Sugar cookies are always a popular choice, and are great for any occasion. These red velvet sugar cookies are fun and colourful. Their texture is soft and delicious, and they are also pretty MORE-ish! If you are looking for impressive Valentine’s cookies recipes, this one definitely fits the bill. Nobody can say no thanks to homemade red velvet cookies!
History of Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies are thought to have originated in the mid-18th century in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. German Protestant settlers came up with a new cookie recipe which they called the Nazareth cookie. These were round in shape, and had a buttery, crumbly texture.
The availability and popularity of this tasty treat increased when sugar started to become widely available. This is largely in part because they are so easy to make and don’t need a lot of ingredients. If you bake a lot, you probably have all the ingredients already.
In the late 1950s, Pillsbury started to sell refrigerated, pre-mixed sugar cookie dough, in the United States. This of course made the recipe even simpler for busy home bakers. All they had to do was roll it out, cut the cookie shapes and bake them!
Different Kinds of Sugar Cookies
The basic recipe for sugar cookies includes sugar (of course!) as well as flour, butter and eggs. Baking soda, baking powder and vanilla extract are popular additions to these Valentine’s cookies.
The recipe itself is a great base for these sweet treats, and there are many ways to change up the recipe. The shape is up to the baker, of course. When the German Protestants created the first sugar cookies, they made them in the shape of the state’s keystone emblem.
They can be made in festive shapes such as holly leaves or stars for Christmas. Some people like to sandwich two cookies together with buttercream frosting. This is a great idea, since you get two cookies instead of one!
This red velvet sugar cookies recipe is the one to choose for Valentine’s Day. The romantic red colour, unmistakeable red velvet flavour and heart shape of these cookies is perfect.
Whether you are looking for a recipe for your kids’ class party or baking up some dreamy confections for your beloved, these are ideal.
These parchment paper sheets are perfect for baking Christmas cookies! No sticking and (hopefully) no burning, plus easy clean up.
What is Red Velvet Anyway?
The term ‘red velvet’ doesn’t just apply to your romantic Valentine’s Day dress! In baking, it means a red-coloured, chocolate flavoured cake. This is the inspiration behind our red velvet sugar cookies.
The earliest recipes relied on non-Dutched cocoa which was rich in anthocyanin. This contributed the red colour without the need for food colouring. Later, beetroot and then red food colouring took over.
Red velvet cake is thought to have first been made in Maryland in the early 1900s. The word ‘velvet’ referred to the light texture. Most cake recipes at that time were coarser in texture.
During World War II, when rationing began, beet juice was used in some cake recipes. Probably in the Valentine’s cookies of that era too! Red velvet cake traditionally has a butter roux icing, but there are many frosting variations these days.
The cake was popular in Eaton’s department store’s bakeries and restaurants during the 1940s and 1950s in Canada. It was promoted as an Eaton-created recipe. Any employees who knew the recipe had to keep it to themselves – or else!
Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Recipe
Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
- Combine the butter, cream cheese, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Beat until a smooth consistency.
- Add in the egg yolk, vanilla, and food colouring. Mix again until combined.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa, and corn starch. Mix to combine and then add to the creamy mixture.
- Mix this until the dough creates a ball and comes away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add in a little more flour and continue mixing.
- Roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness evenly between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Remove the top parchment, and cut shapes with a medium sized heart cookie cutter.
- Transfer the heart cookie shapes to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes to cool on baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack. NOTE: if you roll out thinner, I would reduce to baking time.
- Cool overnight before frosting with royal icing. Details on decorating is below in the blog post.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Tips and Tricks for Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
Red velvet cookies are a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It is worth knowing some tips and tricks to ensure your red velvet sugar cookies come out like a dream.
First of all, when creaming the butter with the cream cheese and sugar, don’t over-mix them. There are other cookie recipes which do call for a vigorous amount of beating, but these Valentine’s cookies won’t give you such a good arm workout!
Mix only until the ingredients are combined. Too much mixing at this stage might make the cookies spread as they bake. This will result in the heart shapes not being very heart-like!
When mixing in the dry ingredients, again just mix until the dough is only just combined. Then it is time to roll them out and pop them in a hot oven. Remember the thicker you choose to make them and the larger your cookie cutter, the longer they will take to bake.
These cookies can be made a couple of days ahead. They will be fine in an airtight container. You can also make extra and freeze them. Why not make some in other shapes and freeze them for St Patrick’s Day or Easter? That would definitely be a time saver. All you need to do then is frost them!
Let your red velvet sugar cookies cool completely before you frost them. You can get creative with frosting colours. Consider romantic pastels or adding some sprinkles to make the red velvet cookies extra-fancy. Is your mouth watering yet?
Decorating Red Velvet Cookies
These Valentine’s cookies were decorated with royal icing and splattered gold lustre dust. While it looks fancy, it is actually a relatively easy way to decorate these red velvet cookies.
First off, head on over to this guide to making royal icing which I found VERY informative and easy to follow. There is information on troubleshooting, products to use and consistency needed for flooding.
Pipe a border around the perimeter of each cookie, making sure that there are no gaps in the icing.
Flood each cookie with the royal icing, making sure not to apply too much. Allow the cookies to dry completely, about 12 to 24 hours, depending on your climate.
Gold Lustre on Valentine’s Cookies
For the gold splatter you will need some gold lustre powder, a food-only paint brush, a small shot glass and some clear alcohol like vodka.
Mix together the gold dust or lustre dust with a few drops of clear alcohol to form a “paint”. Hold the paintbrush in one hand and dip it into the gold paint, then use your index finger of your free hand to flick the bristles over the cookies. Alternately, you can tap the paint brush handle on the counter and splatter the cookie. The paint will fall onto the cookies, creating a splatter pattern.
Allow the cookies to dry completely before packaging. These red velvet Valentine’s cookies will keep in an airtight container or sealed cellophane bags for up to 2 weeks.
A special thank you to my friend Krista at Krista’s Cookies for helping with this recipe.
Let me know if you try these Red Velvet Valentine cookies! They are always a hit. If you are looking for an impressive gluten free dessert, try out this Berry Almond Pavlova with Lemon Curd.
Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.