Red velvet mania is sticking around, with two chains releasing new red velvet treats. At Panera, bakers spent two years tinkering with recipes before they released the new red velvet cookie. The deep red treat is supposed to capture the essence of the cake in a portable, cookie form. The soup and sandwich chain’s head baker describes it as “the perfect cookie” but I’m not sure I agree. For a closer look, check out my review on Serious Eats: Sweets.
Dunkin’ Donuts also has red velvet fever, and has created a new crimson doughnut for the holiday season (along with several new flavored lattes). The red velvet drizzle doughnut is essentially a chocolate cake doughnut with tons of dye and a piddly frosting drizzle. You can read more about it on Serious Eats: Sweets.
What both chains fail to realize is the appeal of red velvet doesn’t begin and end with the color. No one reaches for a red velvet cupcake because it’s got a ton of dye in it; the appeal is the cream cheese frosting, because really, red velvet is just a muted chocolate cake. The cookie at Panera and the doughnut at Dunkin’ have cream cheese elements, but they don’t capture that tangy taste. So, all you’re getting is a whole lot of red #40, and nobody wants that.