Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies may look like the perfect Christmas or Valentine’s Day cookie recipe, but I beg you to consider baking these festive red little lovelies from Life is What You Bake It by Vallery Lomas all year round. As always, skip to the recipe using the Table of Contents below or enjoy my blathering.
Have you ever had a nonstop good weekend, yet you didn’t have any big to-do?
You didn’t have a gaggle of pals over, and you didn’t go to a concert in the city or dine at some fancy restaurant. But, when someone asked, “How was your weekend?” You replied, “Great!” without being able to pinpoint a specific reason.
- Homemade Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
- Life Is What You Bake It Cookbook by Vallery Lomas Review
- Inside the Life Is What You Bake It Cookbook by The Great American Baking Show Contestant
- Let's Talk About Cream Cheese Frosting
- Why You Should Make This Cookie Recipe
- Baking Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
- Recipe for Vallery Lomas' Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
- Homemade Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Bake Homemade Cookies with Vallery Lomas
- Cookbooks by Vallery Lomas
Homemade Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
This past weekend, however, had a whole line-up of reasons: the hilarity at the grocery store and “lemons on a pear” sung to the tune of “Livin’ on a Prayer” by New Jersey native Bon Jovi. He’s big in PA. Since I’m working on assimilating into the PA crowd, apparently grocery store fanfare is where it’s at.
It’s also movie watching with a gaggle of kids and pizza (and chocolate cake, because why not?) and hitting a couple of shops nearby with your friend and a kid (and still more laughs) or starting to write this article while your talented friend plays the guitar (like a boss, I might add) that also manages to include more laughter (and zero kids).
Pre-divorce, you weren’t quite so used to daily life things being easy or nonstop enjoyable. Not ever. You always waited for the other shoe to drop and for something to go wrong (because it did). Okay, part of you still does (it’s habit).
But look at you now! Much like your new life, every single day is hopeful and fun in its normalcy. Routine daily life can still be good. What better way to mark the joy of normal than with these cookies. Plus, the cookbook where you’ll find these darlings contains excellent recipes, stories, and inspiration (it says so on the cover in the subheading, but it’s definitely spot-on).
Life Is What You Bake It Cookbook by Vallery Lomas Review
I’ve moved three times this past year with cats and kids. It was about as fun as it sounds. But, finally, with the help of a fantastic team (I can’t recommend these women highly enough), Pennsylvania real estate agent (Kathy Lomonaco) and mortgage loan officer Susie Gardner (who can handle financing for many states), I purchased an adorable house in a small Pennsylvania town less than an hour outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
After the unpacking (and a recovery period from the unpacking) plus a little painting, my sons and I headed to the town library. You’d think we were headed to Disney World or the moon, based on how excited we were. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a town and a library that thrilled our moving weary soul. We popped in, signed up for library cards, and (without a word) immediately branched off into different directions.
The cookbook selection at my last library would fall under the category of “piddly,” at best. A couple of shelves, not sections, mind you, but a couple of shelves of cooking and baking books. I checked out the three books or so I didn’t own, and that was that. The rest of the books weren’t my thing (either diet-specific or too convenience foods heavy for my tastes).
But here? It’s been wonderful. The Life is What You Bake It book caught my eye as I rummaged around the new books shelf. Could any title be more fitting? How could I not snap up a copy of this classy cookbook?
Inside the Life Is What You Bake It Cookbook by The Great American Baking Show Contestant
If you’re a fan of clean copy and a tidy layout, you’ll gleefully page-turn. This book is going on my “must own” list. Yes, I admit the list of cookbooks I own is lengthy, but I’m choosy, so this is high praise. At 287 pages, the 7.69 x 1.06 x 10.26-inch cookbook is hefty.
Chapters include: Morning Treats; En France; Cookies and Bars; Cobblers, Pies, and Tarts; Cakes; Bread; and Doughnuts and Other Fried Things. Every recipe (and there are more than 100 of them) is accompanied by a lovely picture. Each chapter divider also features a selection of baked goods too. Quite simply, it’s a beautiful cookbook.
Cookbook readers, listen up. Here’s a great one for you. Vallery Lomas’ cookbook will make you laugh, make you feel like you should get baking, and also make you feel for this woman and the unfortunate twists and turns she experienced.
After all, it isn’t every lawyer who wins a show like the Great American Baking Show, has to keep it a secret for five months, then when it barely starts to air, discovers the show is canceled, and no one will ever see the victory win.
Your potentially life-changing moment … just gone.
Can you imagine the disappointment? The disbelief? The grief? The rage?
Luckily, Vallery Lomas knew a little something about marketing, and worked the loss to her advantage. Thank goodness or we may not have ever had the pleasure of reading Vallery’s delightful words in print or baking her excellent recipes.
Let’s Talk About Cream Cheese Frosting
I feel like you should know that I’m not a cream cheese fanatic. Seriously, I use softened butter on banana bread. Cream cheese is meant for bagels, carrot cake, Chicken Elizabeth, and assorted dips (I do love dips, and I don’t just mean my children). That’s about it. So, don’t feel like you need to be a big cream cheese enthusiast to enjoy these cookies.
You could easily swap out a basic vanilla buttercream frosting recipe for the cream cheese frosting. You absolutely could. It would be easy and taste great. But, I do think the slightly sour tang of the cream cheese in combination with the cookies is pretty freakin’ amazing. So there’s that.
Vallery lists the recipe for her Cream Cheese Frosting alongside her recipe for Granny’s Million Dollar Cake on page 187. It makes enough to frost a cake! You don’t need all of that for these cookies. If you don’t have a use for a bunch of Cream Cheese Frosting, use my recipe tweaks below for the 1/4 amount. I still had a smidgen remaining and used them to frost homemade pop tarts. I consider that the Ultimate Win.
Why You Should Make This Cookie Recipe
These are sneaky good cookies. It’s that kind of good where you don’t realize how much you like them … until you are half a dozen cookies in. That holds for my sons too.
I didn’t think these cookies were a big hit in my house. I didn’t. After talking about baking them, I (almost half-heartedly) handed a few off to a friend. He declared them good. But the man has eaten pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies for years, so I wasn’t sure I could trust his cookie judgement.
The next day, I reached for a cookie … and there were barely a handful left. Yes, my sons DID apparently enjoy the red velvet cookies immensely. The punks. I’m both glad and sad by the fact.
Baking Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies are simple. Yet, they look so fancy, you should include them on your holiday cookie tray or as a sweet end to your Valentine’s Day dinner. Absolutely. 100%.
I lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper. If you’ve been around for a while, you remember that I had a fancy pants kitchen with double ovens. Now? It’s an apartment-sized oven in my house. *sad panda* While I see the humor in such a thing, it’s not funny that my glorious King Arthur Baking Company baking sheet doesn’t fit. What a bummer. I need a half-sheet (it’s on the list).
But, my dippy appliance situation should help encourage anyone with less than ideal appliances or cookie baking accessories to dive in anyway.
As with all cookies, resist the urge to bake these cookies longer than necessary. These eye-catching cookies were done baking at 11 minutes. I’d check at 9 minutes, then 11 minutes, and see how yours look. If you overbake the thumbprint cookies, they will end up hard after they cool. Look to see if they appear set, you should smell them, and will notice light browning underneath.
I admit I grabbed my larger 1 1/2 Tablespoon cookie scoop at first. After dishing out a bunch of dough, I realized my error. Stick with the 1 1/2 Tablespoon size. Anything larger and you’ll get five cookies out of the batch. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but it will make a pitiful amount. You don’t want that.
The frosting to cookie ratio is on point with the smaller size. Vallery recommends using the knuckle of your index finger or the end of a wooden spoon to make the shallow dip in each cookie. The spoon trick did nothing but color my wooden spoon.
I grabbed an icing bag and tip 2D to fill in these thumbprints (knuckle prints, really). It took no time at all to do and upped the “wow” factor. If I can do it, you can too.
Recipe for Vallery Lomas’ Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
Homemade Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Cookie Ingredients
- 1 1/4 Cups Flour 150 Grams
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt Note: I used 3/4 teaspoon table salt because upping the salt makes cookies better. I stuck with table salt for kicks.
- 3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 15 Grams (I used Ghiradelli Baking Cocoa)
- 1/2 Cup Butter Softened – 113 Grams
- 3/4 Cup Sugar 150 Grams
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 teaspoon Red Food Coloring Optional
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (this is 1/4 of Vallery's recipe)
- 1/4 Package Cream Cheese Room Temperature
- 1/8 Tablespoon Butter Softened
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar Whisked, if it's clumpy
- 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Make Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies
- 325* oven.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. Don't use a spray grease or your cookies may spread.
- Whisk together your dry ingredients.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy, roughly two minutes.
- Add the Egg, Food Coloring, and Vanilla Extract. Beat until combined (roughly one minute), scraping the bottom of the bowl and the sides as required.
- Add in the flour mixture. DO NOT OVERMIX. Stop mixing when you see a few streaks of flour and mix the rest by hand.
- Scoop out 1 teaspoon, either forming balls with your hands (which is stupid time consuming) or save yourself the hassle and get a cookie dough scoop. Set the balls 2" apart.
- Lightly press your index finger's knuckle into the soft cookie dough ball. Don't press all the way down. All you are doing is creating a shallow well for frosting.
- Bake from 9 to 12 minutes or until you can smell the cookies, they look "set," and the bottoms are lightly browned.
- Set cookies to cool on a wire rack away from your heat source (if you do not use a wire rack, your cookies will keep baking, and will take longer to cool down). After 5 minutes, lightly press your knuckle into the cookies again. DO NOT do like I do and decide to press down shortly after you remove the cookies from the oven. It's HOT. Oops.
- Cool completely before you spoon in or pipe on the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine Cream Cheese, Vanilla, and Butter in a bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Gradually add powdered sugar (if you dump in the powdered sugar all at once, you risk a powdered sugar explosion. Wanna know how I know that?).
- Beat until fluffy. Use a 1M tip (or another tip of your choosing) to fill the shallow well in your cookies or use two spoons to kind of place the frosting in there.
Bake Homemade Cookies with Vallery Lomas
When you wake up the next morning humming “Lemons on a pear,” you know you had a good time. This recipe for Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies can be the extra dollop of wonderful on an already excellent day.