It’s the holidays! That means that many of us are awash in string lights, stress, and gift guide brainstorming. But what if you’re broke? Or what if you have lofty ideas of being less materialistic this year? Or maybe you’d like to be the all-mighty Queen and/or King of Christmas cookies when you roll in to spend the Yuletide with the fam?
Pssssh, I got you.
Let me show you how to make simple, adorable nerdy shortbread confections. Sugar cookies a la dorque! But throw those cookie cutters away! They limit your options and your creativity, and cookies from the heart are better than cookies from the box any day. Ask your grandma about it. She’ll know what’s up.
So, first things first.
Mixing Up A Decent Dough
If you want to make shaped sugar cookies, you have to lean on a recipe that’s heavy on the eggs and flour, and less so on the butter. This proportional mindset will lead you to a dough that is thick and ideal for rolling out. My personal recipe includes 4 eggs, 5 cups of flour, 1 1/2 cups of butter, and an ample amount of raw sugar and vanilla infused with bourbon. Take what you will from that, but I guarantee that the result will make your taste buds sing some sweet, sweet music.
Anyway, once you let the dough chill, find a flat surface and roll your dough out on wax paper until it’s about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick.
Clearly, I’m too ill-prepared for wax paper, so I just covered my kitchen table with flour and called it good.
Cutting Out Pliable Shapes
Be simple with your shapes! I don’t know how to stress this enough. You can pick anything elaborate from your fandom, but you handle detailing in the icing stage! What is the basic geometric form of the geeky icon you want to make into a cookie. A square? A circle? Cut that out first.
Here you can see me utilizing the edge of the dough too. Make sure to plan out space for maximum cookie production and minimal re-rolling.
I bet you can guess what that basic shape is. Go on, stare and think. It’ll come to you.
If you guessed the TARDIS, you would be correct! “But wait!” you might say, “Why are the top tiers so over-exaggerated?”
This is an oven. You bake stuff in it. Preferably while looking like a drunky-drunk McDrunk pants.
(What’s in that glass? My holiday special. If you ask nicely, I’ll give you the mixology.)
So you got some shapes, right? Dubious shapes. Shapes of which you’re not sure if they belong to a dwarven adventuring party or a Flux Capacitor.
Now this is some serious, professional shit coming at you. When it comes to icing, you don’t just slather it on with a spoon. You need to rustle up yourself some pastry bags. Or, if your kitchen is jank like mine, you simply cut the tip off of one of the corners of a gallon zip-lock so you can create a nozzle, stuff the icing in there, and pipe it out in a perfect line.
As you can see, I’m using a large food dye pallet in order to mix my colors. It allows for a greater spectrum. Should I want to annoy myself by differentiating between cobalt and royal blue, I can. And it does wonders for making geek-accurate confectioneries.
When you go about decorating, find the most iconic symbols and colors for your geeky item/character that you’re immortalizing in icing. It’ll be more general, but it’ll translate much better on a cookie. If you get too over-zealous, you’ll end up with a mountain of frosting and sprinkles that resembles Snuffleupagus vomit. So here are some simple cookie designs I made for your benefit and use:
The Illogical Blushing Spock Cookie
My design for Illogically Blushing Spock was really simple. I cut out a shape that favored his beloved pointy ears, and when it came to decorating, I focused on his hairline and eyebrows. Also, since Vulcans famously have copper-based hemoglobin instead of iron-based, I gave him a little green glow on his cheeks to signify that blush I always wanted to see (you know he had to hide it whenever Kirk entered the bridge).
Finn from Adventure Time
Again, the layout for this one was easy-peasy. When cutting the foundation, I made sure to include the ears for Finn’s hat. Then, when it was cooled from the oven, all I had to do was apply some white frosting and mimic that Pendleton Ward smile.
Something more simple:
You cut out a triangle. Maybe even a lopsided triangle. Pipe in three yellow triangles inside of that, add a dash of gold glitter-sprinkles, and voila! You can eat the power of the goddesses Nayru, Din, and Farore!
Wanna go even simpler?
Gotta catch em’ all! With a circle colored half red, half white, and a hard outline to give you a sense that there’s a button in the middle of your cookie that will cause it to open and reveal a monster who’s been living in there all along. “It’s bigger on the inside!” Oh wait, that’s from something else. Something else with…
This isn’t as clean-looking as the others. I gave in to the Snuffleupagus vomit. But the shape turned out well and the windows were great before I got all crazy with the panels and knocked some purple glitter-sprinkles all over it (It’s time stuff? From the vortex?). I DID include a fruit imperial as the blinky light on top, and used cake sprinkles for the impression of the Police Box text, so I feel proud of my weird little self anyway.
The point is, however, that you can make whatever you want with these methods! I had friends over for a cookie baking party, and they made everything from “knock-off” Ghostbusters logos, to the deathly hallows, to a bloody Spongebob Squarepants (one of these things is not like the other…). There’s endless fun to be had when you cut your own nerdy cookie shapes. So have at it! Make your holidays bright!
Merry Christmas, you saucy weirdos! Or should I say, flirty nerds.
Check out our other awesome holiday content as NBF celebrates the joy of being a geek during present season!