Lemon Sugar Cookie Dragons of Winter!

And kitty-dragons! I’m not sure if they’re meant to be kitty-dragons or baby dragons, but they look like kitty-dragons to me, so we’ll go with that.

I was going to put a little blood orange extract in the icing, for a bit of extra dragon excitement, but I forgot, oh well. But they’re still nummy, with a light lemon flavor, and so ridiculously pretty.

Sprinkled with Stars and Hearts

Dark chocolate-dipped passionfruit marshmallows, sprinkled with silver stars and pink hearts. I do a lot of experimenting with food, and a lot of the joy for me is coming up with new combinations, but sometimes, something just works so well, you know you’re not going to mess with it anymore.

These are becoming a staple, along with the dragonfruit chocolate (Kavi’s favorite chocolate!), Sri Lankan cashew milk toffee, and love cake. One thing we’re planning to explore in 2021 is whether we can expand the Serendib Kitchen sweet-making a little bit. I don’t have the time to cook any more than I already do (and honestly, I should probably be cooking a little less, and writing more).

So that would mean me teaching someone else how to make these, taste-testing to make sure they have it down, and then having them produce them. If we can figure it all out, then maybe we’ll even be able to supply some for local stores (which will require getting a different license, etc. and so on).

Of course, that’ll require researching aspects such as which items are shelf stable (the dragonfruit chocolate and the milk toffee, I think), which need to stay refrigerated (the marshmallows are okay sitting out for a day or two, but if they don’t sell quickly, better to refrigerate them for freshness, and love cake should be frozen or at least refrigerated if you’re going to keep it for any length of time), etc. We’ll see!

It’d be lovely to offer, alongside the cookbooks, going forward.

The Count for Saturday’s Flash Sale

I *think* this is the count for what will be available foodstuffs-wise during Saturday’s flash sale. Possibly with one more kind of cookie. I can’t handle much organizational stuff at this point, so please don’t try to pre-order anything. I’m planning to open the sale at 10 CST, first-come, first-served.

(1) cardamom-rose knitted sweater shortbread
(1) chocolate-cayenne dragon egg shortbread
(3) set of 4 squares of Sri Lankan love cake (pistachio / cashew variation)
(5) set of 1/2 dozen dragonfruit & passionfruit marshmallows
(6) jasmine & rose black tea in a test tube (caffeinated)
(9) set of 4 Dragon S’mores marshmallows (smoked vanilla with sea salt, chocolate, and graham cracker crumbles)
(10) dragonfruit Nebulae bar (white chocolate, citrus, white pepper)
(11) set of 4 dark chocolate-dipped passionfruit marshmallows (sprinkled with silver stars or pink hearts)

(21) box of 5 confections (2 Dragonfruit Nebulae chocolates, 2 blood orange taffy, 1 chocolate-cayenne)

Off to count soaps, bath salts, etc.

Mood! 🙂

But I will bake this batch of dragon cookies (are they not the cutest?) for the Interstellar Patreon treat boxes, and then switch to grading & writing, because deadlines, alas.

(t-shirt reads: “I just want to bake stuff and watch Christmas movies.”)

Dragon S’more Marshmallows

• Homemade vanilla marshmallows = good.

• Homemade vanilla & smoke marshmallows = better. (More interesting flavor, with that hint of smoke.)

• Homemade vanilla & smoke marshmallows sprinkled with sea salt = even better. (A touch of salt adds a great contrast and really wakes up the marshmallow.)

• Homemade vanilla & smoke marshmallows dipped in dark Callebaut bittersweet chocolate = better yet. (Because chocolate — also the slight bitterness helps the marshmallows from being overwhelmingly sweet.)

• Homemade vanilla & smoke marshmallows dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs = best. (If you can’t be sitting by the campfire, or having a dragon toast your marshmallows for you, this will have to do.)

Dragon S’more Marshmallows

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 c. water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 T vanilla extract
1 t. smoke extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
butter (for greasing the pan)
sea salt for sprinkling
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs, crumbled

1. Add 1/2 c. water and gelatin to the bowl of stand mixer (whisk attachment). Stir briefly to combine.

(NOTE: If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can make marshmallows in a large bowl with a hand mixer — you just have to be willing to hold and beat it for 12 minutes. Prep the pan and spatula for the marshmallows ahead of time.)

2. In a small saucepan (a bigger one will be heavy and hard to hold steadily at a later stage) combine 1/2 c. water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 4 minutes. Uncover and cook until the mixture reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer), approximately 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from heat; if it continues, it will swiftly turn into hard candy.

3. Turn mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. (Be very careful with the sugar syrup, as it is scaldingly hot and will burn you badly if it gets on your skin.) Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.

4. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 minutes.

5. While it’s whipping, butter a large 9 x 12 pan and dust with powdered sugar. In the last minutes, add vanilla and smoke extracts. Prepare an oiled spatula.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly (and swiftly) with an oiled spatula. Sprinkle with salt.

7. Dust the top with enough of the remaining powdered sugar to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

8. Turn onto a board, cut into squares and dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining powdered sugar, using additional if necessary.

9. Melt chocolate in double boiler or at half power in the microwave, then dip marshmallows in them, letting dry on a piece of parchment paper. (If you want chocolate to stay glossy, you’ll need to temper the chocolate, rather than simply melting it.)

10. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. May be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks, or frozen.

Oddly Mixed Feelings

Yesterday, I shipped out all the Earth tier Patreon boxes ($10 / month), so that was a bit of a relief. I have oddly mixed feelings about these boxes — I love composing them, and for the most part, enjoy making them, but the little race up to get everything out the door in time for shipping deadlines can be a bit stressful.

Stephanie Bailey and I have been talking about whether she can take over some pieces of this; she can make soaps, for example, so if I can actually be precise about my recipe in terms of amount of mica and scent, then she should be able to do some of the production for me. She was a little concerned that people wouldn’t like them as much if she made them — I don’t think people care, do they? If it’s my hands making the milk toffee, or someone else’s, to my recipe, do you care?

I’m now collecting what I need for the next tiers up — there are 3 subscribers for Sol System, 2 for Milky Way, and 2 for Interstellar. In between grading and e-mail (which is the bulk of my life right now), I’m popping up occasionally to pour a yarn ball candle — four completed, one in progress, two more to go.

After that, I get to work on a spiced hot chocolate recipe, which will be fun. Dutch-process cocoa powder, but what spicing? One of my recipients can’t do cayenne, so while I can leave that out of hers, it means not doing a straight cayenne and cocoa recipe (which I do love). Cayenne, cocoa, and cinnamon? Maybe try chai spicing, so adding in nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, maybe a bit of black pepper and ground ginger? Hm. Tasty experiments in my immediate future. 🙂

Reminder that if you want to get in on this for next year (only in U.S., sorry, food restrictions on shipping), you can now subscribe annually for a 10% discount. So for the Earth level, it’d be $110 for the year, which gets you 4 quarterly boxes — the spring box should go out in March, with the theme: Unicorns in the Garden. Link here.

Candied Blood Orange Shortbread

This particular shortbread isn’t for everyone. Because you’re including an entire caramelized slice of blood orange, that’s quite a bit of softened rind; I’d recommend this for people who don’t mind the rind in orange marmalade, for example (though this doesn’t end up bitter, as marmalade often does). I’d call this a pretty grown-up, sophisticated sort of shortbread.

It’s also something of a time commitment, since you have to plan ahead to give the candied slices a day to crystallize and dry thoroughly. But all that said, these were interesting and fun to make, and I find them delicious to eat. 🙂

Blood Orange and Jaggery Shortbread

(45 minutes + 15 minutes chilling time + 1 hr crystallizing time & 24 hrs drying time)


4 blood oranges, sliced + 2 c. sugar and 2 c. water for crystallizing
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c. jaggery or brown sugar
1 T vanilla
1 T blood orange extract or orange extract
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cloves

3 1/2 cups flour

Crystallize Blood Orange:

1. Add 2 c. water and 2 c. sugar to a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turned the heat to medium-low and add the orange slices. Simmer for 45-60 minutes until rinds are slightly translucent, stirring gently occasionally.

2. Transfer slices to a cooling rack set over a large baking sheet; let sit for 24 hours until dry; dip in candied sugar if desired. (At this point, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.)

Bake Shortbread:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar; add the vanilla, blood orange extract, salt, and cloves. Then add flour and mix on low until dough forms.

3. Turn out dough onto floured board and shape into a firm ball. (If it’s not coming together into a dough, the heat of your hands will help.) NOTE: Can be kept chilled at this point for several days, covered in plastic wrap, and then rolled, cut, and baked fresh.

4. Firmly pat flat and roll smooth (to desired cookie height, usually about 1/2 inch). Cut out circles (about the same size as the orange slices), place on parchment-covered baking sheet, and press a blood orange slice into each cookie; chill for 15 minutes (to help hold shape).

5. Remove from fridge and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown, then remove to wire rack to cool.

NOTE: Can be stored frozen for two months, or will keep fresh for a few weeks.

Pomegranate & Cayenne Chocolates

2 c. chocolate chips + 1 t. pomegranate extract + 1/4 t. cayenne. Just a hint of fruit and spice; I like it. No real recipe — melt chips in microwave at half power, add extract and spice, pour into molds.

My kitchen island is sort of an explosion of sweets right now, as I’m getting ready to pack up the Patreon treat boxes — all the first tier sweets are done, and it’s just a matter of making dragon candles to go with them.

Hm — it occurs to me that some people might prefer 4 additional sweets instead of a dragon candle — Emmanuel Henderson, do you have time to ask the Patreon recipients of tier 1 about that today? I can certainly do that if they’d prefer.

What’s currently going in the box:

– dragonfruit nebulae chocolate
– blood orange taffy
– pomegranate & cayenne chocolate

– silver-gilded milk toffee

(those are the confections that would repeat if substituting)

– small dragon candle (scent: cedar leather & amber)
– knitted soap (scent: pettigrain & cassia cinnamon)
– cardamom-rose shortbread knitted textiles
– chocolate-cayenne gingerbread dragon eggs
– pistachio dragon sugar cookies
– candied blood orange shortbread
– passionfruit & dragonfruit gilt marshmallow

– mulled apple cider marshmallow

If you missed out this time, you can sign up for the March treat boxes here ($30, $10 / month): http://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

Theme will be “Unicorns in the Garden.” 🙂