I don’t know if you know this, but my name is Diana.
Diana, like the princess, I always say. It helps keep people from calling me Diane. Not that I have anything against Diane, Diane is a very elegant name I think. It’s just not my name.
Why is this relevant? Well, because today I’m making whales. Get it? Princess of Whales.
So, this is not a challenge – just some random baking – and there might be a few more of these through the next few weeks while I catch back up again.
Maybe I’ll even make you read about other things I enjoy. What do you think about that, internet? This is MY BLOG and I DO WHAT I WANT. 😉
But for now, I’d like to talk about some cookies I made for my book club.
I facilitate a few book clubs as a part of my job, and I love it. But I very rarely have the forethought to provide snacks, like you might have at your home book club. But the book we read a few months ago, Why Read Moby Dick, by Nathaniel Philbrick, seemed to call out for a special treat. This is in part because I had the idea to do it, and in part because no one was particularly psyched to read this. Moby Dick itself is not a book that inspires a lot of excitement from most people. They were either forced to read it in high school and therefore have a healthy disdain for it, or they view it as a book they would have been forced to read and disdain it just the same. So I bribed them.
It took me only a quick Pinterest search to come up with this very clever, fairly easy project. This brilliance is the product of a blogger called Handmade Charlotte, who I will shortly begin following for other amazing ideas. I’ve copied her whale wholesale, so I owe it all to her.
The idea here is that you take a simple sugar cookie dough, cut it in half, and then stick the two halves together with a “waterspout” in between .
Her sugar cookie recipe is not one I’ve made. It calls for oil rather than butter, which I imagine helps prevent the cookie spreading- but that’s just a guess. It also calls for cream of tartar – most sugar cookies do, I think. But I am out! So a quick google search revealed that white vinegar (in double the original amount) makes an okay-ish replacement. I’ve certainly got plenty of that! In the end, you couldn’t tell at all. My next goal is going to be learning the scientific properties of what exactly cream of tartar does for baking.
So, I made the cookies, coloring the dough blue as Handmade Charlotte had. Someone pointed out later that I should have made them white for “the great white whale”. Oh well, hindsight.
In order to get the “whale” shape, you need a fairly substantial cookie that is then cut in half while still warm from the oven (if it cools too much, it will crack). I hand rolled teardrop shaped balls of dough and then flattened. It ended up being quite large. I might make a future cookie smaller, although it would make for more intricate work, it would be more friendly for the end user (read: the cookie eater).
I happened to have blue candy melt on hand, so I used that to “glue” the cookie halves together (rather a buttercream or icing, which would probably have been better).
I also had these candy eyes on hand. I had purchased them on a whim at Halloween; knowing they would come in handy one day…
This turned out to be a bit tricky. I needed to make sure the eyes were on the right place when I put the cookies together! I may or may not have gotten a few of these wrong the first time. You’ll never know for sure.
I also made literally hundreds of these white candy melt waterspouts. Thousands maybe. Millions. Ok, maybe not. But it felt like it.
They took a while to get just right, and work out how thick to make the candy so it wouldn’t shatter when you picked it up.
Now, the finishing touch…the whale of a tail.
Using a small heart cookie cutter, I removed the center of small cookies.
I CUT OUT THEIR HEARTS. I can’t believe I didn’t realize the horrible implications of this action at the time.
I attached the tail at an angle using a spoon. This was a little precarious for travel once the spoon was removed. So, I decided I would add the tails once I got to work, and then never had the time. I don’t think the members of my book club cared much whether there was a tail or not… they got the point. They were a big hit!
I was having some trouble with all the waste this recipe created – all those sugar cookies with their hearts cut out. But then I had a brilliant idea – I had a bunch of the blue candy melt leftover also, so I just filled the heart hollows with that, and it made a lovely little treat.
I wrapped a few up and sent them off with my husband for friends at his office, and took the rest in for my coworkers.
Have I mentioned that I can be bad for my coworkers diets? I’m fine with that, really.