Book Review: Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals by Dinah Fried

Fictitious Dishes:  An Album of Literatures Most Memorable Meals

I recently picked up Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals by Dinah Fried with the expectation that I’d soon be trying out some new recipes.

I was mistaken.

So my initial reaction to this book was one of disappointment.

But I was still intrigued, as I usually am with anything related to either novels or food {and this had both!} so I sat down and began to read it from the beginning.

I found the author’s description of her process to be quite entertaining, and I think I would have enjoyed hearing more about her story.  After all, she chose some books with which I was completely unfamiliar and some times she chose foods that I wasn’t able to identify or match to the descriptions.  So even though I enjoyed the tidbits of facts on each page, I would have liked a meatier {hehe} explanation.

There were a wide variety of books documented here, from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Secret Garden, pictured above, to others like Moby Dick, Lolita, and American Psycho.  I liked finding so many different titles, but there are so many, many more – endless, really – options for inclusion in a book like this, that I kind of found it too short.

I want to make sure that I stress that I really did like this book.  But I also want to stress that it’s a coffee table book, not a cookbook.  Gazing at the creamy chowder and crusty bread in the rustic setting of the author/photographer’s imagining of Moby Dick left me craving a warm soup to combat the dreary, rainy weather I could hear in my memory.

Which also made me realize that the book had accomplished its goals.  The author tells us that she hopes her work will “transport [us] back into fictional worlds,” and for the books we haven’t read, that her photographs are there to “offer a little taste of the stories.”

So not a cookbook.  An art book.  A photography book.  A recipe book, but not recipes of food.  Recipes of the subconscious lingerings that great books leave behind in us.

And once I understood the purpose of the book, I was able to devour it {snicker} with relish {I could do this all day…} and find amusement in the playfulness of the props and the colorful culinary interpretations.

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Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

These Lemon Cake Mix Cookies are super, super amazing!

Seriously delicious.

It has something to do with the softness you already get from the using the cake mix to make the cookies, PLUS it’s even more amazing when you use cake mix that has pudding in the mix.

Dude.

You gotta try these.  Even if you only kinda, sorta like lemon at all.  If you love lemon – well – these will blow you away!  {Trust me:  my coworkers didn’t leave a crumb behind!}

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

These are also an easy dessert that you can throw together at the last minute when guests show up for a surprise visit, or you’re just suddenly craving something sweet and lemony.

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Stir together the cake mix and a bit of sugar, then stir in some eggs and oil.

Easy peasy.  And smells amazing!

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

I used teaspoonfuls to make mine.

You could make them a little bigger if you wanted, but I find this to be a perfect size.

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

And the icing is another easy step.

Just mix it all up in a little bowl or cup and drizzle it over the cookies.

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

It only takes a minute to mix the icing and another minute or two to drizzle it over the cookies with a fork.

Totally worth it.

It really makes the cookies extra special.

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Doesn’t that gooey-ness look ah-mazing??

I love these things!

Please share your own pics when you make them here or on my Facebook page!!

{Scroll down to print the recipe.}

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Ingredients:

1 box (15 oz.) lemon cake mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

Icing:
1 cup confectionery sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vegetable oil until fully combined and smooth.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the cookies are set on top and just barely starting to brown around the edges.

Cool on baking pans for two minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

Using a fork, mix all ingredients for icing in a small bowl or measuring cup, starting with 1 tablespoon of water, and adding about a 1/4 tablespoon of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency. It should still be a little thick, but drip easily from your fork.

Drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies, making sure your working space beneath the cookies is lined with waxed or parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Allow icing to set. Store covered. Makes 3 dozen.

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Print the free PDF copy of the recipe:  Easy Iced Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Enjoy!

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Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies {take two}

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

These Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies were a lot of fun to hand out on Easter!

They were HUGE, though.

I totally didn’t realize how big the Wilton Comfort-Grip Bunny Cookie Cutter was when I bought it.

Still cute.  Just huge.

And since I used the same recipe I made last year, you can see how I also used a smaller cookie cutter the last time I made these Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies.

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

There are only a few ingredients, and you’re really just mixing everything together in a big bowl, so you wind up with something that looks like you spent a TON of time in the kitchen even though it’s easy to put together.

And I looooooooove making these with the spice cake mix.

Makes the finished cookie taste kind of like gingerbread men.  But not exactly.  More cinnamon-y.

Which is also why I add cinnamon to the cream cheese icing that goes in the middle of the cookies.

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

Here is the butter and cream cheese all mixed together {above}.

It’s best if these are at room temperature before you start mixing them, to ensure creaminess.

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

The cookie dough will be a little soft, so you need to form it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge for at least a half hour before rolling it out.

You could keep it in the fridge overnight, but it may need to sit on a counter for a few minutes before rolling, if that’s the case.

And you need plenty of flour on your prep space and on the rolling pin.  So the dough doesn’t stick.

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

The cookies should be baked on parchment paper.

I use textured aluminum pans that cookies don’t stick to, so I don’t always bother with the paper if I’m feeling lazy.

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

I usually mix the icing while the cookies are cooling.  But you could do it earlier if you wanted to.

The important part is to make sure the cookies are fully cooled before you add the icing.

Otherwise it’ll melt.

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

You’ll want to add plenty of icing to the inside of the cookies.

Don’t be stingy!  ;)

And press down the top cookie over the icing, firmly but gently, to be sure it will stick.

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

Don’t those look gorgeous?

I drew on some whiskers with melted white chocolate and added a pink M&M for a nose.

I guess I could have gone further and done eyes and ears, too, but what I was looking for was simplicity.

You don’t even really need to add the extra decoration if you don’t want to.

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

And in case you missed where I posted it earlier, here’s the link to my recipe:

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

Spiced Easter Bunny Sandwich Cookies

Enjoy!

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Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies

Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies at RoamingRosie.com

These book-shaped cookies are soooooo cute!

And I’m a total sucker for cute food.

Anyway, I made these for a book party I was throwing.  You know, because cookies that looked like books seemed like an appropriate snack for a party celebrating books.  :)

The best part?

{Have you read my blog?  Do ya know what I’m gonna say next??}

They were easy!

Cute + easy + yummy = AWEsome!

The idea came from Catholic Cuisine when I found a picture of their Bible cookies on Pinterest.  I just made mine a little differently.

Here are the step-by-step pictures:

Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies at RoamingRosie.com

As you can see from the above picture, I just cut off one end of some Newton cookies and – just like that – the cookies already looked like little novels.

I used the Apple Cinnamon Newtons and Blueberry Newtons, but any flavor will work.

To amplify the effect, I added some icing in a pattern that would make them look a little bit more like fancy hardcover books:  a line down the front to indicate where the spine would start, 4 little lines across the spine in two groups, and a rectangle over the front cover.

And then, for fun, I wrote some words on some of them.  You don’t really need to do that, but I really got into it.

Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies at RoamingRosie.com

To make the icing, all you really need to do is mix a little water or milk into some confectionery sugar, but I actually used the same recipe that I use for my Soft Sugar Cookies and Mini Soft Iced Gingerbread Cookies.

Then you just let the cookies sit for a couple of minutes to let the icing harden, before storing them in a closed container or displaying them on a tray to serve.

They’ll keep for a few days, so you can make them ahead of time.

Easy {No Bake} Book Shaped Cookies at RoamingRosie.com

And they’re totally perfect to enjoy with a cup of warm tea or coffee and a good {you know} book.

To find out more about the amazing books at our party, visit BooksWithRosie.com!

Enjoy!

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Almond Wreath Cookies

Almond Wreath Cookies

This is another of my favorites when it comes to Christmas baking.

These Land O’ Lakes Almond Wreaths are a soft, flavorful, fun-shaped cookie.

They take a little effort to construct, but once you get the hang of things, they’re pretty quick to bust out.

Almond Wreath Cookies

The use of confectionery sugar in the batter gives the finished cookies a smooth texture.

Almond Wreath Cookies

They are a little soft, though, so you have to wrap up the dough and refrigerate it before shaping the cookies.

But while they’re in the fridge, it’s a good time to clean up the kitchen or even make a different type of Christmas cookie.

Almond Wreath Cookies

I follow the directions given in the recipe for making my wreaths:  Shape one-inch balls, cut balls in half, roll each half into a rope, twist the two rope pieces together and form the twisted rope into a circle.

Again, it takes a minute or two to get the hang of it, but it’s not nearly as daunting as it looks!

Almond Wreath Cookies

I don’t dye my dough.  You could make the cookies green, but I never do.

In the original recipe, they’re left uncolored and decorated with white icing and white sprinkles.  I change that up a bit by using green sugar sprinkles on top of the icing.  I like the look of it.

Almond Wreath Cookies

After brushing the icing on two or three cookies, add the sprinkles before the icing hardens.

If using a larger decoration, like the sugar pearls I used, add them first, and then add the finer textured sugar sprinkles.

You could also use regular nonpareils for a more colorful look.

Almond Wreath Cookies

This recipe can be found on the Land O’ Lakes website: Land O’ Lakes Almond Wreaths

And if you thought they looked scrumptious, you may also want to check out these:

Spritz Butter Cookies

Soft Iced Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies

Strawberry Cream Cheese Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Ultimate Norwegian Spice Cookies

Elf-Sized Chocolate Chip Confetti Cookies

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

Yum!

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Spritz Butter Cookies

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

I looooove Spritz cookies!

Of course, I usually just refer to them as “butter cookies” since I’ve found there are a lot of people who have never heard of “spritz.”

Which is a shame, really.

These cookies are almost entirely made of butter and sugar.

There isn’t much in life that’s better than that.

And one of the reasons I made sure to share this recipe is that I recently did a search for spritz and every recipe I found was different than the one I use.  I LOVE these cookies!  The thought of not sharing them with the world was just too terribly depressing.

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

These are totally a favorite of mine at Christmas.  I may make them a few times a year, but they’re definitely always part of my Christmas baking.

And my favorite way to make these little guys around Christmastime is by dying the dough green and making little Christmas trees.  It’s easy but super cute.

I also tend to make some red and leave some plain, too, which you’ll see in the pictures.

The easiest way to add the food coloring is to add it into the butter mixture, before you add in the flour.  I usually toss it in with the egg.

But if you’re not planning to dye the entire batch one color {you can see some plain dough in these photos – I did it half plain and half red}, then you can just massage some color into the finished dough with a gentle hand kneading.

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

There are a lot of cookie presses out there.

I’ve tried quite a few.

I’ve attempted the electronic version and tackled the pump handle ones, too… but they’re all just plastic pieces of crap, in my opinion.

There’s nothing like my mom’s old copper cookie press.

That said, if you don’t have one, the closest I can come to making a recommendation is the OXO Good Grips one,and only because it has a lot of positive reviews on Amazon.  But you’ll have to judge for yourself.

And please – PLEASE – if you know of a good cookie press, please tell me!!!

The good news?  You don’t actually need a cookie press to make these butter cookies.  Sometimes I just roll the dough into 1-inch balls and dip them in nonpareils.  You could also roll them out and cut them out with a fancy roller, kind of a la my easy cut out cookies.

But I usually use my press because they’re just so darned adorable.

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Another fun option for these little cookies are making cherry wreaths.

These are another big hit and look lovely on cookie platters.

You simply cut a maraschino cherry in half and add it to a wreath-shaped cookie before baking.

If you didn’t dye the dough, you can also add some green sugar sprinkles.  Or some nonpareils for decoration.

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

I like the little swirl-looking cookies in red because they remind me of poinsettias.  :)

The sprinkles on those are the white sugar pearls.

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

And here they are baked.

Look almost the same as before they were baked, don’t they?

They’re just so pretty … which, if you didn’t know, also makes them taste better.  :)

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

And the trees again.  These are totally my favorites – so cute!

You could also take the time to add a little star to the tops of the trees, if you like.  Sometimes I use daisy sprinkles for stuff like that.

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

When you cook the spritz with cherries on them, you’ll notice a slight darkening of the dough around the cherry.

That’s from the cherry juice.

It’s part of what makes those particular cookies so good, but it also will make them soft.

This is awesome if you like soft cookies – but you need to keep it in mind.  These cookies get REALLY soft over time, so if you’re planning to serve them more than a couple of days past making them, then go ahead and freeze them the day you make them.  Then pull them out the day you’re going to serve them.  I also store these cookies separate from the other spritz that don’t have cherries.

Oh – and below you can see most of what I made out of two batches of the recipe.

I also made some dog-shaped cookies out of the plain {non-dyed} dough.  My girls love these.  :)

Spritz Butter Cookies with FREE Printable Recipe at RoamingRosie.com

Spritz Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cream together butter and sugar with a mixer. Blend in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture.

Put dough into a cookie press and follow manufacturer’s directions for making cookies. Press the cookies out onto ungreased cookie sheets. Decorate with sprinkles or cherries, if desired.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges.

Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely. Store covered. Cookies can be sprinkled with powdered sugar just before serving, if desired.

[Color Option: mix gel or liquid food coloring into the batter for colored cookies. You can do this by adding the color to the butter mixture before adding the flour, or, if you only want to color a portion of the dough, by massaging it into the finished dough.]

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And click here to print the free PDF version of the recipe:  Spritz Butter Cookies

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White Chocolate Confetti Blondies

White Chocolate Confetti Blondies

These White Chocolate Confetti Blondies are a fun way to add some color to a sweet treat!

Plus, sprinkles are always a hit in our house.

I have to make sure my girls don’t eat all the sprinkles before we can stir them into the batter.  :)

White Chocolate Confetti Blondies

It’s a simple recipe, and easy to make by hand.  {I’m always happy when I don’t have to wash a mixer.}

I always have colorful cake sprinkles on hand, and the ones you see here are this kind.

White Chocolate Confetti Blondies

The end result is pretty sweet.

Not overly-sweet, but more of a party food than a eat-every-day snack.

White Chocolate Confetti Blondies

It’s quick, too – just stir everything together, smush it into a pan, and bake!

And don’t they look just full of gooey gorgeousness???

White Chocolate Confetti Blondies

White Chocolate Confetti Blondies

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup colorful sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9 inch square baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar, butter, and vanilla extract with a mixer until creamy. Beat in the egg. Stir in the chocolate chips and sprinkles.

Press mixture into baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

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To print the free PDF copy of this recipe, click here:  White Chocolate Confetti Blondies

Enjoy!

Roaming Rosie Signature