Perfection! Melt-in-your-mouth Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies at their finest and from scratch. Buttery, light and tender-crumbed, sweetened just right, pretty in red velvet color and full of red velvet flavor. You just can’t have one! Included is a scrumptious and irresistible gluten free variation as well as natural coloring method. Everyone will LOVE these!
A New American Cookie Classic:
Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies—Made from Scratch!
My friends, today I am absolutely thrilled to share a special variation of my original recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies made from scratch—Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies. As I have stated before, if you have never experienced Gooey Butter Cake, or a Gooey Butter Cookie made from scratch, you simply haven’t lived.
Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies taste like a delectable pastry cookie from the finest bakery in town. They are pretty in nostalgic red velvet color and full of classic red velvet flavor. In addition, these cookies are tender with a light crumb that is contrasted with a super-thin soft and yet crackly sugar crust that forms during baking after rolling the dough in confectioners’ sugar. Once bitten into, these easy to make and slightly cake-like cookies take on an irresistible buttery and cheesecake-like texture, almost fudgy like a brownie, and then melt in your mouth. Seductive, I tell you!
WARNING: DO NOT eat the cookie dough or there will not be enough to bake cookies!
Seriously. As I have stated previously, you just might want to grab a spoon and sneak a trip over to the living room and camp out on the sofa and binge watch TV whilst cozying up with the mixing bowl full of this incredibly wicked cookie dough. It is a cookie dough like no other. You have been warned.
Why Are These Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies the Best Ever?
My friends, I worked on this recipe for Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies quite diligently starting back in January. In fact, recipe testing took more than a dozen attempts to complete this recipe as written due to the variations for gluten free as well as natural coloring for those who wish to avoid red dye no. 40 (Allura Red AC or FD&C Red 40) due to allergies or health concerns.
First, our recipe for Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies is made from scratch without a cake mix. The flavor profile of classic Red Velvet Cake shines through these scrumptious buttery cream cheese cookies and the natural coloring option using beet root juice powder and gel-based red food coloring is spot on for that iconic red velvet look.
Second, the flavor profile of our Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies cannot be beat. And I will share exactly why.
As part of my due diligence, I conducted research on existing recipes for Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies. What I found was that most recipes called for Red Velvet Cake Mix.
However, I did find two (2) recipes by food bloggers that were made from scratch and adapted from the cookbook, The Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook: Best-Ever Versions for Everything Red Velvet, with More than 50 Scrumptious Sweets and Treats, via these two (2) popular recipe pins at Pinterest:
For those two (2) recipes, here is the Ingredients List:
- 2¼ cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon red liquid food coloring
- ½ cup powdered sugar
Do you see any problems with the recipe ingredients shedding light as to why so many reader comments were actually complaints at the respective food bloggers’ sites due to the cookies having a total lack of flavor?
At first glance, these are the problems I could see:
- Not enough butter
- Not enough cocoa powder
- No brown sugar for added flavor
- Not enough salt
- No pure vanilla extract (at all, which is a shame)
- Too much artificial liquid food coloring yielding a poor flavor profile
With a mission to create the most flavorful from-scratch Natural Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies ever, I first set out to complete the recipe using all-natural food coloring with beet root juice powder and natural red gel-based food coloring. This was no simple task because once I settled on how much cocoa powder and pure vanilla extract to use, as well as brown sugar for added flavor, both the leavening and the acidity level had to be tinkered with.
Gooey Butter Cookies after rolling in confectioners’ sugar and just before baking.
Since the addition of brown sugar and added pure vanilla extract would make the cookies spread more during baking, and not emerge from the oven with the classic “puffed look” that Gooey Butter Cookies are known for, the flour and baking powder needed to be increased a bit from my original recipe.
In addition, when preparing the variation for Natural Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies using natural food coloring (see Recipe Notes for this variation), an increase in acidity for this recipe is essential because the baking soda in the baking powder neutralizes natural red food coloring—something we definitely do not want to happen when baking anything Red Velvet. Instead, we want to punch up the color. Since this recipe is for cookies and not cake, I could not use buttermilk, lemon juice or vinegar as when making Red Velvet Cake. Instead, the ingredient had to be a dry ingredient. Therefore, I went with what most bakers would have in their cupboard or pantry: cream of tartar.
Mmmm. Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies—made from scratch. Look, I saved you a bite!
After making several adjustments to the baking powder and cream of tartar, as well as the beet root juice powder and natural gel-based red food coloring, this recipe emerged as being spot on for both the classic red velvet color and flavor profile—whether natural or artificial (synthetic) food coloring was used. I was ecstatic!
Honest and truly, the gluten free variation of our Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies is phenomenally good. In fact, you simply cannot tell that they are gluten free! And there is an important reason why this is so. It all starts with the right gluten free flour blend—in this case, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour—and the perfect amount of guar gum. Yes, I prefer guar gum to xanthan gum for my gluten free baking for allergy reasons in addition to many other reasons. But, I will leave that for a future post on gluten free baking and ingredients.
King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
So, let’s briefly talk gluten free flour.
Why does Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommend King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour?
By blending white rice and whole-grain brown rice flours with pure starches, such as tapioca and potato, while avoiding corn, dairy, nut, sorghum (grass) and soy products as well as gums and leavening agents, gluten free bakers and both the food allergic and celiac communities have a safe and well-tested gluten free flour that performs exceedingly well on a multi-purpose level.
Quite simply, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend provides greater flexibility than other brands by allowing bakers and recipe developers to create recipes where the amounts of guar or xanthan gum and leavening agents, like baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar, can be added accordingly for a wide range of applications in baking recipes from breads, cakes and cookies to savory dishes.
The good news is that King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend, is readily available among gluten free flours at Whole Foods Market® and most grocery stores.
Plus, since I am severely allergic to corn and any corn-derived food additives, I am safe from allergic reactions using KAF GF flour. Sadly, I can no longer work with gluten free flour blends that contain cornstarch.
For my gluten free readers, all I can say is thank the Lord above that King Arthur Flour® makes an exceptional Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend and that Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese is gluten free or there would be no incredibly scrumptious Gluten-Free Gooey Butter Cookies and all the variations made from scratch!
Although I am enthusiastic about King Arthur Flour® products, I am not a compensated blogger, recipe developer or spokesperson for the company. I just love their products and catalog!
When The Big Lug sampled the gluten free version of these scrumptious cookies, he could not believe that they were gluten free. That is saying quite a lot because he is quite the cookie connoisseur!
Organic Powdered Sugar, 365 Everyday Value® brand by Whole Foods Market®.
As for the confectioners’ or powdered sugar called for in the recipe, I found a fabulous corn-free confectioners’ sugar. This is excellent news for those who are allergic to corn, a major food allergen, because most powdered sugars contain cornstarch. It is also convenient to keep on hand when I am short on time and don’t have on hand my own powdered sugar made from scratch, using a blender, with pure cane sugar and tapioca flour.
Here at Wicked Good Kitchen, we hope that our recipe for Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies becomes a new tradition for your family.
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!
Perfection! Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies at their finest from scratch. Buttery, light and tender, and sweetened just right. Pretty in red velvet color and full of red velvet flavor!
- 2¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon (about 280 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (21 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, leveled off & sifted
- 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon or 12 g) baking powder
- 1 (8 oz or 226 g) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated cane sugar
- ¾ cup (150 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) strong gel-based red food coloring
- ¾ teaspoon (about 4 g) fine-grain sea salt, or ¾ teaspoon regular table salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 73 g w/o shells)
- 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and baking powder until well blended. Set aside.
- Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until well blended, creamy and smooth. Beat in sugars, vanilla, red food coloring, and salt; mix until well combined, light and fluffy, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary. Add egg and egg yolk and beat in well until creamy and light, about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed.
- On low speed, gradually add flour mixture; mix until just fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky. Cover work bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Meanwhile, arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325ºF (165ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
- Measure enough dough to roll into generous 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls, using a 1 1/3-inch (3.3 cm) spring-loaded cookie scoop (or by measuring a generous tablespoon of dough with a measuring spoon) making sure each scoopful is in equal amounts. This is important for evenly baked cookies.
- Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball and then roll in confectioners’ sugar to lightly coat. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
- Bake in preheated oven until cookies have spread into round cookie shapes and are puffed and crackly, about 14 minutes. Do not overbake. The cookies will still be soft in the centers. If they start to brown around the edges, they have baked too long. The underside of the cookies should be only very lightly browned.
- Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. Then, carefully remove cookies from baking sheet using a thin metal cookie spatula and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cooled, transfer cookies to an airtight container. Repeat with remaining dough on prepared cookie sheets.
- If desired, chill the cookies in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Before serving, dust cookies with additional confectioners’ sugar. Serve cookies chilled or at room temperature.
- Yield: Makes about 2½ dozen cookies.
Only use completely cooled cookie sheets lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper before baking each batch.
Avoid crowding the cookies on baking sheets by spacing apart at least by 2 inches (5 cm).
These tender cookies taste fabulous when served either at room temperature or chilled from the fridge.
Cookies will keep for up to 1 week covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Total time above does not include time for refrigerating dough before baking.
How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 120 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
How to Measure King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: There is no need to aerate the flour. Simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 160 grams per 1 cup of gluten free flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
For Gluten-Free Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies: Substitute 2¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon (370 g) King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour and 1¼ teaspoons (3.5 g) guar gum, such as by Now Foods, for the regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in the recipe. Whisk together until well blended and then continue with recipe by whisking in the cocoa and baking powder.
For Natural Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies (made with natural food coloring): Simply add 2 tablespoons (12 g) organic beet juice powder and 2 teaspoons (9.6 g) cream of tartar to the dry ingredients; whisk until very thoroughly combined. Then, substitute 1 tablespoon (15 ml) gel-based red food coloring, kosher and natural such as CHEFMASTER®, for the artificial food coloring called for. Proceed with recipe as directed.
NOTE: Although just a minor inconvenience, Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies made with natural food coloring will develop what I call a “Cheeto effect” upon standing as the powdered sugar develops a light orange tint as the sugar absorbs the natural lycopene coloring from tomatoes and other vegetables used to make the natural food coloring.
Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommends selecting organic ingredients whenever possible.
For this recipe, and all our baking recipes calling for unbleached all-purpose flour, we highly recommend the pure and Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour by Hodgson Mill® because it is naturally white and contains no additives. We also highly recommend organic grass-fed butter, eggs, granulated cane sugar, brown sugar and confectioners’ sugar as well as raw unsweetened cocoa. We also highly recommend aluminum-free baking powder (such as 365 Everyday Value Aluminum-Free Baking Powder by Whole Foods Market®), Organic Valley® Cream Cheese, Nielsen-Massey® Organic Pure Vanilla Extract and Natural Gel-based Red Food Coloring by ChefMaster® found at Supply Village.
Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
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