It was quite the little journey to make these particular cookies. Last Friday evening I was having a bit of a rough time. I should have been typing away at one of my many final papers which were due in the coming weeks, but I just could not focus. I finally resigned myself to the fact that it was just not going to happen. But then I was left with this anxious energy, like I needed to at least feel like I did something productive with my time. I decided to harass one of my new
baking victims roommates with what her favorite dessert was. She told me she loves red velvet cake, but hates all the red food dye that goes into it. I immediately knew I wanted to make the Red Velvet Black and White cookies I had seen recently on Joy the Baker. They looked like decadent, over the top cookies, perfect to have around during the holiday season.
I hurried on to the store to pick up the needed ingredients and then realized that Whole Foods only sells $20 food coloring. And folks, I almost bought it. I thought, well, if you are gonna bake these cookies, then just get what you need. But then shit had to get real and I had to have a conversation with myself (all in my head of course). I had to remind myself that not only did these cookies not actual serve a purpose other than Friday night entertainment, but I also do not have a job nor will I have one for the next 6ish months. Food dye back on the shelf.
That’s when I decided that all I needed to do was experiment with alternatives to red food dye. I did a little research and decided frozen cherry juice could add a pretty color. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon (!) of red food dye, so I figured I could get away with a fair amount of juice added. At first it looked brownish, so I kept adding more and it ended up being a very pretty purple for the batter. But then I cooked the cookies and you can see they turned darker and not quite so lovely.
That’s when I eyed a pomegranate on the counter and decided another batch of cookies needed to be made. I opted to skip the little bit of cocoa powder and added the juice again. I’m not sure if this is common knowledge, but the batter did not change color at all. How can pomegranate juice dye your skin and clothes, but 2 tablespoons not even tinge a batter of cookies?!? Besides the lack rosy color, I had clearly botched the consistency. They were a bust.
This was about the point when another roommate noticed my baking disaster and kindly pointed out that I was making coal cookies and they were perfectly festive. And really, tasty cookies with a holiday flare, do you need anything else? I think not.