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.
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. I do the same thing for candy cane kiss cookies and it 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 or shortbread wedges.
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. You can even skip Hershey’s Kiss completely and give them a dunk in melted chocolate instead. That’s how I made these white chocolate red velvet cookies.
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!
Even More Festive Christmas Cookies
- Spritz Cookies & Butter Cookies
- Stained Glass Window Cookies
- Snowball Cookies
- Peppermint Mocha Cookies
- Christmas Sugar Cookies
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.
- 1 and 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon (196g) 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)*
- 32–36 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g) or confectioners’ sugar (60g)
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, add the milk and food coloring, and 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from the freezer and serve.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- 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. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
- Cocoa Powder: Use natural unsweetened cocoa powder in this cookie dough, not dutch-process. Here’s the difference between dutch-process vs natural cocoa powder.
- 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.
- 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