After nearly two weeks in the vacation bliss that is Maui, I have been slower to get back to the kitchen than I expected. First I had to catch up at work, laundry and restock the kitchen with groceries. I was craving fresh, simple recipes so that is exactly what I made, many of which I have already featured here…so not exactly post material.
At the grocery store, I picked up Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies for a little treat and know immediately the next recipe I was going to tackle. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so my favorite kind of cookie is buttery with just a hint of sweetness and melts in the mouth. The grocery store version wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I wanted to achieve.
Shortbread cookies are one of the easiest cookies to make. Butter, sugar, flour, mix press and bake and you have cookies! It doesn’t get much easier than that. The key ingredient to a great shortbread cookie is simply the quality of the butter. My personal favorite is Kerrygold Irish Butter, and yes, I use salted butter. Many bakers, will take me to task for not using unsalted butter and then adding the salt, but I just prefer salted butter.
The other great thing about shortbread is that the recipe is as Michael Ruhlman would say, more of a ratio. 1 part sugar to 2 parts butter to 3 parts flour. 1-2-3! This simple little ratio still gives you many options, such as the type of flour, sugar and any flavoring additions of your choice. For these cookies, I needed to added unsweetened chocolate powder and red food coloring to achieve the “Red Velvet” effect.
When using a ratio, I like to measure by weight, preferably in metric because it is easier to calculate. I began by weighing the butter which is the “2” in the ratio and it weighed 230 grams, which meant that I needed 115 grams of sugar and 345 grams of flour/chocolate. I added only 1 teaspoon of the red food coloring because I am not a huge fan of using excessive amounts of food coloring so my cookies have a “red tone” but aren’t as red as you might expect for red velvet. Feel free to increase the amount of food coloring to achieve the desired color.
Finally, these cookies would look terrific dipped in white or dark chocolate, filled with a sweetened cream cheese and sandwiched together… You get the idea, the options are endless. But for me, I like them in all their homely glory, just the way they are.
Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies
- 115 grams powdered sugar
- 230 grams good quality butter, such as Kerrygold Irish Butter
- 30 grams good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- 315 grams cake flour (use all purpose if that is all you have – you may need to add a tablespoon of water)
- 1 teaspoon red food coloring
- Preheat oven to 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until well incorporated. Add red food coloring and mix until well distributed.
- Sift cocoa powder and flour and add to mixing bowl with mixer turned off. Turn mixer on lowest speed to avoid flour flying out of bowl and mix just until combined.
- Turn dough out onto a large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with cocoa powder. Press out with your fingers and then roll out to approximately 1/4″ thickness. Cut into desired shapes.
- Transfer to prepared cookie sheets and bake for approximately 8 minutes. Let cook on baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.