When I was grating the potato for my classic mbatata cookies from Zimbabwe I thought of using beetroot for my own variation: red velvet cookies with cloves. I have always loved the moist consistency of red velvet cake and the way the earthiness of the beetroot balances the sweetness in the cake. The beetroot combined with cloves gives this cookie a robust and aromatic taste. I had not expected the cookie to stay so nice and pink after baking but the real bonus was the girlishly bright glaze made with the beetroot juice. I will not be using artificial pink coloring in my kitchen anymore!
Red velvet cookie
for about 20 cookies
for the cookies
75 grams softened unsalted butter
55 grams sugar
½ loosely beaten egg
zest of ½ organic unwaxed lemon
½ teaspoon grated cloves
250 grams flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
100 grams raw beetroot
for the glaze
200 grams icing sugar
½ teaspoon softened unsalted butter
½ teaspoon beetroot juice
Beat the butter with the sugar until light and creamy with an electric mixer.
Beat in the egg, the lemon zest and the cloves.
Mix the flour with the baking powder and the salt.
Using your fingertips rub the flour mixture into the butter mixture until the dough resembles breadcrumbs.
Peel the beetroot and grate finely. Press the beetroot in a sieve and keep the juice for the glaze.
Mix the grated beetroot with the crumbly dough and bring together in a ball.
Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Roll out the dough to about ⅓ inch (¾ cm) and cut out cookies with a cookie cutter. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Bake them in the middle of the oven for about 7 minutes.
Take the cookies out of the oven and leave to cool on a rack.
Mix the icing sugar with the butter, the beet juice and just enough lemon juice to make a thick glaze.
Brush the cooled red velvet cookie with the glaze and leave to set.
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