The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gig’em (Red Velvet) Cookies

Now that football season is in full swing, I thought I'd share one of my favorite cookie recipes.    I found my base recipe years ago in a book called Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke.  She called them Red Velvet Cookies, but I like my name better.  (Hee, hee...just a little tribute to my Fightin' Texas Aggies!)

I love her books because they're fun little mysteries with lots of recipes included.  They are based in Lake Eden, MN and center around Hannah Swensen, the main character, who is a baker and owner of The Cookie Jar.  If you've never read one, you should!

Anyway, I was intrigued by this recipe, and had to try it out.  Of course, I made a few minor adjustments to the original recipe, but it was so good (and easy) that I've made it lots of times since.  Besides with that beautiful Texas Aggie color, it's a sure hit with my family and me!

Gig’em (Red Velvet) Cookies

2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened at room temperature - (NOT melted)
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I like to use Whey Low® Gold)
1/3 cup sugar (or your favorite sugar substitute)
1 large egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 Tablespoon red food coloring (you can use a little less or a little more, depending on how deep you want your red color to be)
3/4 cup fat free sour cream (you can use regular sour cream or plain Greek yogurt if you prefer)
1 (6 oz.) pkg. (1 cup) miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips (the original recipe calls for regular chocolate chips, but I prefer the miniature ones)

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  (If you don’t have any parchment paper, don’t worry about it …just be sure to grease your cookie sheet, or spray it with non-stick cooking spray.)
Unwrap and separate the squares of chocolate, and put them into a small microwave-safe measuring cup.  (You can use a bowl, but since the measuring cup has a handle, it’s much easier to remove from the microwave when it’s hot!)  Melt the chocolate squares for 90 seconds on HIGH, then stir them until smooth and set them aside to cool.
Whisk together flours, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars.  Beat at medium speed until smooth, then add the egg, and continue mixing until the batter is smooth again.  Add the red food coloring and mix until it is even distributed and not streaky (30 seconds or so).
Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl.  Add the melted chocolate and mix again for another minute on medium speed.
Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl again.  At low speed (to prevent a flour blizzard in your kitchen!), mix in about half of the flour mixture (about 1 cup).  When the flour is mixed in, add about half of the sour cream, and mix well.
Scrape down the bowl again and add the remaining flour mixture.  Beat until the flour is fully incorporated, then add in the rest of the sour cream.  Mix just until combined.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix in the chocolate chips by hand.  (I use a firm rubber spatula for this.)
Use a small cookie scoop or teaspoon to spoon the dough onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets.  (At this point the dough can be a bit sticky.  If you have trouble working with it, just put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before scooping out your cookies.)  Bake the cookies at 375°F, for about 9 to 11 minutes (depending on your oven), or until they rise and become firm.  (If you like them more "cakey" take them out on the early end.  The longer you cook them, the more they'll dry out and become eventually become crisp.  They're good either way, but somewhere in the middle is my favorite.)
Slide the parchment from the cookie sheets and onto a wire rack (if you aren’t using parchment paper, let the cookies cool for about 2 minutes or so before removing from the pan to wire racks to cool).
Once all the cookies are cool, you can remove them from the parchment paper and put them on waxed paper for frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened to room temperature (again, be sure to soften, but not MELT your butter)
4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese (or regular cream cheese), softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 2 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar

Using a hand mixer, mix the softened butter with the softened cream cheese and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.  (I’ve also done this in my food processor - which makes it very quick and easy.)  Add the powdered sugar (a little at a time) until the frosting is consistency you want for spreading.

These make delicious gifts too.  I have yet to find someone who could eat just one!

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Oh...and BTHO outta Ole Miss this weekend Aggies!!

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