I grew up and went to school in Ohio.
I went to grad school in Louisiana.
When I moved to Texas, people called me a “Ya-jin.” Get it? A yankee-cajun?
Yeah, I didn’t think it was that funny either.
You can take the girl out of the midwest, but you can’t take the midwest out of the girl… I love Ohio. It has big state sensibilities and small town charm. I crave going back there to live and being closer to family and friends. I love that the architecture on the houses doesn’t all look the same. And that there are defined seasons punctuated by the holidays. And that changing weather dictates your ever-adapting wardrobe. Some of my fondest memories are of snowy days in our quiet little neighborhood. Football nestled among the blazing fall trees of Appalachia. And the joy of Easter that really did feel like we were springing from the long hibernation of winter.
And I love the people. I can’t put a finger on it, but I know that when I meet someone new and they’re also from the motherland, it’s vetted out within the first few minutes. It’s like watching my pugs meet other pugs. They’re sooooo excited to meet any other dog — but put them with another pug and it’s like they speak their own language that only they understand.
So really I shouldn’t have been surprised when I learned that one of my favorite favorite bloggers, Jenny Johnson of Vintage Sugarcube, is from Ohio. Not only just Ohio, we went to the same smallish school at almost – if not — the same time. And when I saw that Jenny made these awesome Ohio cookies, I was struck like lightning with homesickness.
Bonded by blogs and bobcats, Miss Jenny sent off a package to me right quick with my very own Ohio cookie cutter – (and a small army of other fantastic goodies). I couldn’t wait to use it!
Warning: This is about to become a Thanksgiving tribute fan-fest.
Not only did I have the special Vintage Sugarcube cookie cutter, I was going to use the royal icing recipe from another of my favorite bloggers, Sweet Sugarbelle. (Do not, I repeat do not visit her website. Resistance if futile. One visit and you will be tortured by dreams of making your own cookie art with royal icing.)
Sweet Sugarbelle has a fantastic tutorial of how to make royal icing here. My ipad has sticky fingerprints all over it from my constant referrals to her site.
So basically, I am going to debunk the royal icing difficulty myth right here and right now. While I didn’t really have my consistencies great, this couldn’t be easier than coloring on a piece of paper.
All you do – for something as simple (yet heartfelt) as an Ohio cookie – is outline the edge of the cookie with stiff royal icing, let it dry, then water down your stiff icing to make “flood” icing and fill in the middle. The outlines will hold the flood in place.
Conceptually, I knew that this should be easy. But I wasn’t a believer until we tried it.
Well, the Cupcake thought so too. But she doesn’t really color in the lines so good yet so I had to help her a little on that part. The flood part though? Piece of cake.
I had to negotiate to be allowed to do even three cookies because the Cupcake was having so much stinkin’ fun that she did took all the rest for herself to do. She followed my lead though – on mine, I just wanted a little heart about where on the map my hometown would be. That’s it, nothing crazy, but it was meaningful to me. I explained that to the Cupcake, and being the Dora-aficionado that she is, she said that she was also making a MAP. This polka-dot cookie represents where all her friends live. (cookie on upper right)
*Note – map not to scale and should not be utilized in place of your GPS.
Yeah, I was feeling kinda proud of my lesson plan that evening: geography, gastronomy and cookie decorating art all in one little project.
And what’s better? The icing keeps for up to a month in the fridge. We had a ton leftover and we’ll use it again for Pilgrim hats and Christmas cookies in a week or so.
If you dare, check out this amazing sour-cream citrus rainbow cake that I made after seeing it on Vintage Sugarcube. It was so good, that I made it again for the Princess Cupcake’s 3rd birthday. She loved it so much, she told me we’re doing it again for her 4th birthday!