Hey Chitlins! It’s been a crazy week here in the sprinkle toastery (official new name of my apartment) so my friend Sarah is back with another awesome baking project that I would never have the patience to attempt! I’ll be back next week with another TWD post and pictures from the Edible Book Contest I had the pleasure of attending (and winning an award from) on Monday.
Hello out there on the interwebs! Remember me, Sarah? I posted my awesome cake pops recipe in the first ever guest blog back in January and now I’m back for an encore performance! ::Starts slow clap::
Anyway, if you don’t remember me, here I am…
There are a few things you should know about me:
1) I’m a total dork.
2) I love that I am a total dork.
3) I find joy in spreading my total dorkiness around the world.
With that out of the way I can now tell you that I am absolutely, completely, 100% obsessed with The Hunger Games trilogy.
Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re thinking, “What makes you so original, Sarah? Everyone is obsessed with it these days.” Well, I like to think I pioneered the movement a bit. I read the books way back in 2010 and have introduced them/forced them upon dozens of people since then. I’ve lent my copies to so many people that I don’t even know where they are right now! (Don’t worry. Back up copies on my ipad – phew!)
So listen, I love The Hunger Games. I am so excited for the movie! I even woke up at 6 a.m. on the morning the tickets went on sale to make sure I could buy them for the opening night. Originally I was a little bummed about some of the casting choices, but as time goes on I start to feel better and better about them. Especially Liam Hemsworth.
With the premiere of the movie approaching, I felt it only appropriate to combine my love of The Hunger Games with my love of baking and create the dorkiest/coolest sugar cookies of all time. But before we get to the recipe, let me give you a little bit of THG background in case you haven’t read them (seriously, what are you waiting for?):
The books take place in Panem, a place that rose from the ashes of North America after it fell from war, disease, pollution, natural disasters, etc. Panem has 12 Districts and a Capitol. The Districts are mostly poor and they each provide a service or good to the Capitol, whose citizens are very rich, extravagant, and powerful. Our protagonist, Katniss Everdeen (yes, they all have weird names) lives in District 12, which is the coal mining District. 75 years ago there was a rebellion in Panem and the Capitol defeated the 12 Districts and completely destroyed the 13th District. Every year, as a brutal reminder of how powerless the Districts are, the Capitol hosts… you guessed it… the Hunger Games. In the Hunger Games, one male and one female “tribute” between 12-18 from each District are picked from a glass ball and they are forced to compete in a televised fight to the death that is completely controlled by the Capitol’s “Gamemakers.” We meet Katniss on “Reaping Day,” the day the names are drawn for that year’s Hunger Games. At the reaping, Katniss’ 12 year old sister, Prim, is selected as the tribute and Katniss boldly volunteers to replace her sister in the Games. As she is leaving for the Games and a near-certain death, she is reminded that each tribute is allowed to wear a token from their District and she is given a gold pin with a Mockingjay on it (fictional bird resulting from the mating of Mockingbirds and Jabberjays… long story). Throughout the course of the trilogy, without giving away any spoilers, Katniss’ Mockingjay pin becomes a very important symbol of hope in the Districts.
You have probably seen the image of this Mockingjay pin emblazoned on movie posters and book jackets all over the place, but in case you haven’t…
Aside from the Mockingjay being the most important symbol in all of the trilogy, there is a moment in Catching Fire (book 2) where a character has a small cookie with the Mockingjay on it that ends up being very important. Of course, my dork brain immediately thought, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to make the Mockingjay cookie for The Hunger Games premiere?” Yes. Yes it would be.
You will need:
A stand or handheld mixer
Rolling pin (or a clean, dry wine bottle)
Round cookie cutter (or an appropriate sized jar lid)
A print out of the Mockingjay pin
A squeeze bottle or piping bag/tools
Time and patience (This seems to be a recurring theme with all of my baked goods. Sorry.)
For the Cookies:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1) Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth
2) Beat in the eggs and vanilla
3) Mix in the flour, salt, and baking powder and use your hands to combine it all together
4) Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour (the longer, the better – up to 1 day)
5) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment or wax paper
6) Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick and use cookie cutter or jar lid to make circles
7) Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes
8) Take cookies off the baking sheet and allow to cool completely
For royal icing (again, lots of recipes ranging from simple to time consuming and annoying. I find that this very easy recipe from Alton Brown works just as well with fewer ingredients and less time):
1 1/2 ounces egg whites (about 2 eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners sugar
yellow and black food coloring
1) Beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy (about 1 minute)
2) Slowly add confectioners sugar and mix on low until combined
3) Turn mixer up to high and beat for 5-7 minutes until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks
4) Put half the mixture in a separate bowl and add yellow to one and black to another until desired color is reached
1) Cover the black icing and put in the fridge and put the yellow into a piping bag or squeeze bottle
2) Place print out underneath wax paper on a baking sheet
3) Fill in the stencils with the yellow royal icing (remember, you can change the piping tip for the thinner parts)
4) Allow the icing to dry entirely (a couple hours would be best. You could do this first and allow them to dry while cookies are baking and cooling.) [Note from Ace: I would recommend letting the transfers dry overnight just to be on the safe side]
5) Gently hold the icing transfer in your hand and slowly peel the wax paper away from the transfers
6) Put black icing in a squeeze bottles and pipe a circle around the outer edge of each cookie
7) Add a couple teaspoons of water to the remaining black icing to thin it out and flood the circles of each cookie
8) As you flood each cookie, gently press the transfer into the wet icing
9) Allow icing to dry for several hours before storing the cookies in an airtight container
10) Take some awesome pictures and impress all your friends! Like these:
Update: I saw The Hunger Games on opening night, my friends ate all my cookies, and all is right with the world. May the odds be ever in your favor!