Red Velvet Blossoms/Thumbprints

makes 3 dozen cookies

*recipe can easily be doubled

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 extra large egg

1 Tablespoon liquid red food color

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

36 Hershey's Hugs 

*Note-- if your kitchen temperature is on the warm side, you might want to place the dough in the refrigerator to firm up a bit to make for easier rolling.

Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand held mixer, combine the oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until no brown sugar lumps remain.  Add the egg and mix until creamy.  Mix in the food color, vanilla, and vinegar.  Add the flour mixture and mix until completely combined.  Using a scant 1/2-ounce ice cream scoop (about 2 teaspoons), scoop the dough into balls.  Roll each ball gently between the palms of your hands for a smooth and uniform surface.  Place the balls (12 at a time) onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake until puffed and the edges are set, about 12 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and press a chocolate candy in the center of each cookie.  Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. For thumbprints, gently tap the cookie on the counter to collapse the warm candy.   Enjoy!

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