The red velvet white chocolate chip cookie taste tester, my sister who was staying at my apartment for a few days, is not a huge fan of sweets. In retrospect, probably not the best option for a cookie taste tester, but regardless, she made a good point -- the white chocolate was very, very sweet.
So when it came to baking these red velvet thumbprint cookies, I was hesitant to fill them with white chocolate, as the original recipe called for. My first thought was to fill them with cream cheese icing, but the NYC heat, transport issues, and lack of refrigeration at work made me a little cautious. Ultimately, I decided on a white chocolate cream cheese filling (similar to - and adapted slightly from - the icing on these cranberry white chocolate bars). I think the cream cheese broke some of the sweetness of the white chocolate, while the white chocolate stopped it from becoming a soupy mess. Plus, this way I got to impart some of the cream cheese flavor that I think needs to go with the red velvet. And what a good decision it was!! It was actually the best part of the cookie.
** I ended up not bringing these to the movie on the pier as they wouldn't survive the stacking. But they ended up being pretty tasty. Let them cool before eating them -- that's when the taste the best. **
Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 tsp red food coloring (I used my gel food coloring, so I cut it down to 3 tsp and they're very RED)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed about 2 minutes or until creamy.
Stir in egg, food coloring and vanilla until well blended.
On low speed, beat in flour, cocoa and salt until blended.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls (I used my trusty cookie scoop).
On cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart.
Press thumb into center of each cookie to make indentation, but do not press all the way to the cookie sheet (I used the bottom of a 1/4 tsp measuring spoon to make the crater in the center; I sprayed it with Pam at the beginning).
Bake 12 minutes or until set.
Cool 2 minutes; quickly remake indentations with end of wooden spoon, if necessary.
Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
Fill the craters in the cookie with the cream cheese-white chocolate filling (see below). You can use a ziplock bag with the corner cut off, or a piping bag with a decorative tip.
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
In the microwave, melt white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, in 30 second increments.
Be sure not to burn the chocolate.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until well-blended.
Gradually add melted white chocolate.
Beat until blended.