultimately, these cookies turned out great. Plus, Amy loved them, and that’s what matters. The punch-line of “what’s black and white and red all over?” will never be the same…
Red Velvet Black & White Cookies
A full ¼ cup of batter makes for cookies as big as your face. If you want a cookie about 3-inches in diameter use 2-3 tablespoons of batter instead. Be aware that does batter does spread when it cooks, even if you spread it out on the cookie sheet, so be sure to scoop them out far enough apart. You can get 6-8 cookies on a standard baking sheet.
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 6 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
- Powdered sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Using a mixer, beat 5 tablespoons butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, food coloring and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk until smooth.
Place 1/4-cup (or smaller) scoops of batter 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet; spread out. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
Once the cookies are completely cool, beat cream cheese, ¼ cup of powdered sugar and about 3 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl until smooth. Add more sugar until you reach the desired sweetness. You don’t want to icing to be too tangy. Add more milk until you reach a thin, but spreadable consistency. Flip the cookies over so that they are flat side up. Ice one half of the cookie with the white icing. Once all cookies are half-iced, add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to the remaining icing. You want the icing to be a dark brown, so continue to add cocoa powder until you reach the desired color. Then add more powdered sugar and milk to again reach the desired sweetness and consistency. Ice the other half of each cookie. Refrigerate until set, or eat immediately!
Makes 8-10 very large cookies or about twice as many smaller ones