Yield: 20 sandwich cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Red gel food coloring
Cream-Cheese Filling
 
1. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer. Add egg and vanilla, beating until well blended.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

3. Add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Add desired amount of red gel food coloring, stirring well. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Using your hands, roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll balls in remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets; flatten slightly with a spatula.

6. Bake until slightly soft, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely. Spread Cream-Cheese Filling on flat side of 1 cookie. Top with another cookie, flat side toward filling. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.