red velvet sandwiches

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I don’t get the big deal about red velvet. But I give the people what they want, and what my family wanted for our pre-Easter dinner was red velvet, so red velvet they got — red velvet sandwich cookies, to be exact.

This was my first time cooking from Miss Paula Dean’s collection, and I was a little surprised that the recipe wasn’t chock-full of butter. (The lady has a recipe for fried butter, after all.) Still, I halved the frosting recipe because I didn’t want anything left over, and figured I could always make more if I needed it. Turns out, the halved recipe yielded the perfect amount of filling.

The “cookie” portion is very cakey (think whoopie pie) and the flavor is a soft cocoa; the cream cheese frosting, then, adds the perfect amount of sugar to the dessert without making it overwhelmingly sweet.

Maybe I misjudged the two-inch circles the recipe called for, but the rounds expanded big time in the oven, and ran into each other so they weren’t exactly so round when they were done. I’d recommend putting down one-inch dollops just to be safe. To remedy my situation, I used one “round” per sandwich — slicing each down the center and making sandwich halves. I thought it would be better to bring over 16 average servings than eight monstrous cookie sandwiches for nine people.

1-1/3 c. flour
2 tbs. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter, room temp
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tbs. buttermilk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbs. red food coloring

Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs one a time, then beat in buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring. Once combined, add dry ingredients and mix.  Drop rounds (not too big!) onto greased baking sheet, and bake for 7-9 minutes at 375 degrees. Use a toothpick to check the inside. Don’t let outsides get too browned or it’ll ruin the aesthetic!

4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
♦2 c. powdered sugar

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Add sugar in small increments and taste for desired
sweetness. (I did not use the entire two cups because I’m not a super sweet tooth.) When cookies are cooled, spread a layer of frosting on flat side of one and top with another.

Total time? 10 minutes prep, 9 minutes cook, 5 minutes construction.
Cost? $1.25 buttermilk, $1 apple cider vinegar, $1 cream cheese, $3 red food coloring.
Overall success relative to expect? 8 out of 10. My excitement for these wavered throughout. Initially, I was skeptical because I’m not a huge red velvet fan. As I was making the batter, I got excited about delivering on a not-so-traditional cookie. When I realized my gigantic cookies were running into each other, molding into squares and browning on the edges, I considered throwing away the tray and bringing some Oreos to my dad’s house. But once I had a bite, I was sold. I loved the balance, and as is the case with anything red velvet,  the finished product (and even the mess you make in your kitchen) is a lot prettier than your average cookie.


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