It's that time of the year again. No, not the whole drinking a hot apple cider and laying in a pile of crispy orange leaves in the cool fall air fantasy ordeal. Midterms are here to ruin my life!!!
October is the best month, but it's one of those months that's always insaaaanely busy. I've got a lot on my plate at the moment: I'm trying to do the whole school thing without missing class (too) regularly, we're opening a new restaurant at work, I've officially succumbed to the pumpkin gods so I'm always baking lots of fall things, dragging myself to the gym at obscene hours due to said pumpkin things, and now I'm getting everything ready for a crazy exciting New York trip this weekend. As if my teachers didn't get the memo that my life is busy, now I have to find time to study? No thanks.
If someone were to ask me how I'm feeling about everything right now, I'd tell them that I'm feeling like that emoji of the girl that looks like her impending mental breakdown is just about to hit, but she is totally unable to react to it yet. (Siri just notified me that this is the "woman with downcast face" emoji. The more you know!) Is it sad that I've become this addicted to emojis that I've begun to think of my moods as emojis, and not in usual emotional terms? Please don't answer that.
When I'm stressed out, I do some pretty weird things in the name of relieving some tension. Right now, my therapy of choice is spending hours avoiding my problems in the aisles of Target or World Market or Michael's. I think it's something about all of the festive decorations and Halloween candy for purchase, but I find myself in this position multiple times a week. Generally, I peruse the baking aisles for an obnoxious period of time and take the time to examine every single item I could possibly waste my money on.
Last weekend, I found myself back in this routine, this time aimlessly searching through the aisles of my local Michael's. After convincing myself it was way too early to buy Christmas cupcake liners, I stumbled upon this Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion. I've used the LorAnn bakery emulsions in the past and they're pretty damn near excellent at penetrating anything you're baking with crazy amounts of flavor. I was interested in seeing what the red velvet variety would taste like, so I snagged it up with my coupon. (Craft stores seem to always have crazy coupons available, right?)
I've always dismissed red velvet as one of those flavors that everybody thinks is special, but really isn't. Call me a douchebag, but I was quite the flavor elitist before discovering how well junk food could translate into more refined desserts. Since then, I've been relearning everything I knew about flavor combinations and pushing myself to rediscover, mix and mash different flavors.
I've been super into red velvet recently. It all started a few weeks ago, when Sucre unveiled a red velvet macaron that rocked my world. Days later, I was eating one too many Sprinkles' red velvet cupcakes that I'm desperately searching to recreate for my personal pleasure. In the meantime, I've been testing out some recipes for reverse red velvet creations; cream cheese as the base, red velvet as the frosting. I wish I could say I was the first to do this, but I thought it was a pretty genius idea when it popped into my head.
Elizabeth already made a reverse red velvet cake, so I wanted to switch things up. Plus, I haven't been baking cookies lately, and cookies are my thing. The base of these cookies is adapted from my extra special sugar cookie recipe, but with extra cream cheese added to the base for proper reverse red velvet authenticity. These soft and chewy sugar cookies are then filled with red velvet frosting, double doozie style. This way, you can eat more cookies and feel like you've only eaten one! How's that for getting a bang for your buck? :-)
CREAM CHEESE SUGAR COOKIES
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- sanding sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the sugar, cream cheese, and melted butter in a large bowl and whisk. The mixture will form a smooth paste. Mix in the vegetable oil. Stir in the egg, cream, and vanilla. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Gently fold in the dry ingredients.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 15 minutes.
Scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll in sanding sugar. Place on baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely before icing with red velvet frosting.
RED VELVET FROSTING
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 tsp. white or cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion (optional)
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 cups confectioners' sugar
- red food coloring
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the milk, buttermilk, vinegar, and extracts. Gradually add the cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Add food coloring until desired color is achieved.