Avan, friends, and happy 2018!
As you may recall, a few months ago I got impatient and went ahead and announced a new series titled Book Made. Since I came up with it, I’ve been pretty busy with other things, but by no means have I forgotten about it. This week, I’m happy to present my first bookish project- a recipe- and start off this year with my favorite series of all time.
You guessed it. A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab.
Funnily enough, it took me a little while to get into it. I made the mistake of checking out A Gathering of Shadows first, and after being thoroughly confused, I turned it back in without making it through the first three chapters. Then, I picked up ADSOM in October of 2016 (that’s… a year and a half ago? Ish? time…) and fell in love at once. I finished it in three days and never looked back. I read the first two books again in February while A Conjuring of Light was being shipped, and that totally solidified my complete and utter adoration for these books. ACOL proceeded to give me the worst book hangover I’ve ever experienced (wait- that’s a lie. But you get the point. It was a very bad one and this book destroyed my feelings and we’ll stop now), and I’m still not over it, roughly a year later.
ANYWAY, as I hope none of you know already, I used to have a cooking blog (don’t ask, it didn’t last and I’m not giving away the address because it doesn’t exist anymore and also nope) and soon realized that I was Very Bad at coming up with recipes and that my smol sister was better and I should just read instead. However, I am still a cooking fiend and can only draw on cookies (as opposed to, ya know, paper), so this idea was born for the Edible Book Festival back in April.
Is this all coherent? I’m still riding off of general Christmas exhaustion, so apologies if I’m making no sense whatsoever.
I ended up winning the Most Detailed award (thank goodness, it took 10-15 minutes for some of those cookies) and taking home a coffee shop gift certificate I have yet to use.
*makes plans to go to coffee shop asap*
The cookies, however, also tasted very good. They don’t take too long to make, unless you go overkill with the decorations like me (and it’s a good way to spark entire conversations of relentless fangirling, so obviously you should), and there are often quite a few crumbs that you can eat too much of. It’s perfect.
First of all, life hack: get butter to semi-room temperature by using a hot water glass (fill it with really hot water for a moment, then dump it out so the glass is hot) as a terrarium for a few minutes. It works somewhat.
Beat the stick of butter (1/2 cup) and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until they look like (a disappointing amount of very sweet and very potato-less) mashed potatoes.
Add your two teaspoons (plus a little more because I like lemon, don’t judge me) grated lemon and a half teaspoon of vanilla, and beat. This will smell very good. Don’t eat it.
Add a cup of flour and a generous pinch of salt, and beat once again. If it looks like weird breadcrumbs, you’re on the right track.
Cover a baking sheet or cutting board or something flat and movable with a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. (I’ve heard saran wrap works as well), and dump your crumbs onto it. Get another sheet of paper, cover the crumbs, and roll them out until they’re a quarter inch thick. I think mine might have been verging on 1/8-inch-territory, but pfft. More cookies.
Chill the dough/crumbs/whatever we’re going to call this for about thirty minutes. Do your dishes.
Seriously. Do the dishes. As of yet, few dishes have been dirtied, so it’ll take you, like, five minutes. Then you can go do whatever else you need to do while you wait for them to be done chilling. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit a couple of minutes before you get the dough thing out of the fridge.
THEN, when the timer goes off, use a glass (or a cookie cutter, or a stiletto knife because we’re all book nerds here and who am I to judge what you cut your cookies with?) to cut out the cookies. It literally doesn’t matter what you cut them into. I personally prefer the round-ish square this particular glass gives me, especially since I’m going to *spoiler* draw on them, but it’s up to you.
It’ll be very, very crumbly. Be careful. Bake the crumbs you don’t want to have to reroll and cut out again, and eat them all. The cut cookies can go on a parchment-papered-cookie sheet, and if you want you can chill them again for 10 minutes, but I always forget. Do what you will, my friends, but don’t eat the cookies just yet.
When they go into the oven, set the timer for fifteen minutes. They might need a little more or less time, depending on your oven, however thick you rolled the cookies, or what phase the moon is in at the moment, so keep an eye on them. Do not burn them, but get them nice and baked. They will bake a little bit longer once you take them out, so mind yourself and don’t go too long.
Let ’em cool. Do not touch. Do not eat. Go knit something.
Make this icing. It explains it better than I can, but feel free to halve or quarter it- you should be fine. Add enough water so that it’s a spreadable consistency, but so that it ‘melts’ into a semi-smooth surface (but not so much it would fall off the cookie entirely!). It’s a balance, so add about two tablespoons of the water at a time.
Once the cookies are cool, CAREFULLY ice them. I’ve used both a piping bag (watch the consistency here, too) and a knife, and both have their pros and cons. Go with whatever you’re most comfortable with, and try not to break too many of them. If/when you do break one, sometimes you can just let the icing dry over the crack and glue it together.
If you’re going to decorate them with food pens, you’ll want to wait a while- six hours at the absolute earliest, preferably an entire day (if you aren’t the only one around them, make sure that they are secured with a ‘do not eat’ sign) if you can stand it. Sit down with your food pens, cookies, and your favorite Schwabian audiobook, and don’t judge yourself too harshly. You can always eat it if it goes terribly wrong*.
I found the lemon shortbread recipe here, and bless them for coming up with it. The quality is consistently incredible (melt-in-your-mouth, and I’m not just using the cliche for the sake of it). It is very good, and that is all I can come up with right now.
*not, you know, speaking from personal experience or anything… ha… ha…
(some random pictures I thought looked artish: )
Did you try this recipe? Will you try this recipe? Have a good weekend!
Fun fact: I spent about a half hour
procrastinating life responsibilities trying to come up with a punnish name for this post and decided on the Fall Out Boy-esque title that you see now. A Darker Cookie of Magic? A Cookie Shade of Magic? A Darker Shade of Cookie? A Cookie Cookie of Cookie? I give up.