The Very Best Red Velvet Cookies
If there is one recipe that my grandma is famous for it’s her red velvet cookies. I have witnessed people who swear they don’t like anything red velvet go crazy for these cookies! They are soft and sweet, filled with chocolate chips, and have the absolute best cream cheese frosting on top. You might pop one in your mouth with the intention of having “just one” and the next thing you know you’re on cookie number 5. That’s the power these cookies hold!
Dairy-Free Red Velvet Cookies
If you’ve been following along for awhile now, you probably know that 1.5 years ago I had to completely give up dairy. Originally, this was due to the fact that I was nursing Camila and she had a cow’s milk intolerance via breastmilk. Oddly enough, Millie has outgrown this intolerance for the most part, yet now anytime I eat dairy I get sick. I’ve learned to make adjustments, especially when it comes to baking. I typically bake 1-2 treats a week for our family and love testing out new dairy-free dessert recipes. My grandma’s red velvet cookies are wonderful year-round, but they always remind me of the holidays. With everything going on this year, I was very determined to find a way to make these cookies dairy-free so that I could brighten 2020 with one of my favorite holiday treats!
Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
These cookies wouldn’t be complete without their most-loved cream cheese frosting. In order to make this dairy-free I simply subbed the standard cream cheese with Kite Hill Cream Cheese made from almond milk. I’ve tried a few other DF cream cheeses and this is by far my favorite. There were also a few other important substitutions I had to make from my grandma’s original recipe including dairy-free butter, dairy-free chocolate chips, and subbing sour cream with a combination of coconut cream and lemon juice. Be sure to read all of the notes following the recipe for full details before you begin.
Plant-Based Food Coloring
These cookies are obviously not healthy, but it’s the holidays and everyone deserves to indulge now and then! Yet, I do want to mention that artificial dyes are something we do our best to avoid 100% of the time. I am no expert, but there are many articles discussing the links between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity in children, behavioral changes (irritability and depression) and also the fact that some of the primary artificial dyes in the U.S. contain benzene, a known cancer-causing substance. I was excited to try out these 100% plant based food colors in this recipe! They don’t contain any dyes or preservatives and 1 pack of the red coloring worked perfectly for these cookies!
If you make this dairy-free red velvet cookie recipe or my grandma’s original recipe, I would love to hear about it! Let me know by leaving a comment and rating below. It helps others learn more about the recipe as well!
Dairy-Free Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Red Velvet Cookies
- 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate squares
- ½ cup dairy-free butter, softened (can sub regular butter)
- ⅔ cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp red food coloring
- ¾ cup coconut cream or full fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight) (can sub sour cream if not dairy-free)
- ¾ tbsp lemon juice (leave this out if you use sour cream)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (be sure to use dairy-free if necessary)
Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¼ cup dairy-free butter, softened (can sub regular butter)
- 4 oz dairy-free cream cheese, softened (can sub regular if DF isn't needed)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Break the squares of chocolate into pieces. Place in a small microwaveable bowl and heat until melted, around 90 seconds. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Add baking soda and salt and beat for another minute. Add egg and beat again, stopping at least once to scrape down the sides and then resume beating until smooth.
- Add the red food coloring and melted chocolate and mix to combine. Scrape the bowl. Add in half of the flour, slowly stirring to combine. Then, stir in the coconut cream and lemon juice (or sour cream without lemon juice if not dairy-free.) Scrape the bowl, add in the remaining flour, and stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
- Spoon the dough into tbsp sized balls on the lined cookie sheets. If dough is too sticky, you can chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies rise and become firm. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
- To make the frosting: Mix the butter, dairy-free cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Add the powdered sugar in half-cup increments until the frosting is smooth and spreadable. Add the frosting when the cookies have completely cooled.
- If you aren’t needing these cookies to be dairy-free you can use my grandma’s original recipe! Simply use regular butter, regular cream cheese, sub the coconut cream with sour cream, and omit the lemon juice.
- If you can’t find coconut cream you can use full-fat canned coconut milk. Either way, be sure to refrigerate the can overnight before using. This will help the cream thicken up and rise to the top. Do NOT shake the can before opening. Simply open and scoop the cream out of the top of the can, leaving the separated water at the bottom.
- I have not tried making this gluten-free, but I would assume that a GF flour blend would be a good 1:1 substitute when baking these cookies.
- When choosing a food coloring, we like to use a natural product free of artificial dyes. For these cookies I used 1 red pack of Supernatural 100% Plant-Based Food Coloring.
- The dairy-free chocolate chips I used were Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips.
- I’ve tested out several different dairy-free cream cheese options and my absolute favorite is Kite Hill Cream Cheese made from almond milk.