As a child of the 80s and 90s, I grew up with Disney movies. I acted out elaborate dance routines (by myself) to music from The Lion King. I watched Aladdin every day for over a week. I’m fairly certain I still have a majority of the movie memorized (which probably explains why I can’t remember rather more important facts, like phone numbers or dates). While many of the movies I watched had the classic princesses in it, I’m grateful that I missed the princess phenomenon, of which I highly disapprove.
Besides, those were never my favorite movies. I loved Beauty and the Beast, it’s true, but mainly because Belle had her nose stuck in a book as much as I did. And I liked the Beast better before he transformed back into a prince, not to mention how much better the household staff were as household objects. I’ve never been a princess kind of girl. I always enjoyed the adventure parts of the stories better. I barely watched Snow White,Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty. I preferred Scar, the Magic Carpet, and underwater worlds. I preferred gifts of libraries.
While I can’t honestly say that Alice in Wonderland was ever one of my favorites (book or movie), I did enjoy the upside-down, topsy-turvy world filled with darkness and wonder. It was, at least, interesting. A girl falls into a fantasy world, and it isn’t all sweetness and light and singing birds. You (and Alice) are never quite certain what’s going on or what is going to happen next. It all seems very much like a dream
Which leads me to the first book I read for the “Dirty Book Club” I’m a part of. I missed out on the first book, a non-fiction work, but the second book chosen was Lost Girls, a (graphic) graphic novel by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie. And believe me, we are not in Kansas anymore, kids. The premise is that Dorothy Gale (of Wizard of Oz), Wendy Darling (of Peter Pan), and Alice (of Alice in Wonderland) meet up right before the events of World War I at a hotel in Austria. They tell their stories of sexual awakening, abuse, and molestation, which they have turned into their own private fantasy worlds (i.e. Alice’s White Rabbit is a family friend who gives her alcohol and molests her, Dorothy’s Cowardly Lion is a shy farm boy she seduces, and Wendy’s Captain Hook is a deformed pervert).
While this story effectively served to forever brutally mutilate beloved childhood stories, I can’t deny the brilliance of the notion. Each of the three girls have a fantasy world. Fantasy worlds are a basic coping method, particularly for sexual trauma. Plus, placing the three women against the backdrop of World War I, considered to be the end of American innocence, doubles the loss of innocence the stories portray. Each of the girls’ stories are illustrated in different manner. Wendy’s stories are shaped like tall, Victorian windows. Dorothy’s are long and low, like the Kansas skyline. And Alice’s are oval, like her looking glass.
It was these little details that, for lack of a better word, endeared me to the otherwise unendearing story. The stories are appalling, and go from slightly offensive to all-out repugnant. But the psychology, setting, illustrations, and clever twists redeem the rest and give, at least, a reason for the graphic illustrations. For the most part.
For our discussion meeting, I wanted to bring something appropriate to the topic, without being, well, vulgar. So I fell back on the more innocent side of the stories with the classic, child-friendly version of Alice in Wonderland. Lost Girls referenced the “Eat Me,” sweets from the original Alice story, though in an entirely different way, during a debauched scene that Alice's perverse mentor involves her in. "He had pellets. He had laudanum. I think even the cake we had was opiated. Everything unfurled magnificently. [...] I didn't know if I was a very little girl or a giant woman."
A trusty Google search led me to these adorable sugar cookies straight out of the Disney version of Alice, which changes the cake of the book into delightful cookies. It was perfect. Even though the Alice story was never a favorite, I always loved the idea of the little “Eat Me” “Drink Me” bottles and sweets. It’s an image that’s stuck with me, potential proof of my long-dormant inner foodie.
I can’t say that making these was easy, but I liked how they turned out (though the originator's turned out far better), and they went so well with the topic. They would be amazing for an Alice-themed party, and I think could be simplified, because really, writing with a toothpick was kindof ridiculous.
"Eat Me" Cookies
(makes approximately 2 doz cookies, depending on size of cookie cutters)
adapted from Diamonds for Dessert
1 c. butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pink and peach food coloring
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 c. powdered sugar
4 tsp. milk, approx
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp almond extract
Red, pink, purple, and green food coloring
Pink and purple round sprinkles
To make the sugar cookie dough, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, incorporating completely. Whisk together the dry ingredients in another bowl, and then slowly add to the butter mixture to form the dough.
Bring the dough together into a ball and use a pastry cutter or knife to separate into four equal parts. In a bowl, add a bit of pink food coloring to 1/4 of the dough to form the desired shade of pink.
In another bowl, add peach food coloring (or a combination of pink and orange) to the second 1/4 of dough to make the peach coloring.
In a third bowl, add the melted chocolate to the third 1/4 of dough to make the chocolate dough.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place the cut-out cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake, in batches, for 8-12 minutes. Mine were a bit on the thin side and averaged 10 minutes bake time. Remove and cool completely on racks.
To make the icing, mix the powdered sugar and milk until no longer lumpy. Start with 2 tsp. milk and add as needed. Add the corn syrup and extract and mix until smooth. If the icing is too thick, you can add in a bit more corn syrup. You'll need to be able to spread it, but it shouldn't be so thin it drips over the edge of the cookie.
Again, follow Diamonds for Dessert's layout for decorating. It's thorough. I see no reason to repeat it here, except to say that I did have some trouble writing with the freaking toothpicks. There has to be a better way. I'd probably use icing bags if I ever made these again.
|See? Worst. Checkerboard. Ever.|
In the end, I admit I enjoy ridiculously complex baking projects, so these fulfilled that masochistic desire, with the added benefit of being super cute. And besides, who doesn't want to eat a cookie that's practically begging for it?