Saturday, 10 April 2010

An Edible Book

Mothers are familiar with last-minute baking demands. They expect them more from small children then from gallumphing married daughters who bounce into their sitting-rooms shouting, "I have to make an edible book!"

I was invited to an Edible Book party, a recent trend meant to mark early April, and I forgot. Originally I had the clever but expensive and time-consuming idea of having a bakery print out a photo of the Seraphic Singles book cover in cake icing, as they now know how to do. (Photo-cakes look vile, but they could definitely look like books.) However, I forgot, so I cudgeled my brains this morning for another idea. Then it struck me that I could just spell out SERAPHIC SINGLES with cookies or iced cup-cakes or meat pies.

But the kitchen is not mine, and there is no meat around, and I hate making icing, so I decided to make letter-shaped cookies. As yet I don't know how they will turn out, for this is a rolled cookie recipe, and the dough is currently chilling in the fridge.

You have to use a rolled/icebox cookie recipe for letters. Whereas I had dreams of just pushing spoonfuls of sticky peanut butter cookie dough into letter shapes, I know very well that drop cookies just naturally turn into rounds, and if you try to make them look like something, they look like nothing on earth. So if you want nice shapes, you just have to start in advance, and make use of fridge and rolling pin.

Here is the recipe I used, but I can't guarantee it. It is from my dad's handy-dandy Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book (c. 1960) and is there called "Mary's Sugar Cookies". Let's hope it turns out!

Edible Letters

1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

1. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl.
2. Mix in egg, vanilla and almond extract.
3. Mix dry ingedients and then add to first bowl and blend.
4. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. (But I only have one hour, so we will see!)
5. Heat over to 375 F.
6. Divide dough into two and roll out to 3/16" thick.
7. Cut with cooky cutter, says the recipe. (I am going to cut out letters with a knife.)
8. Sprinkle cookies with sugar and place on baking sheets.
9. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or "until delicately golden"

Makes 5 dozen 2-inch cookies, apparently. Me, I just need letters.

Don't make this recipe until I return with an update!

Update: They turned out quite well! The one caveat is that they are fragile, and you must take great care in packing them if you are taking them across town.


some guy on the street said...

Hmm... does shortbread fall within the genus of rolled cookie? Although it is also quite fiddly. You'd want to make extra of all your letters, in case some broke... *and* I guess shaping them would be tricky, too, having to start in a crumbled state and yet make them even.

... Don't mind me, just thinking through the keyboard!

Seraphic said...

Yes, shortbread counts as a rolled cookie. My mum suggested shortbread at first, but I didn't want to get blisters. I find mixing shortbread dough a very blistery process.

Meredith said...

Oh my gosh! I just read about baking edible letters in Erasmus of all sources. Apparently 16th century moms would teach their kids the alphabet with cookies. I found this adorable.

I love any kind of baked good with almond extract. Mmm!

Seraphic said...

My Mum and I think that is so cool, Meredith! What did Erasmus say about them?