These thick, soft and chewy gluten free red velvet chocolate chip cookies have just the right red velvet taste in a portable cookie form—with the ease of a drop cookie. Celebrate the season!
Red velvet lovers and haters
Red velvet is one of those things that tends to evoke lots of strong opinions. Even though it’s true that the original red velvet cakes were just slightly red-tinged because of the hint of cocoa powder (it’s not really a super chocolate cake), I like mine really red. Ruby red.
It doesn’t change the taste, of course (because that would be gross), but it does change my eating experience. If you don’t want/can’t have the food coloring? Leave it out. These gluten free red velvet chocolate chip cookies are based on my recipe for gluten free soft batch CCCs, but—I’m gonna say it—better.
There’s something about the hint of cocoa, the red color, the slight tang from some apple cider vinegar and just the right amount of white chocolate chips that makes these cookies … just my thing.
And, of course, since they’re soft batch, they really do taste like they’re just right out of the oven. But without the ooey gooeyness. I like my cookies to stay together, and cookies that are actually right out of the oven? They don’t do that.
Baking with food coloring
If you refuse to use food coloring in your kitchen under any circumstances, skip this section—and skip the food coloring in this recipe! It doesn’t affect the taste at all (when you do it right). Please, no campaigns in the comments to save the rest of us from the evils of food coloring. ?
For the rest of us, let’s talk about which food coloring to use and when. I rarely use anything other than gel food coloring, which is a concentrated food coloring in gel form. Using gel food coloring means that you never have to add so much of the stuff that it changes the chemistry—and taste—of your baked goods.
The most widely available brand of gel food coloring where I live is Wilton brand, but Wilton’s food corloings are not reliably gluten free. My favorite brand of gluten free food coloring is AmeriColor brand. It’s not cheap, but gel food coloring lasts a long, long time.
AmeriColor is sold in some kitchen supply stores and even fewer craft stores, so I buy it online. I like this Americolor kit best (that’s an affiliate link) for a few reasons.
First, that kit has great basic colors like blue, red, yellow and green. Second, the bottles are small, but they have a flip top that allows you to squeeze the coloring out in small amounts. If you purchase the colors that come in bottles with screw-on lids, you will get the color everywhere each time you use it.
Please keep in mind that food coloring fades during baking. You want the color of your raw batter or dough to be brighter than the way you’d like your ultimate baked goods.
Try your best to mix the coloring into the wet ingredients before incorporating everything into the dry ingredients, and you won’t have streaks of color in the cookies. There’s no need to mix the wet ingredients separately, though, before mixing them into the dry. If you watch the video, you’ll see what I mean.
Team chewy, or team crispy chocolate chip cookies?
I love all cookies. I do not discriminate. But normally my love language is a super crispy cookie. Crispy cookies become crispy because of the balance of flour-sugar-eggs-vanilla ingredients in the recipe. But also because they’re allowed to brown at a low oven temperature and very slowly.
But red velvet cookies aren’t going to be red if they are crispy, not without adding so much food coloring that you’re bound to taste it (and not in a good way). The intense browning would lead to a very faded red color otherwise.
That’s why red velvet cookies are best made super thick like these soft batch-style cookies. They’re also lovely as red velvet crinkle cookies, which are a family favorite, too.
If you normally don’t like soft and chewy cookies, or maybe you’re all about the crispy on the outside, chewy inside like our Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies, you really should still give these red velvet cookies a try. They’re like the chocolate cookie for vanilla lovers like my son—and they just look so impressive on a holiday table.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: In place of the butter in this recipe, you can try using Earth Balance buttery sticks. They contain quite a bit more moisture than butter, though, so your cookies will likely spread more than mine. If you can’t find dairy-free white chocolate chips, just use dairy-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips.
Egg-free: In place of the whole egg, you can try using a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel), but the egg yolk is a bit more difficult to replace. You can try adding one more tablespoon of unsalted butter in place of the egg yolk, as it’s there to tenderize the cookies.
Corn-free: This one’s easy! In place of cornstarch, you can use arrowroot.
Vinegar: In place of apple cider vinegar you can use white wine or white balsamic vinegar.
Gluten Free Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
3 tablespoons (24 g) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (10 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 tablespoons (60 g) nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) + 1 egg yolk at room temperature, beaten
Red gel food coloring
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper, and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar, and mix to combine, working to break up any lumps. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, shortening, vinegar, vanilla, eggs, and about 1/8 teaspoon of the gel food coloring, and mix to combine. Work the gel food coloring into the wet ingredients in the center of the bowl to avoid streaks of red color in the cookies. The color should be a relatively deep red color, as it will fade during baking. Add more food coloring in very small amounts, if necessary, to reach the desired color. Add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough. The dough will seem almost a bit crumbly when mixed with a spoon, but will hold together well when squeezed in your palm.
Scoop the dough into 20 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 tablespoonsful, then roll each into a ball, then place on the prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. For the thickest cookies, place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 5 minutes to chill. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 11 minutes, or until the cookies are just set in the center. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies freeze amazingly well when sealed in a freezer-safe container. The cookie dough itself can also be shaped, frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet and then stored in a zip-top bag in the freezer. Defrost to cool room temperature before baking.
Originally published in 2014. Most photos, video and most text are new. The recipe itself is unchanged except for some minor clarifications.