Anything calling itself “red velvet” needs to be (1) red, and (2) chocolate-ty. The chocolate part is easy, but getting that ludicrously bright shade of crimson takes a lot of red food dye. Cake recipes can call up to 3 or more teaspoons of colouring for a strong red. And it always makes me slightly nervous to add so much artificial colouring.
So why not go the route of natural food dyes? I think you’d conventionally use beetroot juice to turn your chocolate confection red, but I think that adds little to the flavour. So why not raspberries? Raspberries and chocolate are one of those food pairings that you just don’t have to think about. They just go together.
So these cakey, moist, soft red velvet cookies are both coloured and flavoured by a raspberry puree. You won’t immediately taste raspberries because chocolate in itself is such a strong flavour, but the acidity of the raspberries does offset the sweetness nicely, and as a bonus, you will get a floral berry note at the end of each bite.
Here’s a note to manage your expectations: it’s rare for natural food colouring to be as potent as their commercial counterparts. For the raspberries, don’t expect a super bright red hue in these cookies. (You’re after all trying to turn brown to red.) To get that, you will still have to add some red food colouring, but definitely much less than without the raspberries. The other way is to concentrate the raspberry puree. Simply double the amount of raspberries used, make your puree, and bring it to a boil until it reduces by half.
- 1 punnet (170g) fresh raspberries
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g soft brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 40g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp red food colouring (opt.)
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Line your sheet trays with baking paper.
Step 2: To make the raspberry puree, simply mash the raspberries in a sieve over a bowl.
You should get about a 1/4 cup of puree.
Step 3: Cream the butter, sugars and salt together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Sift in the cocoa powder and mix in. Then add in your raspberry puree and combine everything together. At this point you can see if you’re satisfied with the red colour. I wasn’t, so I added about 1 tsp of red food colouring gel.
Step 4: Sift in the flour and baking soda, and mix everything to get a soft dough. Dish out tablespoon-sized dough balls onto your sheet tray about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 12 minutes. The cookies will be very soft just out of the oven, so leave them to cool completely and they’ll firm up.
There are many things you can do to jazz up this cookie. White chocolate chips will look fantastic in them. Or you could add toasted chopped nuts for a great contrast in texture. And yes, cream cheese icing if you can be bothered to!