Feminist Conversation Hearts

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Tomorrow is the Women’s March in D.C. and thousands of other sister marches across the world.  I made these cookies in honor of this march. These gatherings of people across the world, in solidarity with one another, send a loud message. Something I’ll never forget from Avery Gordon’s sociology 100 class is that social movements are defined as a withdrawal of consent from dominant institutions. Displays of disobedience, like marches or protests, are withdrawls of consent. Every day I am attempting to withdraw my consent from the dieting and fitness industry. Probably one of my most favorite quotes by Naomi Wolf, that I feel addresses this issue from a dieting standpoint says,

“A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.”

When I first read this I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I am drawn back again and again to this quote. When I am feeling down about my body or my life or whatever, I recall this quote and the link I have to it draws me even just a little bit out of the depths of self doubt. It is a reminder that within my own individual life I have the ability to withdraw my consent.

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I have been wanting to make conversation heart sugar cookies for years! I finally did it. However, I wanted sugar cookie that had more flavor than just sweet. And I wanted them to say feminist and body positive sayings. I used Smitten Kitchen’s nutmeg maple butter cookie recipe, changing a few things. I came up with the idea to brown the butter first, refrigerate it, then continue on with the recipe. Brown butter is amazing and always lends a nutty deep component. At the Old Spaghetti Factory there is a pasta dish with brown butter and mzithra cheese. Without fail I always order that. That pasta is probably my first contact with brown butter. But I soon discovered that brown butter has no limits. From chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cakes, frostings, fish, brown butter really takes it up a notch.

I cut these cookies out with a heart cookie cutter and topped them with royal icing tinted pink. On these cookies I wrote phrases  like “Self Love”, “Lose hate not weight”, “Feminist AF”, “Riots not Diets.”

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Brown Butter and Maple Sugar Cookies- adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup (grade B is preferred but I used A)
1 egg yolk
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Brown the butter: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stirring
on low to medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, the butter will changed color 
and become very fragrant. When butter reaches a light brown color, remove 
from heat and pour into a separate container. Freeze ore refrigerate the 
butter till solid.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat browned butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and 
keep beating. Slowly drizzle in maple syrup.
 
Stop the mixer and dump in the flour and salt.
Mix until the dough just comes together.
Scoop dough out onto plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or
up to a few days.

When ready to roll out, flour a counter and remove dough from fridge.
Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes then start to roll out that
dough.

Cut into desired shapes and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. If you want a 
softer cookie, go less time, a crisper cookie, more time. 

Royal Icing - taken from Martha Stewart

1 egg white
2-4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients together till desired consistency is reached. 
A thick paste is preferred for writing on cookies and outlining them.
For filling in the cookies, water down the icing just a bit.
I used a piping bag and a small circular tip. 


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