Peeps, my recipe for air fryer Basque cheesecake, for the Washington Post, is available here.
If you are fond of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, and we’re really hoping you are, these cream cheese (frosting) stuffed red velvet cookies have your name written all over them. They are chewy, a little chocolatey, kind of fudgy, and the prettiest shade of red in the land, with just the right amount of sparkle. The filling is lightly sweetened, soft, and tangy (aka the cookie’s perfect foil) and the whole delicious (and, yes, festive) package could not be easier to assemble. The filling takes a minute or two to combine and portion; and the cookie dough comes together in a single bowl with a whisk and a spatula (you’re welcome). To achieve the cooled melted butter that the recipe calls for, stop melting the butter when you still see visible butter chunks and whisk them in by hand. And if the tablespoon of food coloring gives you pause, reduce it: the color will be less vibrant, but the cookie equally as tasty. Finally, we like baking one sheet of these cuties at a time, but if you lean impatient, place your racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and change the positions of the sheets halfway through the baking time.
Sparkly Cream Cheese Stuffed Red Velvet Cookies
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 6 ounces full-fat cream cheese room temperature
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
COOKIES AND ASSEMBLY
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg cold
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp red food coloring
- Red sanding sugar for rolling
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- Stir all of the ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until smooth. Divide into 18 portions, about 2 rounded teaspoons each, place on a dinner plate, and freeze while you make the cookie dough.
COOKIES AND ASSEMBLY
- Whisk the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth and glossy, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Sprinkle the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl, one at a time, vigorously whisking after each. Fold in the flour with a flexible spatula just until a few streaks remain. Add the food coloring and fold until the flour disappears and the food coloring is evenly distributed.
- Divide the dough into 36 portions, about 1 tablespoon each, roll each into a ball, and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten each ball with your fingers into a 2-inch disc: the dough will be a little soft and a little sticky, but is very cooperative, so don’t worry.
- Pour the red sanding sugar into a small shallow bowl. Remove the cream cheese from the freezer and roll each portion into a ball. Place a cream cheese ball onto one of the cookie dough discs, cover with another disc, and pinch the edges of the two discs together until the cream cheese is completely covered.
- Roll in your hands until perfectly round, and return to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cream cheese and cookie dough. Roll each stuffed ball in the sanding sugar, placing each sugared ball back on the prepared sheet. If you would like your cookies to bake up perfectly flat, lightly press the balls with the bottom of a glass until they are about 2-inches wide. Place the sheet in the freezer for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Evenly place 9 frozen balls on another parchment lined baking sheet and bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 14 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until the cookies are domed and dry to the touch. Let the cookies cool on their baking sheets. As the cookies cool, they collapse in the most delightful of ways.
I am a thick and chewy sugar cookie peep, as opposed to a thin and crispy one; and on the off chance you are too – YAY: pretty sure you are going to be into these other-worldly, deeply vanilla-flavored cuties. And I know, I know: shortening AND corn syrup in a single recipe?? But before you get your knickers in a twist, there’s a good reason for the inclusion of both – corn syrup contributes to the cookies’ chewiness and shortening helps them keep their shape without a long rest in the fridge so . . . you’re welcome. But if shortening makes you cray, substitute with vegetable oil and chill your cookie dough until quite firm and cold pre-bake, at least two hours.
Dreamy “Thicc” and Chewy Sugar Cookies
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening 65 g
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 113 g
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus ½ cup (100 g) for rolling the cookies in and for sprinkling post-bake 200 g
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup 110 g
- 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg cold
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 358 g
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk the shortening into the warm melted butter in a large bowl until the shortening melts (if there are still a few little solid bits of shortening, don’t worry). Whisk in 1 cup (200 g) of the sugar, the corn syrup, and vanilla, and then the egg. Sprinkle the baking soda and the salt into the bowl, one at a time, vigorously whisking after each. Gently fold in the flour with a flexible spatula until the last streak disappears. Don’t overmix.
- Place the remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar in a small shallow bowl. Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, or measuring spoons, portion out 12 cookies per sheet. Roll each one into a ball in your hands and then roll in the sugar to coat. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans at the halfway point and switching their location in the oven, from one shelf to the other, until the cookies are puffy, look dry and are just beginning to slightly brown around the edges.
- Once removed from the oven, gently press the cookies with a spatula to flatten them and sprinkle each one with additional sugar. Eat warm (it’s what all the cool kids do) or at room temperature. The cookies will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.
Peeps! Check out my recipe for instant pot peanut butter cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust over on Food52!