As you probably know, I love making cookies (and have a whole cookbook, 100 Cookies, dedicated to them), and while chocolate chip always has a number one spot in my heart, sugar cookies are right up there.
I spent quite a bit of time working on these cookies; I wanted a red velvet cookie with the cream cheese baked in, so I didn’t have to spend time waiting for cookies to cool and then frosting them. I originally had tried to make them with my pan-banging sugar cookies, but they never turned out quite right. So I moved on to sugar cookies, and I was thrilled when they turned out as I had imagined.
What does a Red Velvet Cookie Taste Like?
The cookie base is my favorite sugar cookie: soft with crispy edges. It’s vanilla and chocolate, with a hint of cocoa in them for a traditional red velvet taste, and the cream cheese swirl adds a nice creamy bite (as cream cheese frosting is typically used for red velvet cake), and tanginess to cut the sweetness.
Mint Cream Cheese Cookies
Since we are now officially in “holiday season”, I also came up with a green-mint version that’ll you find in the recipe card below, using the same swirl technique, and both cookies would look lovely on a holiday dessert platter.
Add 1 teaspoon mint extract (more or less, depending on your preference) along with the pure vanilla extract. Replace the red food coloring with green. I used Wilton’s Leaf Green gel-based food coloring, and was able to keep the cocoa powder in and still keep the cookie a vibrant green color. If you are using a liquid-based green food coloring, you will need to omit the cocoa powder, or your cookies will turn a brownish color.
Baking Cookies With A Half Sheet Pan
Over the last decade of making cookies, I’ve come to rely on Nordic Ware for almost all my baking pans; their half sheet pans are not only beautiful, but durable and well-made, and they always bake evenly. I have found cheaper-made pans just don’t hold up as well over time, buckling or warping, and my baked goods often suffer. I have never had that experience with my Naturals pans and they are a great life-time investment.
I love the Naturals® Bakeware collection, which is made of pure aluminum for superior heat conductivity and produces consistent evenly browned baked goods every time. I truly only have these sheet pans in my house for cookie baking, and have never been disappointed with them.
I also love Nordic Ware pans because they are a local company! Not only are these pans made in the USA, but they are also made right here in Minnesota. I have even been to the Nordic Ware factory to see how the pans were made (and I highly recommend going if you live in Minnesota or are here visiting).
They also make great gifts – they are truly the first company I turn to when buying kitchen items for friends with new houses or holiday gift giving.
More Sugar Cookie Recipes:
Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
Cream Cheese Swirl
- 6 oz [170 g] cream cheese at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon [364 g] all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup [2 sticks or 227 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups [350 g] granulated sugar, plus ½ cup [100 g] for rolling
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 tablespoon Dutch-process or Black cocoa powder
For the cream cheese swirl
- Combine the cream cheese and the sugar in a small bowl until smooth.
For the dough
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F [180C]. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 ¾ [350 g] of the granulated sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and the yolk and beat on low until combined. Add the vanilla, red food coloring, and cocoa powder, and mix again on low until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Place the remaining ½ cup [100 g] of sugar in a medium bowl.
- Place 1 teaspoon of cream cheese in the top of a 1 ½ oz cookie scoop and use the back of spoon to spread it slightly over the inside of the scoop. Fill the scoop with sugar cookie dough (see note below if you don’t have a cookie scoop) and drop the dough into the bowl of sugar. Gently roll the dough around (it may be a bit sticky) to cover, and place on one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the remaining cream cheese and dough, putting 8 cookies on each sheet pan.
- Bake one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set, the centers are puffed and starting to form cracks, 12 to 13 minutes. Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.