This easy recipe for red velvet sandwich cookies from scratch is filled with peppermint buttercream frosting for a wintery twist. Coated in sparkly red sanding sugar, these cookies are as pretty as they are delicious.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
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Why you should make this recipe
- Show stopper – These cookies will be the belle of the ball. They are so festive and sparkly!
- Perfect for holiday gatherings – A great addition to Christmas cookie platters or parties.
- Versatile – If you don’t want to make sandwich cookies, you’ll have 3 dozen red velvet cookies to share with friends and family.
Christmas red velvet sandwich cookies
I’ve had this idea for a red velvet cookie recipe in my head for awhile. The problem with some red velvet recipes is that they aren’t quite the right shade, and also, they don’t have enough flavor.
Well, friends, I’m happy to report that this is not the case here. These cookies are a festive, Christmassy red and they are very tasty.
To make these peppermint buttercream filled red velvet sandwich cookies, you’ll need a few basics, plus some gel food dye. I do not recommend the liquid food coloring for this recipe.
- Butter – Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in your baked goods.
- All-purpose flour – Weighing your flour is the most accurate way to measure. I highly recommend using a scale to measure flour.
- Vanilla – Gives baked goods that familiar flavor we all love.
- Sugar – Provides just enough sweetness to the cookies.
- Brown sugar – It has a deeper flavor than regular sugar, thanks to molasses.
- Egg – Provides moisture and structure to the dough.
- Buttermilk – Provides moisture and acidity.
- Salt – All baked goods need salt.
- Baking powder and baking soda – baking powder gives the cookies just a tiny bit of lift, while the baking soda helps the cookies spread just the right amount.
- Cocoa powder – I used Dutch processed cocoa in this recipe, it has a deeper chocolatey flavor than natural cocoa.
- Gel food coloring – You will need gel food color for this recipe. The liquid food dye sold at the grocery store is not the same.
- Red sanding sugar – You can make your own sanding sugar or buy it at the store.
How to make
These Christmas sandwich cookies start out with a simple red velvet dough that is rolled in sparkling sugar to make them extra festive.
- First, whip the butter and sugars together, then add remaining wet ingredients, along with the red gel color. Beat until uniformly colored and fluffy. It will be very bright – don’t worry.
- Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until you have a thick dough – it will be a little sticky. Use a DARK colored spatula – the food coloring will stain your white spatula.
- Using a small cookie scoop, portion 36 balls of dough.
- Roll them in sparkling sugar, then chill for an hour, then bake. While cookies are cooling, make the buttercream.
- Pair cookies on baking sheet and flip the bottom cookie over to hold the peppermint buttercream.
- Fill piping bag (or use a small spatula) and pipe approximately 2 tablespoons of frosting on each bottom half.
- Place top cookie on buttercream.
- Lightly press down to hold top cookie in place.
Using a small cookie scoop is VERY important because you want all of the cookies to be the same size.
Look at the tray below. The cookie in the top left corner is substantially smaller than the rest, so the velvet sandwich cookies won’t be even. You want to avoid that, so use a scoop to portion the dough.
Red velvet sandwich cookies Q&A
If you plan to freeze them, do not fill the cookies with buttercream. Store the cookies in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Fill with buttercream before serving.
Yep! You can make these up to 2 days ahead of time.
Resting cookie dough allows the flour to fully hydrate, plus it allows the flavors to develop. This gives you better tasting cookies.
Absolutely. Baking chilled dough reduces the spread. Chilled dough will give you thick and chewy sandwich cookies. When dough is not chilled, it tends to spread more.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge (away from foods with a strong odor) for up to 5 days, or in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.
Variations and substitutions
- Swap the peppermint extract for vanilla in the buttercream to fill the sandwich cookies.
- Roll the cookies in plain granulated sugar if you want to avoid red-stained fingers.
Helpful tools and equipment
- Gel food color in super red – This is the color and brand that I used in the recipe.
- Small cookie scoop – The same scoop I used in the recipe. It is a size #60 scoop, it holds exactly 1 tbsp. It will make uniform balls of dough, so the red velvet sandwich cookies match up perfectly.
- Food scale – The best way to measure ingredients when baking is to weigh them.
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour // 245 g
- 1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder //30 g
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt // 3 g // 1/2 tsp. if using Morton's or table salt
- 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp // 1 1/2 sticks //172 g
- 1/2 cup sugar // 100 g
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar // 150 g
- 2 tsp. red gel food coloring
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. buttermilk
- 1/2 cup red sanding sugar, homemade or store-bought
- Peppermint buttercream frosting
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat butter with sugars, red food coloring and vanilla until butter is fluffy, 3 - 4 minutes.
- Add egg and beat until combined, then add buttermilk and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add flour mixture to butter and sugar mixture and mix on low speed until you no longer see big pockets of flour, about 2 minutes. Use a rubber spatula (a dark one if you have it - white will stain) to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Fold cookie dough a few times to make sure everything is well combined.
- Use a small cookie scoop (1 tbsp. size) to portion 36 balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roll cookie dough in red sanding sugar, then return to baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325°F with convection fan // 350° F without fan // 180°C // Gas mark 4.
- Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and place 12 balls of dough on each sheet. (Bake one sheet at a time for best results. Keep cookie dough in the fridge until ready to bake)
- Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving to cooling rack to cool completely.
- While cookies are cooling, make peppermint buttercream.
- When cookies have cooled completely, line them up in pairs, flipping over the bottom of the sandwich cookie.
- Using a piping bag, or a small spatula, fill cookies with about 2 tablespoons of peppermint buttercream.
- Place top cookie on buttercream and lightly press down to secure in place.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.
To freeze the cookies:
Wrap UNFILLED cookies in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then fill with buttercream before serving.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 292mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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