I saw this recipe when I was looking through my mom’s Betty Crocker’s Cookbook from 1974 when I was first starting this project in November. I can only find a few other versions of this recipe online (here and here and here, although I know there are probably a few more that I missed), so I don’t feel like I am doing anything derivative or copying someone else’s work. I love astronomy and for several years have been trying to finish this class from The Great Courses called “Understanding the Universe” taught by the coolest astronomer ever, Alex Filippenko. I have not succeeded yet but am still trying! This was the main motivation to try this recipe.
I seem to do a lot of stargazing in the winter because the skies are so clear. It is SO COLD that I typically give up almost as soon as the telescope is assembled and ready to go, but I have seen some pretty cool things so far (Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons, my favorite star Arcturus). My thought with these cookies was that we could make our favorite celestial objects in cookie form. Yay! Nerd fun!
The recipe is as follows:
The picture of these makes them look like cake pops so I was excited to see how they turned out.
I got very excited about buying the ingredients and figuring out the different types of stars and planets we could make. I was not very excited about making this because it seemed daunting. Making cookies AND icing? Decorating the outsides of the cookies? It sounds really cool but UGH! The work and the mess!
I essentially was forced to finally undertake the project on a snow day. It was the perfect day to make warm cookies inside.
Once we were inside for the day we began the baking process. The first step is to mix the butter (softened), sugar, and vanilla. We omitted the food color because we were going to use it in the icing later.
I oh-so-wisely decided not to use the actual mixer that we have in the kitchen and decided that I could hand mix it. Chaos ensued, and our kitchen still a nice dusting of confectioner’s sugar. I was replicating the snow outside…
Next, you work in the flour, salt, and a little bit of cream if necessary to hold the dough together. Our dough was very, very dry, so we added the cream. We also switched to an electric mixer, because the dough was never going to mix well if we continued to use my wooden spoon method.
Finally, we were able to start molding cookies! I chose the following for our fillings:
- Maraschino Cherries
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
- Laura Lynn Chocolate Chips
- Publix Walnut Pieces
- Laura Lynn Pecan Pieces
The idea is that you mold the dough around a small bit of each filling so that when you bite into the cookie there is a surprise in the middle. My husband was clueless about what we were trying to accomplish (I didn’t explain this very well, saying, “You know, we get to make our own cookies and decorate them like stars and planets!”) but he did a fantastic job with terrible instructions.
The recipe says that the ingredients make 20 to 25 cookies but we ended up with slightly fewer cookies once finished (19 to be exact).
The instructions say to place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. We used some Pam on the sheet (husband’s recommendation) for ease of removal from the pan.
As the cookies baked, we made the icing. This involved mixing the confectioner’s sugar, cream, and vanilla, and was a little easier than the cookie mixing had been. We used food coloring to make red, yellow, green, and blue icing, in addition to the plain white. Somehow, I neglected to photograph this part, even though it was my favorite. Imagine 5 individual bowls of different colors of icing and that’s what we had.
The cookies baked for exactly 15 minutes and were removed from the oven.
They do not look very done but they were actually solid.
The last actual cooking step was decorating. YAY!!!! To do so, you take a cookie, dip the top in the icing, and color it however you see fit. We attempted to make different planets:
The final arrangement looked like this:
Which, with some imagination and with the right filter, might look like the original:
Bahaha! Who am I kidding! These are DELICIOUS cookies but there is NOTHING celestial about them! We decided that the glare from our overhead kitchen lights was “space dust” or light from the stars.
Time Travel Experience:
Me: “Does it taste like 1974?”
Husband (who was actually alive in 1974): “Erm…no.”
Overall Experience: 10/10 from both of us. This was the perfect activity for a snow day. We also had so much fun decorating these! They tasted very good and remained soft, even when we ate them the next day. Each cookie is a surprise because you know what was inside of them until you eat them. I would make these again (and use an actual mixer and not a hand-held one…cleanup was a disaster).