Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

Red Velvet Cookie Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sugar, reserved for rolling
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Red gel food coloring
1 recipe cream cheese filling (recipe follows)

In a large stand mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla extract, beating until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the cream mixture 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.  Continue until all flour is incorporated.  Add desired amount of red gel food coloring, and mix well.  Remove from stand mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cream Cheese Filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened slightly
2 T unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat cream cheese and butter until just combined.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar.  Beat just until all lumps disappear and mixture is nice and creamy.  Do not overmix.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour 1/4 cup granulated sugar into a small bowl.  Use your hands to roll dough in 1 1/2 inch balls, then roll around in the sugar.  Place on parchment lined baking sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake for 7-9 minutes, until cookies just start to crack around the edges.

Let cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Pipe or spread cream cheese filling on half of the flat side of cookies.  Place another cookie on top of the filling and press lightly.  Enjoy!