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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Red velvet white chocolate chip cookies

My friend L's birthday is coming up and she has chosen a movie on the pier to celebrate.  We're going to picnic with some treats and wine, and I figured that since we're celebrating L's birthday and that L loves red velvet, her birthday movie treats would be red velvet.

But again - as is pretty much customary in my life - I will be running to the movie straight from work, and that means whatever treats I make will have to first travel from my apartment to work (in Brooklyn) and the back to Manhattan for the movie.  Therefore, ease of transport was a must.  A cake was out.  Cupcakes, too (partially because I didn't want to have to squeeze my way onto the subway with a giant tray of cupcakes, and partially because I made them in a mini for L's 30th birthday party last year).  But cookies?  Those seemed doable.  And transportable.  And, knowing me, why stop at one kind?!  So I set out to make two different types of red velvet cookies.

First up are the red velvet white chocolate chip cookies.   Not too far off from a hybrid of the chewy dark chocolate chip cookies I made last summer (and brought to a movie in the park...for L's birthday) and the dried cranberry white chocolate chip cookies I made earlier in the month (they both use corn starch).

Red velvet became hugely popular a few years ago.  I'm unsure if its the novelty (at least at that time it was a novelty) or simply the fact that they're red (a conversation I had last week, in which B questioned whether an adult would ever admit that they like something simply because it's red).  They're flavor is interesting, with a little -- but not too much -- cocoa, and typically some apple cider vinegar in the batter, too.  But regardless of my opinion and questions regarding red velvet, some people absolutely adore it.  L is one of those people. 

So I started with the red velvet white chocolate chip cookies.  A ruby-hued, mildly chocolately cookie speckled with white chocolate chips.  Why white chocolate?  Well anyone who knows knows that red velvet cake/cupcakes should be topped with cream cheese frosting, and I think aesthetically the white chips mimic the white icing.   (That may be a little deep for a cookie blog post?  Maybe?)

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies
With some slight adaptations from the original by yours truly

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp distilled white vinegar - I used cider vinegar.  Why?  Because that's what I always use when I make red velvet cupcakes....and it's what I had on hand
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring (I had a little snafu - my twist off top on my gel food color wasn't on tightly, and it started oozing out of the bottle....I was aiming for 1 tsp of the gel color because it's so rich, but I think I ended up with closer to the 1 and a half teaspoons)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips, divided (for the first batch of cookies, I divided the chips as the original recipe called for, and then pushed a few into the tops of the cookies before baking.  They turned brown and, in my opinion, not that pretty.  So I mixed them all in and then baked them.  Much easier.  So I don't recommend dividing the chips)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (mine was in the dishwasher, so I used a good old hand mixer), whip together butter, sugar and vinegar until pale and fluffy, about 3 - 4 minutes.
Mix in egg.
Add in vanilla and red food coloring and mix until blended.
With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combine.
Mix in white chocolate chips (the original author said: I mixed in half of the white chocolate chips then set aside the other half to press into the tops of the rolled dough balls so more of them show through when baking...but she noticed that another baker just pressed some extra white chocolate chips into the tops of cookies AFTER baking, genius!).
Scoop dough out by the heaping tablespoonfuls (or use your handy dandy small cookie scooper, which I did) and shape into balls. If using a scooper, flatten the tops a little before baking, otherwise some cookies may look a little domed.
Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake in preheated oven 9 - 11 minutes (mine were smaller and baked for 7-8 minutes).
Allow to cool on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Store cookies in an airtight container.

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