Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies

Pin It Lagertha’s Shield and Rune Cookies

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha) on Vikings is resilient and beautiful. I love everything about the show and the costumes and shields are intricate. I wanted to make a Lagertha's Shield cookie using royal icing for the colors. I made a simplistic version of the shield since the original design is quite detailed. I saved a little dough from the Lime Shamrock Cookies using a round cutter for the shield, and formed a small spherical cone shape for the top. I made a very small batch of royal icing. Vikings is my favorite show and on this THORsday, I present you Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies.

The name FUTHARK, for the The Viking Alphabet corresponds with the first six letters (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, and Kaunan). I studied Biological Anthropology in graduate school and took several courses on the Vikings and European Archaeology. I focused my Vikings research during their occupation in Greenland, and have been hooked on the Vikings show since it first aired. I have read all the sagas and studied Viking and Norse mythology. In my teens and twenties, I dabbled in runic divination but never got very far with it. I provide a few links below in case you want to read more about the runic alphabet and the significance of each rune.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies; bottom left rune: Othila and right next to it Uruz
I made Rune Cookies using a Sesame Shortbread Recipe. The cookies have an appearance of stone, which I think makes the runes look realistic. I saw this recipe on Benebell Wen and had to try it. The original recipe is from the cookbook, KYOTOFU Uniquely Delicious Japanese Desserts by Nicole Bermensolo and Elizabeth Gunnision Dunn. I adapted the recipe, reducing the sugar, adding an extra egg and another teaspoon of Coconut Milk. The cookies are soft and chewy in texture, and the taste is nutty from the toasted black sesame seeds and not too sweet, which I love. To make the Runic Alphabet, I used my cookie stick to carve and a small round cutter for the shape. I had some dough left after carving out the runes and made round shortbread to enjoy with tea. The recipe is below.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Black Sesame Seed Shortbread Ingredients
2 ½ cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour

½ cup Toasted Black Sesame Seeds

¾ teaspoon Baking Powder

¼ teaspoon Coarse Salt

½ cup, 1 stick, Unsalted Butter, softened and cut into 8 pieces

2/3 cup Granulated Sugar

2 XL Eggs

2 tablespoons Milk (I used Silk Coconut Milk)

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies; top left blank rune is known for Odin and represents The Unkowable in runic divination

Directions
Add black sesame seeds to a skillet on medium heat and toast for about 5-7 minutes. You will smell the nutty essence when it is done. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool completely. Add to mortar and pestle and grind down for a few good minutes. I gave up after 5 minutes.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl and combine with whisk or spatula and then add the cooled toasted black sesame seeds and stir; put aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment on low to medium speed. Mix until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix again for 5-10 seconds more.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Add eggs one at a time and then the coconut milk. Scrape down bowl with spatula and mix again for another 10 seconds.

With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture until incorporated.

When dough clumps around paddle attachment, it is ready.

Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 1/2 of the dough, use rolling pin, and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness, and cut out small circle shapes for the runes.

Repeat rolling the dough and cutting shapes until you have used it all. I used a larger round cutter with the extra dough.

Place cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets and space apart 2 inches. Use cookie stick or knife to carve out the rune alphabet.

Put cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking. They hold their shape when you do this.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until center of cookie no longer looks wet. My cookies baked in 13 minutes.

Let cookies cool in baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Let cookie sheets cool completely before you bake again. I put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Repeat until you have baked all the cookies.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Lagertha’s Shield Small Batch Royal Icing
Ingredients
1 XL Egg Whites

1 teaspoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

2 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

Some of the shortbread from the extra dough

Directions
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the egg whites and lemon juice.

Transfer to stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment and mix on high for 1-2 minutes.

With mixer speed on low, slowly add sifted sugar and beat on low until smooth.

If needed, you may add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency. Watch the Joy of Baking (link at the end) video for both Flooding Consistency and Piping Consistency Royal Icing. If you prefer a recipe using Meringue Powder, it is also available at this link.

I separated the icing in 2 plastic containers with lids according to the two colors I needed for tinting, and used Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Super Black, and Turquoise. Add 1-2 drops at a time until you reach the color you want.

Rune Cookie Teiwaz and cookie stick I used to carve the runic alphabet
Keep the containers covered until you are ready to color since Royal Icing hardens fast.

I transferred the icing immediately into Squeeze Bottles using a funnel to prevent it from spilling. Keep the squeeze bottle tips covered. If the Royal Icing hardens due to exposure to air, spray a little bit of water and shake bottle well holding the tip with your finger. Test the icing consistency on a paper towel before decorating the cookie.

Use a paintbrush or cookie stick to reach edges and use tip of cookie stick or a toothpick to pop any air bubbles.

I lined a cookie sheet with paper towels and placed the cookies on cooling tray over it.

Royal Icing in squeeze bottles
I did the outline first and waited about 15 minutes and then filled the cookie. I waited a few hours before adding the black border around the shield.

I put a little bit of royal icing on the bottom of the small spherical top of the shield, and covered it in black royal icing. While it was wet, I took a small paintbrush and messed up the icing to make it looked rugged and worn. After all, the shields were used in many battles.

For further information:
For information on the Runes, please visit:
http://norse-mythology.org/runes/

For a visual on the names and meaning of the Runic Alphabet, please visit:
http://www.internationalmagicsociety.org/blogs/6

For Vikings on History Channel, please visit:
http://www.history.com/shows/vikings/about

Please visit Benebell Wen for the Rune Cookies recipe:
http://benebellwen.com/2015/08/03/edible-rune-divination-black-sesame-shortbread-rune-cookies/

Please visit, Joy of Baking for the Royal Icing Recipe and Video Tutorial:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

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