Are you oppressed by the current plague of rainbows and unicorns? Do you feel like you are being haunted by the candy-sweet specter of Lisa Frank? Today on Dear Darkling, subvert the trend with black rainbow cookies and iced Satanic sigils for your next gloomy graveyard picnic.
The process for making these delicious bites of darkness is really quite simple. Begin with your favorite sugar cookie recipe, but omit the baking soda. This will help the cookies maintain their shape during baking. Once the batter is mixed, divide it into several portions and begin tinting them with black food coloring. (No charcoal! Stop that!) Your largest portion of dough should be solid black, and each slightly smaller portion of dough a little lighter, ultimately resulting in the gradient you see below.
With your grey scale gradient complete, place your dough in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Once it is chilled, remove the black dough and use a small portion of it to create a snake (hiss, hiss) about 1/2″ in diameter. Place it on a plate and tuck it into the freezer for about five minutes.
While you are waiting, take the lightest grey on your palette and roll it into a thin sheet long enough to cover the black core in the freezer. Remove the core and wrap the light grey dough around it. Try to keep it as even as possible but don’t obsess too much. Pop it back in the freezer and repeat this process for each shade of grey dough, moving from light into darkness. So mote it be. To ensure adhesion of the layers, I use a little water to moisten the core before adding more dough. When your cookie reaches the desired dark dimension, use the black to create the final ring. Place the whole unit back in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Once your cookie log is thoroughly chilled, remove it from the freezer. Place it on a clean, hard surface—a frozen marble pastry board is nice but not necessary—and use a large knife to make beautiful rainbow slices. Be sure to cut downward in a single confident motion. Do not saw at the cookies! Rolling the log slightly with each cut will help it maintain its glorious shape. I cut my slices approximately 1/4″ thick. In the image above, you will see a few gaps between layers. Nil desperandum. Push them together gently with your warm fingers. Once you are pleased with your slices, place them back in the freezer; once chilled, they can go straight into a preheated oven.
Why freeze cookies before baking them? Like omitting baking soda from the recipe, freezing cookies helps them to keep their shape when they are in the oven. That’s how bakeries get those perfectly smooth edges on their sugar cookies. Now you can, too.
Remove your cookies when they are just barely beginning to brown and let them cool. You can decorate them with studs or make them into sandwich cookies. Stuff them with black-tinted frosting and roll them in candy caviar as I have done above. Dust them with edible silver “disco dust” for extra sparkle. Or if you have room in the freezer, make some Black Rainbow ice cream sandwiches. Not practical for a picnic, but let’s face it—you probably weren’t going out in the sun anyway.
You will invariably have dough leftover from your rainbow cookies. Use your scraps to make some dark sigil cookies and banish that unicorn once and for all. I rolled my scraps together and added a little black food coloring to ensure utter darkness. I dug around in the baking basket and found a heart and a star cutter. What can you do with those?
Behold the TST Cookie, filled with logic, critical thinking and, well, butter. I simply cut a heart and a star out of rolled dough, froze and baked them, and “glued” the star to the heart with royal icing. (For everything about royal icing, including vegan options, click here.) I piped the white outlines with thick royal icing and flooded it with black and red icing thinned down with egg white to give it that crispy sheen. I then added red candy caviar and a sprinkle of sass. A righteous cookie!
Or how about this delicious sigil from the Lesser Key of Solomon? It is the Goetic sign of Astaroth, an entity who makes an appearance in Disney’s 1971 film, Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Treguna, Mekoides, Trecorum Satis Dee!) as well as Hammer Horror’s 1976 film, To the Devil a Daughter.
The power of darkness is very, very tasty.
In fact, it is delicious.
Here is Black Philip made from a heart cookie, royal icing, and fondant appendages.
“Dear Darkling,” he whispers, “live deliciously.”