Friday, August 2, 2019

Warren G. Harding's Death Cookies

As everyone knows, today is the anniversary of Warren G. Harding's death. I hadn't planned on doing anything special to commemorate the occasion, other than to wear my "Warren G. Harding: He was president before it was Coolidge" shirt, of course. But then about two weeks ago, I discovered the existence of a Harding cookie cutter, and that changed my plans.

You might think a Warren G. Harding cookie cutter is a very odd thing to create, and you would be absolutely correct. The cookie cutter is the latest undertaking from J.D. and Kate Industries, the geniuses behind the website and book Hottest Heads of State, and creators of candles you never knew you needed, like the War-of-1812-scented one.

Their new etsy shop, Poison Cookie, takes that quirkiness into the kitchen. When I checked the other day, Harding was the only political/presidential cookie cutter available, but they now have some other options, including Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. They also have Calvin Coolidge, who I have to say is a perfect choice for a cookie cutter due to his scant facial features.

Needless to say, I got one of the Harding cutters and whipped up a batch of commemorative death cookies. When you work with 3D cookie cutters, you can't use just any sugar cookie recipe--you need to use one that won't spread. Poison Cookie provides a recipe, which I used with some minor modifications. (Two tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of lemon extract seemed like a lot, so I went with 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of almond. I also didn't mix it nearly as much as they said to. My dough came together quickly into a lovely Play-Doh like consistency, and I didn't think more mixing would improve it.)

It's also important to roll the dough out to exactly 1/4" to ensure that the cookie cutter will cut through completely at the edges, but won't go through all the way in the detailed areas. I'm terrible at judging dough thickness on my own, which is why I have a rolling pin that measures the right thickness for me.

I mixed up the dough, rolled it out, and found the cookie cutter worked beautifully---no sticking! Once the cookies were on my cookie sheets, I put them in the fridge for ten minutes since cold dough is also less likely to expand. Then I threw the Warrens in the oven for about 15 minutes.

I was quite pleased with the results, but I also thought the eyebrows could use a pop of color, so I planned on brushing some black food coloring on them. Then I discovered that I have every color of food coloring except black. I momentarily considered green eyebrows, then decided I'd rather just eat the cookies.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting these to taste great. Fun cookies are usually more about the aesthetics than the flavor. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find that these cookies actually taste really, really good! I bet they'd be great with lemon, too. (A Rutherford B. Hayes cookie cutter would make for a perfect lemon cookie. Just saying.)

The other nice thing about the Warren G. Harding cookies is that they could pass for Robert Mueller cookies if you ever need them to.

In short: I'm sorry you died, Warren G. Harding, but you make for a tasty memorial cookie.