A while back I had the opportunity to meet the Amazing James Randi at a local Skeptics In The Pub. SitP is an event where skeptics and rationalists (or anyone else) come together to share drinks and fellowship and sometimes there will be a planned speaker or accompanying event. I often bring some sort of vegan treat to SitP, both to share with others and because often there isn’t food I can eat there. My girlfriend decided to whip up a batch of sugar cookies, of course something so simple would not do. Randi, for those who don’t know, is a famous magician and president of the James Randi Educational Foundation(JREF). He is famous for exposing frauds such as Uri Geller and Peter Popoff, exposing the unreliability of parapsychology research with the famed Project Alpha, and for offering the Million Dollar Paranormal Challange to anyone who can prove the existence of paranormal powers. Cookies for a SitP featuring the Amazing Randi had to be extra special. So we busted out the royal icing and food color pens and this is what we came up with, an assortment of skeptically themed cookies.
Starting from the top left, the cookies are: A little green man, the Center For Inquiry logo, the For Good Reason podcast logo, the Monster Talk podcast logo, and a 2012 cookie of doom.
On the next row is a ten23 cookie with homeopathic amounts of human urine (we used tap water), a scene from the sunken city of Atlantis…of is it Lemuria, a ghost, The James Randi Educational Foundation logo, and an astrological cookie.
The third row starts with one of my favorites, a UFO abducting a little dinosaur shaped sprinkle, then we have a “blood for oil” cookie, a yin-yang, an anti-vax cookie, and a Illuminati cookie.
Next up is a bigfoot cookie, a cookie for the dominate world religions, a couple 8-balls (logo for TAM 8), and a depiction of Mormonism with golden plates, an angel Moroni, and top hat.
The next row starts with a cookie for a pet peeve of mine, the anti-microwave movement, then a cookie depicting the supposed moon landing hoax, Super Fruit, a Zener card/esp cookie, and Big Pharma.
Finally we have a Reptilian overlord, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, flat earth, aura, an O for organic which these cookies were not and on the very bottom James Randi himself (a larger version is at the top of this post).
The recipe came from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Its a great book, I highly recommend it.
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup margarine, slightly softened (like Earth Balance)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract (you can also use almond, maple or any other flavor)
1/4 cup vanilla soymilk or other nutmilk
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder and set aside.
In a larger bowl, cream the shortening, margarine and sugar with electric beaters until the mixture gets all soft and fluffy, for at least 4 minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure everything mixes in. Now beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts and the soymilk until everything is just combined.
Beat in half the flour and when it is thoroughly moistened, and then mix in the rest to form a soft dough.
Divide the dough into two and pat each portion into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
On a lightly floured platform or board, roll each disc to about 3/8ths-inch thickness. Cut it into shapes with a cookie cutter. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1-inch apart. Reroll leftover scraps and shape into more cookies.
In a preheated, 350-degree oven, bake the cookies for about 10 minutes until done.
Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool for five minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
Royal Icing Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons soymilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl whisk all ingredients together, if the icing is too thick add more soymilk, if too thin add a little powdered sugar.
Let the icing dry completely and decorate!