This red velvet skillet cookie can't be 'beet'

  • A red velvet cookie baked in a cast-iron pan. Pureed beets give the cookie that traditional red velvet color.

    A red velvet cookie baked in a cast-iron pan. Pureed beets give the cookie that traditional red velvet color. Courtesy of Leslie Meredith

 
 
Updated 2/23/2022 11:41 AM

"What are we making?" is the first thing I hear when my young students file in for their weekly class. "A giant cookie," I recently replied. Their delight was only slightly dampened when I told them we would be using beets and oranges in the recipe.

I don't advocate "sneaking" fruits and vegetables onto kids' plates. Instead, I introduce them to new ways of eating produce and expect them to try a tiny "mouse-sized" bite. Usually, they are pleasantly surprised by how much they like what they cook. Sometimes, it takes repeated exposure. And chocolate chips. Those always help encourage trial.

 

Kids may not typically like trying new foods, but they do like a novelty when it comes to techniques, proportions and generally going against the norm. This recipe wins them over with chocolate chips and cocoa powder for a double-chocolatey impact. We also cooked one large cookie in a cast-iron skillet instead of making a sheet pan's worth of normal-sized treats.

Relative to other cookie recipes, this one goes a bit easier on the sugar, with sweetness added by the beets and orange. Usually, more butter is needed to keep cookies from flattening and drying out. Here we used less butter, but the skillet keeps the structure and allows the center to stay moist.

Roasting beets is simple, but a nifty hack is to buy whole, peeled and precooked beets. They come vacuum-packed, and I found some organic ones at Costco that saved us time in class. Beets are loaded with betalains, the pigment responsible for their telltale hue. Beyond their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, these compounds mean we can skip the artificial coloring. The batter and cookie take on the deep reddish-brown color that gives red velvet its name.

We ran short on time, so we baked our cookie for only 20 minutes and skipped the cool-down. We ate the ooey-gooey wedges with spoons, with no complaints and no leftovers. Let it cool a bit longer, and you'll be able to slice your cookie like a pizza, making for easier handling and a firmer cookie.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Leslie Meredith is the winner of the 2019 Cook of the Week Challenge and teaches people how to grow and cook "real" food. She runs Farmhouse School on a historic homestead in Campton Hills. See the school's Facebook or Instagram pages @FarmhouseSchool or contact Leslie at food@dailyherald.com.

Cream the sugars and butter together in a larger bowl and then add the eggs and beet puree and blend until smooth. The beets give the cookie that red velvet color.
Cream the sugars and butter together in a larger bowl and then add the eggs and beet puree and blend until smooth. The beets give the cookie that red velvet color. - Courtesy of Leslie Meredith
Red Velvet Skillet Cookie

2 beets

1 orange (for cup freshly squeezed juice)

1 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

teaspoon salt

cup unsalted butter, softened

cup granulated sugar

cup brown sugar, not packed

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wrap beets in foil and cook in oven for 45-60 minutes or until soft. Turn oven down to 375 degrees. When cool enough to handle, remove skins from beets.

Juice orange. In a blender or food processor, puree beets with cup of juice until smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Cream sugars and butter in a larger bowl. Add the eggs and beet puree and blend until smooth.

Stir in dry ingredients, careful not to over mix. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into a 12-inch lightly greased cast iron skillet and bake for about 25 minutes (20 if you like it gooey and 30 minutes to fully cook). Allow to cool for at least five minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.

Serves 8 to 10

Leslie Meredith

Go to comments: 0 posted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.