One of the more pleasant surprises to come out of the Green Lantern title, specifically since there are now power rings for every color of the rainbow, has been the character Larfleeze, the solitary Orange Lantern. For such an initially one-dimensional character, he's filled out quite nicely in the title lately, in my opinion, providing comic relief to a book that often desperately needs it as well as some pointed social commentary (though I don't get why Hal Jordan thinks he looks like Gonzo from the Muppets. The snout? I dunno).
A few months ago, DC published Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special, which stood out to me for two reasons. First, I was surprised that the company actually used the word "Christmas" in the title of a book. Even when they publish books containing stories pertaining to Christmas, DC usually goes the safe route and calls it a Holiday Special or something of the sort in the name of inclusiveness, which I understand. Why they decided to buck that trend for this issue I don't know, especially when they missed an even better opportunity when a few years ago they changed the title of a book from DCU: Infinite Christmas Special to DCU: Infinite Holiday Special. "Infinite Christmas" worked SO much better when you consider it was a take-off on "Infinite Crisis", but such is the inner workings of a big company like DC.
Second, the creative team on the book actually managed to tell a good story while mixing in random activities like the one you see at the top of this post: a recipe for Orange Lantern cookies. I thought that the concept was novel enough that I decided to give it a try (as opposed to the Spider-Man wheatcake recipe I found a while ago), and, well, I took a lot of pictures in the process. So let's give it a go, shall we?
The recipe first calls for the following ingredients to make the cookies:
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1 teaspoon of orange zest
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- a dash of salt
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks
I left out the salt in this recipe, because...well, I'm not a fan and it's usually for taste, anyway.
After I got the ingredients ready, my first task was to make the orange zest, which is, of course, just the peel shredded. There's a kitchen tool made specifically for this (called a zester, naturally), but I said, "who needs to buy an extra tool when a cheese grater works just fine?" If I ever make these again, I might just spring for the zester, because while the grater worked eventually, it was hell to clean. Pure hell, I say! So if you're going to use a grater, be warned.
The directions continue:
1) Preheat your Earth-oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit ("Earth-oven"...clever)
2) In a big bowl beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate and orange zest. Then add an egg and vanilla until it looks delicious
3) In a small bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and a dash of salt together (again, I left out the salt in my batch)
4) Add the small bowl to the big bowl and stir until smooth. Mix in the white chocolate chunks
- I also had to add another 1/4 cup of flour at this stage as the dough was a bit sticky for me.
5) Drop small balls of dough across a greased cookie sheet
- I greased the cookie sheets with butter, and also had to slather my hands a few times with it, as the dough was still a little sticky, and I didn't want to just keep adding flour for fear of messing up the recipe.
The batter made 24 cookies, which is exactly how much the recipe calls for, interestingly enough. And this after I ate a few, uh, spoonfuls of the dough. If I had to do this again, I'd use three cookie sheets instead of two, as more than a few cookies expanded into a neighbor while baking. The cookies ended up pretty large.
6) Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown
- I had the cookies in for 12 minutes and that was enough for me.
7) Let the cookies cool as you mix the frosting
- As you can see, some of the cookies blobbed right into the one next to them. Bah! But overall, they came out well and looked good.
I moved the cookies to cooling racks and moved on to the frosting. The recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons orange concentrate, thawed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
The frosting directions continue:
1) Mix all the above until it looks like frosting!
- This may seem like a facetious remark, but it's true. Just keep mixing (with a spoon, not an electric mixer as with the cookie ingredients) until it looks right.
2) Spread the frosting across cooled cookies (it will melt otherwise!)
I had just enough frosting to cover all 24 cookies (I'm a bit of an overindulger, though, so this doesn't necessarily have to be the case for everyone). The instructions, unfortunately, end here without any mention of the Orange Lantern symbol that frankly make the cookie worth baking. It wasn't difficult to figure that part out, though, as the solution consisted of simply making more icing and adding some food coloring.
I cut the frosting ingredients to a third of what the original recipe called for (because I wouldn't need all that icing just for the decoration) and added food coloring in the following quantities: nine drops yellow, three drops red.
Oh, and then I just went ahead and used the remaining orange concentrate to make orange juice. "Waste not, want not"...I guess.
Once the new frosting was mixed, I took a small Ziploc bag (or perhaps the generic equivalent) and cut off one of the bottom corners. The actual cut was very small. Then I filled the bag with the icing and twisted it, forcing the icing down into the corner with the cut. It worked pretty well! While drawing the design on the cookies, I realized how much the Orange Lantern symbol just looks like an angry Larfleeze.
And here's the end result! Oh, and also a picture of my Mac. The cookies turned out pretty well, aesthetically, but there was only one test I was concerned with...the taste test:
And the verdict...well, they're okay. Honestly, my expectations were pretty low to begin with, as I'm not a huge fan of orange flavoring in things other than, uh, oranges. But the white chocolate is a big hit in my book, so they have something going for them. I don't know that I'd make these all the time, but I'd be willing to try them again. Plus the look is really the key, here - getting an excuse to make comic book related cookies is enough of a reason to take the time to fire up the oven and get to work.
I do think that these will be my new convention cookies for this coming season. Really, regardless of how they taste (like I said, they're okay), it's sure to catch attention...so if you wander past the Wagon Wheel Comics booth in 2011, come get a cookie. They're made with love and oranges.