Through the worst of the pandemic final 12 months, many neighborhood cultural occasions shut down or organizers seemed for methods to attach on-line. The organizers of 1 such occasion, nonetheless, used that point to create one thing completely new.

“The Queer Cookies Cookbook,” a set of poems and their corresponding cookies from the poets within the D.C. space’s Capturing Fireplace neighborhood, is ready to be launched June 22. It contains contributions from previous judges and competitors winners from the Capturing Fireplace Worldwide Queer Poetry Summit and Slam, a multiday poetry occasion that was based in 2010 by D.C.-based poet and performer Regie Cabico.

The cookies within the e book vary from sweetly easy to these requiring a number of parts, all layered with advanced flavors and textures developed with inspiration from D.C.-area poets and their work.

This symbiotic relationship between poetry and cookies received its begin in 2014, when poet and humanities organizer Tyler French, then interning on the DC Heart, helped coordinate a Capturing Fireplace occasion.

French baked dozens of cookies to welcome featured poets and thank competition volunteers. Easy cookies advanced into extra artistic confections evoking queer iconography, akin to “The Wilde,” a lavender Earl Gray shortbread named after Oscar Wilde, and a salty, malty caramel corn with black licorice cheekily referred to as “S+M Corn.”

“Somebody joked, ‘Regie has poetry occasions. Tyler, you bake cookies. Why don’t you do a cookie poetry slam?’” French says.

The primary Queer Cookies Poetry Slam befell in March 2015. Every viewers member acquired a cookie. A bake sale ran all through the occasion, with the proceeds going to pay taking part poets. The prize for successful the slam was a bespoke cookie creation, a collaboration between French and the winner.

“Regie had the concept that the poet who wins the slam would get a cookie based mostly on them, which I believe everybody simply was tickled by it, however I believe it additionally sort of lowered the stakes of the slam, and the poets actually tried issues that had been just a little sillier or just a little extra joyful,” French says.

The occasion went on hiatus in 2018, however French received a grant by means of the DC Fee on the Arts and Humanities final October to revive Queer Cookies in cookbook type. The e book options taste twists together with Sichuan peppercorn rainbow thumbprint cookies with a rosewater-strawberry jam and a buckwheat-rosemary gooey skillet cookie. Spices usually present in savory dishes seem within the gluten-free Spiced Almond Snowball Cookie.

That cookie is linked to the work of Rasha Abdulhadi, a author, cultural organizer and fiction editor at Unusual Horizons journal whose work, French writes within the cookbook, “will transport you thru a number of realms, emotional states, and pictures.” The spices within the cookie — a mixture of cardamom, Aleppo pepper, black pepper, clove and sumac — ship a small cookie with an enormous, highly effective chunk.

Abdulhadi approves.

“I really feel just like the mix of spices in a cookie recipe bends the binary of sweet-hot-savory in a approach that appeals to my extra cosmic genderfeels,” Abdulhadi wrote in an e mail.

Abdulhadi hasn’t participated within the Queer Cookie Slam however has been a decide for Capturing Fireplace Slams.

“What does really feel true to me, and what appealed to my coronary heart a lot about this venture, is the sweetness of constructing artwork for one another in neighborhood, providing each other nourishments of many sorts,” Abdulhadi wrote. “For an additional artist … to make work in response to one thing I’ve made is such a deeply affirming expertise, such a present.

“The observe of giving cookies for poetry additionally seems like village tradition to me, like an affirmation that artwork and poetry is for everybody, for day by day of our lives, for each kitchen and each snack.”

Catching Fireplace stays on hiatus for now, however Cabico says specializing in different technique of connection — on-line packages, Zoom poetry readings and the cookbook — offers him momentum.

“Poems and recipes are the identical factor,” Cabico says. “They’re [both] a listing of pictures. The recipe is a listing of elements they usually exist to feed you. … I really feel like folks assume that poetry is like ink on paper. However there’s poetry in dance, poetry within the movie. And so I really feel like recipes are poems.”

“It’s a actually pretty idea for a set, and I hope it sparks many iterations and experiments of folding life and literature collectively,” Abdulhadi wrote. “It’s a easy, however very profound connection to place [recipes] along with literature that can also be a lineage-making.”

The e book can be accessible at Loyalty Books, 843 Upshur St. NW, and Daring Fork Books, 3064 Mt. Nice St. NW. There can even be an internet studying by means of Loyalty Books that includes among the e book’s poets on June 22.

Spiced Almond Snowball Cookies

These small, gluten-free, nutty cookies are warmly spiced however not spicy. You’ll discover their taste rounded, balanced and never too candy, with a grainy texture harking back to many South Asian confections. The cookies don’t want salt, however you can add a pinch if you happen to like, says cookbook creator Tyler French, who created the recipe.

Storage: The cookies will be saved in an hermetic container at room temperature for as much as 3 days.

NOTE: Search for a gluten-free flour combine that features xanthan gum. It’s going to act as a binding agent and assist with construction.


1 cup (175 grams) coconut oil, delicate however nonetheless stable

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon floor cardamom

1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes, ideally finely floor

1/4 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper

1/4 teaspoon floor cloves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 3/4 cups (228 grams) gluten-free flour combine (see NOTE)

1 1/3 cups (150 grams) almond flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Floor sumac, for sprinkling

Place racks within the center and backside third of the oven and preheat to 350 levels. Line two giant, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Within the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or utilizing a hand mixer and a big bowl, mix the coconut oil, sugar, cardamom, Aleppo pepper, black pepper and cloves and beat on medium-low velocity, till easy, about 3 minutes. Utilizing a versatile spatula, scrape down the perimeters and backside of the bowl, add the vanilla and almond extracts and blend on medium-low velocity till mixed. Add the gluten-free flour and blend on low velocity till virtually integrated, then add the almond flour and blend on medium velocity till simply mixed. Utilizing a versatile spatula, scrape down the perimeters and backside of the bowl to verify no pockets of flour stay. The dough can be crumbly.

Utilizing a tablespoon-size measuring spoon or No. 60 disher, scoop out the dough, compacting it into the spoon/scoop so it holds a domed form. Place the dough ball on a ready baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the dough balls at the very least 1 inch aside.

Bake for 18 to twenty minutes, rotating the sheets prime to backside and entrance to again midway by means of baking. Take away from the oven, switch to a wire rack and let cool fully; they may collapse if you happen to attempt to transfer them sooner. (For those who use a bigger scoop, akin to a No. 40 disher, you’ll get about 24 cookies, which ought to bake for about 22 minutes.)

Sprinkle the cookies liberally with the confectioners’ sugar, adopted by a light-weight dusting of sumac. Serve, or retailer till wanted, dusting with extra powdered sugar earlier than serving.

Diet Data

Per serving (based mostly on 36)

Energy: 94; Complete Fats: 7 g; Saturated Fats: 4 g; Ldl cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 0 mg; Carbohydrates: 8 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugar: 4 g; Protein: 1 g

This evaluation is an estimate based mostly on accessible elements and this preparation. It shouldn’t substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s recommendation.

From “The Queer Cookies Cookbook” by Tyler French and Regie Cabico (Catching Fireplace Press, 2021).

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