Themes, love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here to stay (because I love ’em and since I’m in control here, you’ll just have to go with the flow on this one 😉 ).
One thing I’ve kept meaning to get back to because I love how much it allows me to let my creativity flag fly, was creating desserts that look like other food items (you can find an original blog post here that Kevin had included when he’d first set up this blog for me. There is no recipe there sadly, just some vague directions and guidelines for how to achieve what I did, but it’ll give you an idea of what I’m talking about). Now that it’s April (aka “The Month of Fools”…ok, just day of fools, but I’m turning it into a month, because if the Darwin awards have taught us anything, a fool is born every millisecond, and we definitely need more then a day to, uh, celebrate them? 😉 ), I thought, what better time to do a little eye-trickery and tom foolery?
There are so many possible things you can create in this category of optical misdirection though, that I most definitely felt like a theme month was in order. Even then, limiting myself to four things was a bit difficult. I buckled down though, and managed to do what I’m usually incredibly terrible at….making decisions. Decision paralysis, not sure if that’s a thing, or if it’s even something that’s included in the DSM-(whatever roman numeral they’re at now), but I really think it should be. In some ways, going out to “regular” restaurants and being vegan is not all bad. Your options are somewhat reduced, making the decision on what to order a bit of a simpler process (although then if I go to a vegan place, it’s incredibly overwhelming. What?? I can order anything on this whole menu?!! Uhhh….uhhh…I think I need another 5 hours here to make a choice. Can you just bring me a little of everything, but only charge me the cost of one thing? No? Hmmm…you know, for a vegan place, you guys are pretty stringent and unaccommodating 😉 ).
Although that being said, I somewhat cheated for this first week by making two things. In my defense though, they’re both cocktail party, appetizer-y type foods, so I felt like it was fair to pair them together. Onion rings and cocktail wienies, don’t you just feel like they belong together? I mean, they’re both somewhat circular shaped (one being the outside and one being the inside of a circle. You could maybe make a game of trying to toss the cocktail wienie through the onion ring. Sure it gets a bit phallic, but fun times would still be had by all 😉 ….I’m reaching here I know 🙂 ).
The decision you have to make in this situation now though is…is it dinner? Is it dessert? (is it both? Maybe I’m saving you from having to make two decisions since now it’s like dinner and dessert in one. Sure there’s likely zero nutrients here, but think of the stress you’ll be saving yourself. Stress isn’t healthy either you know 😉 ) .
Yield: 2 dozen cookies (1 dozen “rings” and 1 dozen “cocktail wienies”)
- 12 Twizzlers (or as many as you want to make)
- 2-3 tablespoons peanut butter (optional, but ads a nice pb+j flavour that I quite enjoyed)
- 12 toothpicks
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk or liquor flavour of choice
- 1-2 cups crushed cinnamon toast crunch cereal (or any light coloured cereal would likely work here. Corn flakes might be nice as well)
- 1 package of marzipan (8oz)
- Sugar cookie recipe of choice (I used this one from a couple of weeks ago, but used only white sugar and didn’t toast the flour so that the cookie would look whiter)
- a few drops of beet juice or food colouring (I will admit that I used a powdered food colouring this time because I didn’t want to add to much liquid and didn’t happen to have beet juice on hand, but it should work as well).
- toothpicks (12-15 depending how many cocktail wienies you end up with)
- brown sugar
- For the “onion” rings – if using, spread a thin layer of peanut butter down one side of each twizzler. Keeping the peanut butter on the inside, bend the twizzler into a ring shape and stick a toothpick through each end to secure (or if you’re more talented then me, cut off both ends and fit one end inside the other, securing with an icing sugar water paste. I tried this and was just way too inept, so I gave up).
- Line a baking sheet or plate with wax or parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and whatever liquid you’re using. Place crushed cereal in another bowl
- Dip a twizzler ring in icing sugar mixture making sure it’s fully coated. Then dip in crushed cereal until fully coated as well. Place on parchment lined plate/ baking sheet.
- Refrigerate until coating is firm. Best stored outside the fridge in my opinion, otherwise I just thought the twizzlers got too hard to chew (but do whatever floats your boat).
- For the “cocktail wienies” – preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat (or grease pan)
- Make sugar cookie dough and set aside. Using your hands, knead colouring of choice into marzipan until desired hue is reached.
- Break off small pieces of marzipan and roll into cocktail wienie sized logs. I used the backside of a butter knife to score lines in the end of the marzipan to look hot dog-like. You could probably use a toothpick or something as well.
- Roll out your cookie dough and cut into thin strips. Wrap each marzipan “hot dog” in a strip of cookie dough. I found it’s actually better to do a couple of wrap arounds with the dough. When I baked the ones that I wrapped more thinly, the marzipan tended to melt a bit and created a flat bottom to the “hot dog”.
- Place on baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes (I know that’s a weird range, but basically keep a close watch on them and remove the minute the sugar cookie dough starts to even vaguely brown, or if the marzipan starts melting all over the place).
- Remove from the oven and insert a toothpick in the center of each cocktail wienie.
- For the “BBQ” dipping sauce – whisk together jam, molasses and brown sugar (use amounts to your taste liking).