There’s a lot of folklore out there about the origins of red velvet cake. Some of the first published recipes were from the 1920s, with varying names, but chocolate cakes with a red hue were known as “red velvet cakes” by the 50s. They originate from Texas! Or maybe actually Indiana? Some insist that red velvet cake is a buttermilk cake with no chocolate. Or is it actually a chocolate cake with red food coloring? Are you supposed to use cream cheese frosting, or Ermine frosting? I even read once that the cake was invented by a food coloring door-to-door salesman as a way to boost sales.
All I know for sure is that red velvet cake is delicious. The classic red velvet cake that I’m familiar with is a milk chocolate cake, with buttermilk, a red hue, and cream cheese frosting. And these red velvet cookies are made with red velvet emulsion from LorAnn oils (that is red colored), cocoa powder, and are just as decadent as their namesake. Perfect for Valentine’s or Christmas, or for anyone who loves red velvet cake.
Are these technically shortbread or sugar cookies?
They’re kind of both. It’s fine to call these either “decorated sugar cookies” or “decorated shortbread cookies.” But I’m going to refer to any of my cookie recipes that can used as a base for cookie decorating as “shortbread sugar cookies.”
- 2 parts flour to 1 part fat
- No eggs
- No leavening agent
- Dense and crispy
- 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat
- Contains eggs
- Contains a leavening agent
- Light and Chewy
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes don’t rise or spread, can be used for cookie decorating, have egg, but no leavening agent, and have a 2 ¼ parts flour to 1 part fat. Which makes them fall somewhere between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. They’re both shortbread and sugar cookies, and neither shortbread or sugar cookies, at the same time. They’re Shrodinger’s cookies!
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes can be used for slice-and-bake cookies as well!
If you would like more info on my preferred ingredient brands, tips and tricks, FAQs, and a little cookie science, I cover all of that in my No-Spread Lemon Shortbread Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Red Velvet Shortbread Sugar Cookies
- measuring spoons and cups
- mixing bowls
- cling wrap
- cookie cutters
- large knife
- Whisk dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, and cocoa powder) together and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugars with paddle attachment, on medium-low speed, until fluffy and pale in color (about 5 minutes).
- Add egg, vanilla extract, red food coloring (if using), and emulsion and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the paddle with a spatula, and then continue to mix on low speed for another 30 seconds to ensure everything is fully incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients, all at once, and mix on low speed just until dough starts to come together and no dry bits remain. Do not overmix.
- Turn dough out onto cling wrap, tightly wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
- Knead, roll, cut out cookies, and return to fridge or freezer until firm. Leave a couple inches between cookies.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for another 1-5 minutes until edges are starting to darken in color.
- Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet before handling.
- The reason for adding 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to your dough is to prevent your cookies from shrinking or spreading during baking.
- If making slice-and-bake cookies, split dough in half, roll into logs, wrap tightly in cling wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate before slicing and baking.