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Red Velvet really just means adding red food coloring right? Not Exactly. Red velvet is a unique flavor all it’s own, and the rich, red color is a great bonus. Back in the 1800’s, cakes were referred to as “Velvet” when they utilized luxurious (at the time) cocoa powder. According to Sunflower baking company, “A chemical reaction between the cocoa and acid give the cake it's red color. Natural cocoa has a lot of acidities and works well with the baking soda and buttermilk”

That hint of cocoa powder and the striking color (that we now achieve with food coloring) is what makes red velvet cakes and cookies so special.


To create this recipe, I had to refer back to an old family recipe. My great grandmother, Mamaw’s Eva’s red velvet cake was actually the first thing I ever baked on my own in my mama’s kitchen. I remember the first time I tried red velvet cake at a family get together at Mamaw Eva’s house. It was one of those old fashioned recipes with the runny coconut icing that seeps into the cake like a sweet sponge. I think I ended up having two pieces! I told Mamaw Eva how much I loved it, and she offered to write down the recipe for me. I stood with her in her kitchen as she listed the ingredients and the instructions in beautiful cursive hand-writing.

Red Velvet cake was the only thing I could confidently make on my own for awhile, and it became my go-to dish when friends came over and when we went to church dinners. So, naturally when I wanted to create a new cookie recipe, red velvet was the first flavor that came to mind.



To make this recipe, start with two sticks of softened unsalted butter (don’t stress about it if it’s salted, just leave the salt out of the recipe like I did in the video). You want your butter to be softened to the point that you can press it with your finger and it will leave an imprint. It also won’t be cold when you touch it. It should be room temperature.


Add the butter along with a cup of granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. I love my KitchenAid, but any stand or hand mixer will do the job. I use the paddle attachment with the silicone scrapers on either side which you can find here on amazon. It makes quick work of creaming butter and sugar together.


Cream the butter and sugar for a minimum of 3-4 minutes or until the butter turns from light yellow to a fluffy, airy cream color and it all kind of looks like a cloud. This will create the most pillowy, soft cookies.

I like to be efficient and start sifting the dry ingredients together while the butter and sugar is creaming in the mixer, so in a hand-held sifter, I combine 4 cups of all purpose flour, ⅓ cup of corn starch (which helps avoid spreading), 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and ¼ tsp salt. Be sure to fluff the flour with a butter knife or fork before measuring to get a more accurate measure. I also like to level the top of the measuring cup with the back of the butter knife. I sift all that into a seperate bowl and give it a little whisk which will help make sure it’s all combined before going into the mixer later. Set that over to the side, and we will come back to it shortly.


Once the butter and sugar are creamed together, add a tablespoon or two (depending on how intense you’d like the color to be) of red food coloring. I love the Americolor Very Red which you can find here on Amazon. The gel color allows you to achieve an intense red without the dough becoming bitter or changing the consistency of the dough by adding tons of food coloring.


Combine the creamed butter and sugar with the food coloring then add two large eggs, one at a time allowing each to incorporate fully. I like to crack eggs into a separate bowl first just to watch for bad eggs. You may have to turn the mixer up to a higher level to get the eggs fully incorporated. The mixture should be totally homogeneous and have no pieces of any individual ingredient visible.


After it’s all combined add a generous pour of good vanilla extract. If you’ve been around me any length of time, you know I pour vanilla with my heart rather than a measuring spoon.


Now, grab that bowl of dry ingredients that we mixed up earlier. I like to start my adding just a couple of cups to the mixer and mixing on low until it’s pretty much mixed in. Then, I gradually add a little more at a time, mixing on low until it’s all combined. You may have to raise the mixer up to a medium/high speed toward the end to get it all mixed in. The dough should be fairly thick and clumping together in the end.


I grab about half the dough and turn it out onto a floured counter or one with a silpat mat. In the video, I didn’t use parchment but I was wishing I had! For a neater rolling process than I had, place a sheet of parchment over the dough before rolling, and flip that rolled sheet of dough onto a baking sheet to place into the freezer. Repeat with the other half of the dough. I like to freeze rolled sheets of dough for about 15-20 minutes before cutting. You can absolutely freeze overnight or wrap baking sheet, dough, and all in tight plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. If it’s been in the freezer longer than 30 minutes though, I recommend allowing it to thaw for around 10 minutes before cutting unless you have a tile cutting saw handy.



Freezing the rolled dough makes cutting shapes so much easier, and helps keep the edges of the cookies from spreading in the oven.



Once you’ve cut the cookies, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a oven safe baking mat and bake at 375 F for 6-8 minutes. In my oven, exactly 7 minutes is perfect, but every oven is different, so start watching them around the 5-6 minute mark the first time you make these. Once the tops are no longer shiny, they’re ready to pull out.


I allow them to cool for around 5-7 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before decorating.


These cookies bake up smooth on top so they’re the perfect canvas for trying out some royal icing decorating techniques.



Decorate with royal icing or top with the icing of your choice, and be sure to pass the recipe on to someone you love.


Thank you so much for reading this post, and if you’d like to learn more about sugar cookie decorating, business, and more, here are a few posts you might like!




The Recipe

Yield: around 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:


2 sticks softened unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon of red gel food coloring

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

4 cups of all purpose flour

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt


Steps:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar

  2. Add red food coloring

  3. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla

  4. Sift together flour, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt

  5. Give the dry ingredients a whisk then add 1-2 cups of dry ingredients at a time until all ingredients are mixed

  6. Divide dough in half and roll to a quarter inch thickness

  7. Cut desired shapes and bake at 375 F on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper for around 7 minutes or until the tops are no longer shiny







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Okay, so you've made a batch of stunning sugar cookies using cool new royal icing techniques, but what now? How do you package these edible works of art in a way that keeps them safe (crying over broken cookies is a valid reason to cry), shows off all their details, and keeps them tasting fresh and yummy (they are going to be eaten after all!). These aren't the type of baked goods that can be popped into a zip-loc and sent on their way! These are little masterpieces, and you've poured your heart and soul into them! The packaging you place around your beautiful cookies should reflect just how special they are, and convey to your customer (or the lucky loved one receiving cookies) that you are a pro. Let's dive into my top sugar cookie packaging tips, tricks, products, and ideas. For an overview, check out the video below!



*Heads Up, this post contains Amazon affiliate links. These are just links that allow me to receive a small commission at no cost to you for recommending my favorite products.


Individual Cookie Packaging Ideas

Sugar Cookies are like bouquets and sand sculptures in that part of what makes them special is their fleeting beauty. There are here and looking fabulous for a moment, then we consume them, they're gone, and all we're left with are the memories (and the pictures that we posted on the gram). To make them last a little longer and make their beauty a bit less fleeting, individually packaging cookies and especially heat sealing them can dramatically extend their life and freshness.




Heat Sealing

Heat sealing is magic sauce when it comes to decorated sugar cookies. A heat sealed cookie that's completely protected from air can last anywhere from 4-6 weeks! In March of 2020 (we all know what was up that particular month) when everything shut down, I had cookies in the shop at Watson House. A couple months later when we got to return to the shop, Misty and I tried the cookies that had been sitting (heat sealed) all that time. They were still delicious and tasted fresh from the oven. It was crazy!


Heat sealing allows you to work ahead of your schedule a bit since cookies will stay fresh. I think its nice as a customer to be able to save cookies that may not be eaten at an event for later. To heat seal cookies, you'll need cellophane bags and a heat sealer. Wait until the cookies are completely dry (and photographed). Then, place each cookie into a cello bag, seal the bag with your heat sealer of choice, and cut the excess bag away. I like to seal the excess at the bottom to create an additional bag.


A Few Heat Sealers to Consider

I already had a vacuum sealer when I began decorating, so I just used the heat seal setting only and really like it. Being able to close the bags inside to seal while I fill other bags is really handy.

I haven't personally tried this one, but I've heard good things about it!

While this one is on the more expensive side, there is a cutter built right into the top of the sealer. So, as soon as you finish sealing, slide the cutter and you're done! I can see how that would be so helpful!


Cello Bags

When looking for cellophane bags, I like to look for bags that lay flat. Some bags are made to store loose treats like candy and can look wadded up with a cookie inside. Flat lay bags like the ones below look nice and neat. The bags below are a 200 count, and you can choose the size you need. I prefer the 4X9 since I usually make cookies that are about 3-4 inches across. However there are larger and smaller sizes if you need them.

I love these little bags for mini cookies!


Self Seal Bags

If a heat sealer isn't an option right now, consider self sealing bags. They come with a strip of adhesive and still help cookies stay fresher longer. It won't be quite as air tight at a heat seal, so I recommend expecting these to stay fresh for maybe a week or so. Check out a few options here:




Twist Ties

Twist ties are a great option for creating cookies that will be served as favors or an individual gift. leaving the top of the cello bag on after twisting and giving it a quick fluff makes this packaging style look so pretty and ready to gift. These are also a great way to add a ribbon to the top of an individual cookie. I tie the ribbon in a bow around a twist tie (you can do this ahead of time and keep a stock of ready to go twisty bows) then tie the who thing onto the top of the cello bag with cookie inside. If you want that cookie to be heat sealed and last a bit longer, just twist the top of the bag and pop that twisted portion into the heat sealer before adding the tie and the bow.


Individual Cookie Boxes

One of my favorite experiences from offering custom orders was a friend of mine asking me to create a cookie pregnancy announcement she could share with her husband. We placed a cookie with tiny piped baby feet into one of these individual boxes. It was such a sweet story, and I bet he hasn't had a dessert like that since!






Box Cookie Packaging Ideas

Many Cookie Decorators who offer custom orders will need to deliver larger quantities of cookies which will require a box to house all the cookies. I personally prefer a box with a window. Show those bad boys off! There are so many options when it comes to bakery boxes. From cutesy craft paper to clean and simple white. Check out a few options below.


Large Bakery Boxes for a Dozen or More

These are my absolute favorite box for delivering custom orders, DIY Kits, classes, and pretty much anything cookie related!


Some other great box options:





Boxes for Smaller Sets and Packages

These boxes are a perfectly giftable size and make a great option for bridesmaid proposals, holiday and special occasion sets, and samples.


Cookie Packaging Decoration Ideas

The information above is really helpful, but I know you came here to see cute ribbons and tie ideas (I see you). So, here you go. This is the fun part. Decorating your packaging with fun things like ribbons, tags, stickers, and all things beautiful!


Tags

You can create your own tag designs on a design software like Canva or Adobe or you can check out these free printable tags for all seasons that already made and ready-to-go. There are also great Etsy shops where you can purchase made for you treat tags, cards, and other adorable cookie packaging décor.




Ribbon

I love to shop the after the season sales at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, and Walmart to get seasonally themed ribbon on the cheaper side. I also ordered ribbon from Amazon a lot! Here are a few of my amazon favorites.


I tend to look for a fabric satin or grosgrain ribbon since they tend to be flexible and easy to work with. I always try to check the reviews of the ribbon to learn more about the texture. Sometimes a ribbon can be listed as satin but feel plastic and stiff which is really hard to make pretty when tying your bows.




Stickers

I'm a believer in putting your brand on every single package you send out the door. When the ladies at the baby shower see your logo on the box of beautiful cookies, who will they call when it's time to order for their daughter's wedding or their next birthday party? You can use these Avery labels to easily upload an image of your logo. Then, print them off and use the stickers for future orders. You could also tie a business card (link to qr code biz card freebie) onto a ribbon with the help of a hole punch to make sure your info is included on the package.


You can use the stickers above and this online template to print your own branded stickers at home!























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Making Real-life Connections to Market your Cookie Business

In the sea of online marketing advice, it can be hard to find specific cookie marketing ideas. Marketing your Home-Cookie Bakery Business has become easier than ever before thanks to social media and other online marketing methods, however online marketing isn't the only way to connect with your potential customers. The offline marketing strategies and person to person connections that have grown so many businesses in years past are still available and effective today. Try throwing these three offline cookie marketing ideas into your routine, and watch as your cookie decorating business is able to serve more customers.


3 Offline Decorated Cookie Marketing Ideas


1. Bring Sugar Cookie Samples to Your Regular Appointments and Events

Sharing your work in your community is a great way to market your cookie business! This cookie marketing idea is an easy one to throw into your regular routine when you have extra cookies (or practice cookies) on hand. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to make someone's day in addition to potentially finding new customers.


2. Connect with Complimentary Businesses in Your Area

Cookie marketing ideas aren't just for connecting with new customers. Connecting with businesses who serve similar customers can benefit both you and the other local business owner.


3. Attend Vendor Events to Sell Sugar Cookies

Vendor Events like farmers markets, bridal shows, and Christmas Craft Fairs are a great way to create visibility for your cookie decorating business. These events allow you to share your work with potential customers and gives them a chance to make a small purchase and get to know you which is likely to lead to more orders in the future!









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