Red Velvet Kiss Cookies

These red velvet kiss cookies are a colorful spin on traditional peanut butter blossoms. Inspired by the classic red velvet cake, they’re soft-baked and buttery with cocoa and vanilla flavors. While the cookies are still warm, press Hershey’s Kisses into the centers.

red velvet cookies with hershey's kisses in the center

There’s no comparing true red velvet cake with a cookie, but these scarlet beauties have a similar flavor profile. They’re easily one of the prettiest Christmas cookies I’ve made this holiday season and there was no complicated decorating or special tools involved. That chocolate kiss is our built-in finishing touch. 😉


Tell Me About These Red Velvet Kiss Cookies

  • Texture: Think about a soft-baked chocolate chip cookie. These red velvet blossoms have the same tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. They’re extra chewy, while a roll in granulated sugar adds a delightful crackly crisp coating.
  • Flavor: Is red velvet cake a mystery flavor to you? I used to be the same way. From red velvet cake roll to red velvet cupcakes, I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know this iconic flavor. Red velvet desserts, including today’s red velvet kiss cookies, are extra buttery with mild cocoa and vanilla flavors. They’re usually made with buttermilk to obtain that traditional tang, but these cookies can be made with regular milk.
  • Ease: We have a basic cookie dough on our hands. After chilling the cookie dough, roll into balls, and generously coat in granulated sugar before baking. The only complicated part, if we can really call it that, is pressing the Hershey’s Kiss candy into each baked cookie. To prevent the warm cookies from totally melting the chocolate, place the warm cookies in the freezer for a few minutes to “set” that chocolate kiss on top. Works like a charm.
  • Time: Set aside enough time to chill this cookie dough. It’s a fairly sticky dough and without time in the refrigerator, your cookies will melt all over the baking sheet. Do yourself a favor and make the cookie dough the night before. Great way to prep for a Christmas cookie baking day. If you need a no-chill cookie, try these lace cookies.

red velvet cookie with a Hershey's Kiss on top and a bite taken out

A Few Notes About Red Velvet Kiss Cookies

The process is pretty uneventful, but there’s a few key notes I want to explain before you start.

  • 1 Extra Tbsp of Flour: You’ll notice that the recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 cups + 1 extra Tbsp of flour. (1 cup + 9 Tbsp.) That extra Tbsp of flour helps solidify this dough. You could use 1 extra Tbsp of cocoa powder (increase from 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup), but then the cookie dough will be darker brown and tinting would require more food coloring.
  • Red Coloring: You can control how vibrant the red color is. Or, if you wish, skip the red coloring altogether because it’s only for looks. I use and recommend 1/2 teaspoon of gel food coloring. You can find gel food coloring in craft stores, some grocery stores, or online. (I like Americolor Red Red or Super Red.) Liquid coloring is fine in a pinch, but you need more of it for the color to actually show up. If you’re looking for a natural alternative, use 2 teaspoons of beet powder. I’ve done this successfully with my red velvet chocolate chip cookies. The color stands out a lot more in cookie dough than in cake batter– and you won’t taste it.
  • Rolling in Sugar: The sugar coating adds a little crunch and sparkle. I’d say it’s optional, but they’re delicious with its addition. Feel free to swap granulated sugar for confectioners’ sugar if you’re looking to mimic the look of chocolate crinkle cookies.
  • Hershey’s Kisses: I chose Hershey’s Kisses because they’re the traditional candy used in this type of classic Christmas cookie. I used the dark chocolate kisses in these photos, but feel free to use any of the kisses varieties/flavors. Rolos or any type of small chocolates would be great, too. (I make cookies like this with chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day– see sparkle sweetheart cookies.) If you love peanut butter, try a miniature peanut butter cup like we do with these peanut butter cup cookies.

red velvet cookie dough in bowl and rolled in sugar

red velvet cookie dough balls rolled in sugar arranged on baking sheet

My #1 Trick for Blossom Cookies

As mentioned above and described in the written recipe below, we bake the cookies without the chocolate candy on top. (It would melt.) When the cookies are finished in the oven, let them cool for about 5 minutes. Press a Hershey’s Kiss into the center of each, then immediately transfer them to a large plate or a few smaller plates (gently! they’re soft!). Place the plate(s) of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes to quickly set the chocolate kiss in the cookie.

This trick (1) prevents the chocolate from melting and (2) helps prevent the kiss candy from falling off the cooled cookies. It’s definitely an extra step, but it helps!

red velvet kiss cookies on cooling rack

red velvet cookies with Hershey's Kisses pressed in the center

More Festive Christmas Cookies

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red velvet cookies with Hershey's Kisses pressed in the center

Red Velvet Kiss Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (includes chilling)
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: 32-36 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These red velvet kiss cookies are a colorful spin on traditional peanut butter blossoms. Feel free to use other chocolate candies such as Rolos, peanut butter cups, or other small chocolates.


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon (200g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (21g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon milk (I use buttermilk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon gel red food coloring (or alternative)*
  • 3236 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Coating

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g) or confectioners’ sugar (60g)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, add the milk and food coloring, then then mix on low speed until everything is combined. The dough will be sticky. If you want a more vibrant hue, beat in more food coloring a little at a time. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (and up to 3 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow dough to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. Also, make sure there’s room in your freezer because the cookies will need to be placed inside to prevent the chocolates from melting.
  5. Roll & coat: Scoop and roll cookie dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each. Roll each ball in the 1/2 cup of sugar and arrange on the baking sheet about 3 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the edges appear set. Centers will look very soft. Mine usually take 12 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven and cool for just 5-10 minutes on the baking sheets.
  7. Set the chocolate: Press a Hershey’s Kiss into the center of each, then using a thin spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to a large plate or a few smaller plates (gently– they’re soft). Place the plate(s) of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes to quickly set the chocolate kiss in the cookie.
  8. Remove from the freezer and serve.
  9. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (See step 3.) Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls, without sugar coating, freeze well for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, remove the balls from the freezer, let sit for 30 minutes, preheat the oven, then roll in sugar as directed. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Cocoa Powder: Use natural unsweetened cocoa powder in this cookie dough, not dutch-process. Here’s the difference between natural cocoa powder and dutch-process cocoa powder.
  3. Food Coloring: You can control how vibrant the red color is. Or, if you wish, skip the red coloring altogether because it’s only for looks. I use and recommend 1/2 teaspoon of gel food coloring. You can find gel food coloring in craft stores, some grocery stores, or online. (I like Americolor Red Red or Super Red.) Liquid coloring is fine in a pinch, but you need more of it for the color to actually show up– around 1 Tablespoon. If you’re looking for a natural alternative, use 2 teaspoons of beet powder. I’ve done this successfully with my red velvet chocolate chip cookies. The color stands out a lot more in cookie dough than in cake batter– and you won’t taste it.
  4. Candies: Feel free to use any of the Hershey’s Kisses varieties/flavors. Rolos or any type of small chocolates would be great, too. (I make cookies like this with chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day– see sparkle sweetheart cookies.) If you love peanut butter, try a miniature peanut butter cup like we do with these peanut butter cup cookies.

Keywords: red velvet, blossom cookies, red velvet cookies

46 Comments

  1. Hey Sally! I was just wondering how these would taste if the butter was browned and then chilled again til firm before creaming it with the sugars. Would that work or would it mess up the recipe?

    1. Hi Mary, I think that would add another level of wonderful flavor. Brown it, then chill it, then bring the chilled solidified brown butter to room temperature. It will still be solid, but it will be softened and ready to cream with the sugars.

  2. I can’t wait to make these! Red velvet is the one area I haven’t explored yet myself so I’m excited to try these out. With any blossom cookies, after putting the candy in the center I always put the entire pan in my garage or on my porch for 10 minutes. I’m usually making double or more batches for the holidays and I have found that process is so much easier than trying to transfer everything into my overloaded fridge or freezer. This works for me because I live in PA, probably wouldn’t work so hot (pun) for the warmer states but if you live in a cold state I LOVE doing it that way- it makes the pan ready for reuse immediately also for large batches. These are definitely going on my Christmas cookie tray this year! Sally, you should do a post about what you’re including in your cookie tray. I think I read somewhere that your go tos are pb blossoms, cake batter cookies and molasses cookies, but if that’s not the case I would be so interested to know what is! Surely your trays are the best on earth so I would totally want to copy you lol. I usually do pb blossoms, chocolate crinkles or inside out chocolate chip cookies and one or two others depending the year! Thanks for helping us get excited to get festive!

    1. Hi Janel, I can’t believe I missed this comment yesterday. Thank you so much for your kindness and thoughtful words! For Christmas cookie platters, I always make sure to include our family’s favorites including: peanut butter blossoms, gingerbread cookies, spritz cookies, and chocolate crinkle cookies. I always love these no bake peanut butter bars too!

  3. Hi Sally,
    I have a “kiss” question. I have noticed that many recipes for Peanut Butter Blossom cookies call for pressing the kiss into the cookie and returning it to the oven for two minutes.I just read a recipe this morning with that instruction. It seems totally nuts to me.
    I have noticed the kisses start to melt once they are on top of the cookie and if not put into the freezer, totally lose their shape. I would think putting them back into the oven would just speed up the melting. I am I crazy or is that instruction crazy?
    One more question, would it help to freeze the kisses before placing them on the cookies?
    Thanks, Sally…I plan on adding these beauties to my Christmas baking list.

    1. Hi Nancy, I’m glad you brought this up. I never have luck making blossom cookies that way. The Hershey’s Kisses always melt! The way I recommend seems to work better. A quick trip to the freezer sets the kisses before they have a chance to melt. Freezing the kisses before applying wouldn’t make much of a difference this way.

  4. Hi Sally! I made the dough for your cream cheese red velvet cookies and am now thinking I would like to use the batter to make this recipe instead! Is there any modifications I should make?

    1. Hi Rachel! The doughs are very similar. Go ahead and use that one instead. Make sure you chill it before rolling into balls and baking, though.

  5. Hi Sally, can I use liquid red food coloring instead of the gel?

    1. Hi Elva, Liquid food coloring will work in a pinch. You’ll need more of it for the color to actually show up – around 1 Tablespoon.

  6. Jannice Naramore says:

    Sally I followed the recipe I sure and included the chilling of the dough but cookies were flat. It’s was hard to place the Hershey kiss on the cookie. They taste fine but I wish they were a little thicker. Can you tell me what might have went wrong?

    1. Hi Jannice! Thank you so much for trying these cookies right away. I’m so sorry to hear that they melted for you. Did you add the extra Tbsp of flour? If you try them again, make sure you chill the dough again and try adding another 2 Tablespoons of flour to help soak up the butter. Use gel food coloring instead of liquid if you can.

      1. Thanks Sally for responding to my question. Every year I like to try a new Christmas cookie recipe.
        I added the extra Tbsp of flour, and chilled the dough several hours. I didn’t have to bake them until the evening. I sat the dough out for 15-20 min before rolling dough. I used red gel food coloring. Next time I’ll try the extra 2 Tbsp of flour.

      2. Victoria Morin says:

        Hi Sally, I had the same thing happen to me as Jannice. My cookies were flat. I had my dough in the fridge for two days and let thaw for 15 mins before baking. I used the weight measurements in the recipe.

  7. Hi Sally,
    These cookies look very festive, I’m going to make them soon. Quick question, assuming the tablespoon of milk is added to the wet ingredients with the egg and vanilla?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Carey! Add the milk in step 3. (First sentence.)

  8. These cookies are easy to make, cute, and soft and tasty. I made two batches, chilled overnight. I used red gel coloring and never got a very vibrant red. The second batch came out more red, but I used a full teaspoon of coloring. I did use the holiday peppermint Hershey’s kisses (red & white swirl) so that might be playing with the color perception. Overall a festive holiday cookie!

    1. I bet they were delicious with the peppermint kisses! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, Roro.

  9. My husband is allergic to chocolate. Can the recipe be made without it? Also would blue food coloring work (for Hanukkah)? Thank you.

    1. Hi Jessica, you can tint the cookie dough blue instead. I recommend gel food coloring. You can leave off the Kisses candies.

    2. You could totally make these without adding the cocoa powder. Instead of eliminating the kisses altogether I would try using the white Hershey’s kisses. White chocolate isn’t actually chocolate at all, it’s cocoa butter so it may work as a good replacement so you still get that kiss visual at the top of the cookie.

  10. Sally,
    I followed the recipe to the t but my cookies spread in the oven to become completely flat. The good news is they are delish. Any idea what could have happened? I’d love to get them right.

    1. Hi Tara, thank you so much for trying this recipe. Try leaving out the milk next time. (And don’t skip that extra Tablespoon of flour either!)

  11. Perfection. Made according to your directions. Followed them to a t. Added 1 T of liquid red food coloring and the color was just right. Love them!! Making a second batch right now because these won’t last lol. Going to freeze some. Give some away tomorrow. Learning to enjoy the season while in the season. Enjoy each day…Drink eggnog and cherish each moment! In spite of! Thanks so much Sally. Thrilled to have a new recipe to add to my cookie tray. Definitely a keeper.

    1. Thank you for the positive feedback, Robin! I hope all your recipients enjoy these as much as you 🙂

  12. I made these tonight and they are the perfect Christmas cookie! I followed Sally’s tips and have had no issues. I highly recommend this recipe.

    1. Thrilled to hear these were a success for you, Brittany!

  13. Hi Sally just made these this morning! Came out perfect, what a great and easy new recipe! These are great for Christmas and I plan on making them for Valentine’s day too. I gave my 3 year old daughter a cookie…. Well she has now snuck into the kitchen and stole a 3rd one!!! Now no more needs to be said about how yummy they are then that lol! thank you again for yet another great recipe!

    1. How sweet! Thank you so much for making this one, Abby!

  14. I had the same problem as others …. flat cookies despite the extra T of flour and chilling. Even used a scant T of red coloring.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan, Thank you for trying this recipe. If you try them again, try adding another 2 Tablespoons of flour to help soak up the butter, and try chilling longer. Use gel food coloring instead of liquid if you can.

  15. These are a great alternative to peanut blossoms. They are very rich with the milk chocolate kiss. I roll mine in alternating holiday colored sugar and nonpareils. They are festive and pretty. These would also be awesome with the Hershey cheesecake candy cane kisses.

    1. I bet these were beautiful rolled in the holiday sprinkles and sugar. Thank you for giving this recipe a try, Erin!

  16. Another winning recipe from you, Sally! The taste was amazing, however I could not get these to look red, despite using about a tablespoon of the gel food coloring. I wonder if it was bc I used dark brown sugar. Next time I will use the light brown sugar and see if the color comes through better then.

  17. I LOVE EVERYTHING about these cookies from the appearance and texture to the taste. The cookies were a huge hit and will be placed at the top of my Christmas cookie list and baked throughout the year. I took the cookies out of the oven at 10 1/2 minutes, placed/pressed the Hershey’s kisses onto them and baked another 1 1/2 minutes and they were PERFECT. Thank you!!!

  18. Sooo Tasty

  19. Just taking the last pan out of the oven….and already ate one from the first pan. They are really good. Like someone else said, mine didn’t get very red even with more gel coloring. Next time I will try light brown sugar too. Thanks for the great recipe.

  20. I didn’t see the note about the cocoa until after I mixed the dough but I haven’t bake them yet, will this be ok?

  21. Olivia Makinson says:

    Hi Sally, quick question!
    Do we let the cookies cool for 5-10 minutes and then put the Kiss in the middle and put them in the freezer? Won’t they be too cool for the Kiss to set by then?
    Thanks!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Olivia, you’re correct. They should still be a little warm, so the kiss will set perfectly.

  22. Jihan Grettenberger says:

    I love your recipes and have one of your cookbooks! Do you have any sense if I can substitute non-dairy butter for regular butter?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jihan, we haven’t tested this recipe with any non-dairy butters, but let us know if you do. Happy baking!

  23. I made these a few weeks ago and we couldn’t get enough of them. Now I’m making them today for Christmas! They are just delicious! Is it ok if I don’t have a silicone mat and I ran out of parchment?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina, We are so happy you enjoyed this recipe! Is your baking sheet nonstick? If so, you can certainly try to bake them right on your ungreased cookie sheet.

      1. Yes, thank you!

  24. I love this recipe! Super cute for Christmas time and tastes great! I added candy cane Hershey’s kisses for a festive touch!

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