Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 Tbsp milk or buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla

2 tsp lemon juice

5 tsp red food coloring

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs 1 at a time, blending until combined after each addition. Mix in milk, vanilla bean paste, lemon juice and red food coloring. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in white chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or until firm enough to shape into balls.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour powdered sugar into a bowl. Remove dough from refrigerator, scoop dough out and with buttered hands, and shape into medium balls (about 2 1/2 Tbsp each). Roll cookie dough balls into powdered sugar and evenly coat. Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets and flatten slightly, then bake in preheated oven 13 – 14 minutes. Allow to rest on cookie sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

*If you want them a little more chocolate you can replace 2 – 3 Tbsp of the flour with 2 – 3 additional Tbsp of cocoa powder.

Linzer Cookies for Valentines Day

Linzer Valentine Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

8 oz strawberry or raspberry jam, seedless if preferred (preferably freezer jam)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder, set aside. In a food processor, pulse almonds with brown sugar until finely ground, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter and powdered sugar on low speed until combined, then increase to medium-high and whip until creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in egg, and then blend in vanilla and almond extract. Mix in almond mixture, then with mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Form mixture into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, then flatten into a 6-inch round disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust work surface with flour, cut disk in half and then evenly roll out each portion into 1/8 to 1/6-inch thickness. Cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter, then using a smaller heart shape cookie cutter, cut smaller hearts into the centers of half of the hearts. Carefully transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets (you can run a sharp knife or pastry scraper under cookies to help lift them if needed. Also, chill dough that’s not currently being rolled or baked, the hearts hold their shape better when cold), spacing cookies 1-inch apart. Bake in preheated oven 10 – 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread strawberry jam over whole hearts, dust cookies with heart cut centers with powdered sugar then place those cookies over tops. Store in an airtight container.

Meringue Hearts

meringuehearts

Ingredients

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup superfine white sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Strawberry Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

1/2 cup lightly sweetened strawberry puree (can use strawberry or raspberry jam)

Fresh Berries

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and place racks in upper and lower third of your oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using a 4 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter as your guide, draw 6 hearts (12 total) on each piece of parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks.  Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks.  (The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty.  If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.)  Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip.

Place a small spot of meringue at each corner of the pan to attach the parchment paper to the baking sheets.  Pipe the meringue within the perimeters of the 12 heart shapes you have drawn on the parchment paper.  Smooth with an offset spatula.

Bake in preheated oven for about 60 to 70 minutes, alternating the baking sheets, top to bottom and front to back, about halfway through baking. (The time does depend on how humid or dry a day it is.)  The meringues are done when they release easily from the parchment paper. When the meringues are baked, turn off the oven, open the oven door slightly, and leave the meringues in the turned off oven for about another half hour.

For the strawberry whipped cream:  In a large mixing bowl combine the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar.  Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Then add the sweetened strawberry puree, a little at a time, beating just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Taste and fold in more sugar or puree, if needed.

To assemble dessert:  With a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe, or else spoon the whipped cream on top of the meringues and serve with berries and extra strawberry puree, if desired.

Red Velvet Cup Cakes

red-velvet-cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoons regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups granulated white sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring

1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

2/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 – 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting. Either spread the frosting with a knife or offset spatula, or use a large 1M Wilton open star decorating tip to pipe the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.